Is Falafel Healthy? Yes & No

falafel platter with vegetables

In case you’re wondering whether falafel is a healthy choice to include in your diet or you’re already well-acquainted with it and looking to know its nutritional value in detail, keep reading to find out.

Generally speaking, falafel is a great healthy, vegetarian and vegan substitute to meat options. It is an impressive source of vegetable protein, being half as much of that in chicken.

If you aren’t familiar with falafel and it’s new to you, we’ve covered all the basics, plus some interesting facts about its origin and more in the ultimate and Complete Guide to Falafel here.

Falafel nutrition facts

Let’s start here!

First things first, let’s keep in mind that each of us have unique needs based on our physiology and lifestyle.

It would therefore be best to take into consideration what is best for our specific, individual needs when deciding how little or much falafel goodness we should be having in our lives.

Falafel itself is a great source of plant-based protein, though we can only absorb about 25 to 60 grams of protein per meal. Further, it is incredibly high in fiber, which is great for maintaining good digestive health and improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Falafel’s main ingredient, chickpeas, are a complete protein and contain all the 9 amino acids that our body can’t make on its own.

The only down-side to falafel is when it’s deep fried.

Deep fried foods are more likely to contain artificial trans fats, which are associated with negative effects to our health.

Using olive oil or baking falafel instead make it healthier to consume.

And like with any other food, it would be best to keep sodium amounts and allergens in mind. One possible allergen to take note of would be the addition of sesame.

In addition to being in falafel, it is present in tahini, a type of sauce that falafel is frequently served with.

That being said, let’s look at exactly what a falafel itself contains in terms of nutritional value.

100 grams or about 6 fried falafel balls contain about:


34.6 grams




13.3 grams


31.8 grams


17.8 grams


4.9 grams

Vitamin B6

0.125 mg (94% of the Daily Value (DV))


0.691 mg (30% of the DV)


0.258 mg (29% of the DV)


93 µg (26% of the DV)


82 mg (20% of the DV)


3.42 mg (19% of the DV)


192 mg (15% of the DV)


1.5 mg (14% of the DV)


0.166 mg (13% of the DV)


585 mg (12% of the DV)


0.146 mg (12% of the DV)


For a complete nutritional breakdown, see here and for more details about the recommended daily intake for a 100 gram serving, visit here.

The recommended daily intake of energy for the average adult is around 8700 kilojoules a day.

This means that you could potentially eat about 630 grams of falafel and slightly overreach that amount.

As appealing as it may seem to have a falafel feast day, it would still be best to have a varied and balanced diet.

If you want to take the opposite route instead and consider values per falafel ball, we’ve got that covered for you just below.

How many calories are in a falafel ball?

Falafel is often served as a filler in sandwiches and burgers but it’s also great eaten just alone.

Luckily, this makes it easy to control our diets and decide, ball for ball, which amount to include in each meal or snack.

So have you asked yourself just how many calories are there in one falafel? Or just how much fiber and what protein content could you expect one falafel ball to contain?

This list shows you the nutritional values for 1 falafel ball.

One patty (or 17 grams) of homemade falafel contains the following nutrients:


5.88 grams




2.26 grams


5.41 grams


3.03 grams


0.83 grams

Vitamin B6

0.021 mg


0.117 mg


0.044 mg


13.3 µg


13.9 mg


0.581 mg


32.6 mg


0.255 mg


0.028 mg


99.4 mg


0.025 mg

The most healthy, filling foods are high in water, fiber, and protein.

It would therefore be best to keep in mind how falafel compares to the rest of your diet when deciding whether you want to eat falafel in order to gain, lose, or maintain your weight.

Falafel calories according to dish type

Now that we’ve covered dietary and nutritional information for the traditional falafel, let’s have a brief look at the calories in some common falafel dishes.

How many calories are in a falafel sandwich?

The calories in a falafel sandwich typically range from 300 to 550 grams per serving. This depends on which other ingredients are found in the sandwich. 

How many calories are in a falafel wrap?

Falafel wraps can contain anywhere between 400 to 700 grams per serving. This variation is due to the size of the wrap and the other fillers it contains.

How many calories are in a falafel pita?

Most falafel pitas contain anywhere between 230 to 650 calories depending on the ingredients used and supplier’s recipe.

Let’s move on and find out which kind of diets falafel is friendly to.

Is falafel vegetarian?

Yes, traditional falafel is vegetarian and contains 100% plant-based ingredients. it shouldn’t contain any meat or animal-based products itself.

You might think that anything that is shaped into a ball or patty would require eggs, but this isn’t the case with falafel.

The reason for this is the high amount of protein that is naturally found in legumes such as chickpeas.

Protein acts as a binder, and when it comes to many foods, eggs are often used as the binding ingredient that gives them form or hold.

However, the naturally occurring protein in falafel is enough to hold the shape of falafel balls together.

The cooler cooked protein is, the more it solidifies.

For this reason, it’s best to eat falafel closer to room temperature than fresh from the oil pot

Again, falafel doesn’t contain meat and would typically not be served with meat unless you ask for it.

Now that we’ve established that falafel is a delicious vegetarian treat, you might be asking whether it can equally please our vegan friends.

Is falafel vegan?

The core ingredients of falafel are plant-based and surprisingly few. If you follow a vegan diet, you might instead want to keep an eye out on what falafel is served with. 

For example, sauces that accompany falafel may contain yoghurt or honey, toppings might contain cheese, or the breads it is served with might contain eggs.

In addition, on rare occasions, it might make sense to check with the cook whether the falafel were fried in oils that were kept separate from animal fats.

This, however, is quite rare and wouldn’t be the case in the modern kitchen.

All in all, it’s safe to say that vegans can mostly eat falafel without any cause for concern. But what if you have other dietary constraints like with gluten?

Is falafel gluten free?

It depends. 

Traditional falafel, which is made only from chickpeas and fava beans, are both gluten-free.

And while this may be the case for the vast majority of falafel, the average store-bought falafel and falafel mixes on the other hand, often contain wheat flour or gluten-derivatives. 

Having a quick scan through the ingredient list or shopping for ingredients to make them yourself would be better alternatives if you want to be really sure that it’s safe to consume.

If you’re eating out instead and the caterer doesn’t explicitly mention that their menu is gluten-free, it would be best to double-check which ingredients they’ve used before ordering.

Okay, so now that you know that genuine falafel could be gluten-free, you might want to know whether that also means that it’s keto friendly.

Is falafel keto?

Both chickpeas and chickpea flour are high in carbs and wouldn’t fit the keto diet, sadly. Especially if you’re thinking of enjoying more than just one or two balls.

But it doesn’t necessarily mean you would have to give up on falafel altogether. 

If you’re not too concerned with whether it would still be falafel because you’re in it for the flavor and mouth feel, you could substitute chickpeas with cauliflower and almond flour.

This grain-free alternative makes it easy to eat a large portion of veggies without much effort and similar to traditional falafel, can be made healthier through baking or air frying.


Falafel contains many micronutrients, and being rich in fiber and protein, helps you stay fuller for longer.

Eaten in moderation, it could be considered a very healthy food – and were perhaps a superfood in ancient times at that.

It’s easy to make at home and is a delicious treat for the occasional indulgence.

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