It’s likely the most popular food in any plant-based diet, but is falafel vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free?
Falafel is mostly vegan as it’s traditionally without any animal products. However, many falafels actually contain animal products nevertheless. That’s because animal products are widely used to add either taste or texture. So it’s not always safe for vegans or vegetarians to eat falafel as it can have animal products. Common animal ingredients in bought falafel include eggs, dairy, or even animal enzymes.
The same is correct for gluten in falafel. Most falafel is entirely gluten-free, but some recipes contain wheat flour. Wheat has gluten, which means the gluten-free need to avoid all falafel where wheat flour is present.
As you can see, it’s not that easy to answer. There are some things you need to be aware of if you are a fan of this delicious food. Read along to see how you can continue to enjoy it, even as a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian.
Is Falafel Vegetarian
The vegetarian diet is rather simple. It’s a diet that avoids all products that are made of the animal. This means that vegetarians can have products that come from an animal, but not eat the animal itself.
Falafel is completely free from all ingredients of animals. Sometimes falafel is made with eggs or dairy, although it’s not traditional. So vegetarians can eat almost, if not all falafel, as it’s free from the actual animal. It might have eggs or dairy, but that’s entirely in line with the vegetarian diet.
However, I’ll say that some store-bought falafel can have animal enzymes. That’s because animal enzymes are sometimes used in products to either add taste or texture. Meaning you still need to make sure no animal enzymes are present. Either read the ingredients list or ask customer support to be safe.
Ingredients In Falafel
Falafel mainly consists of different beans. The most common recipe I see is 1 part chickpeas and 2 parts broad beans. Meaning the primary elements of the dish is entirely vegan, but what about the rest?
Many add some sesame seeds to their falafel, but other than that it’s almost only beans and spices. Some of the most common spices include coriander leaves, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, flour, and cardamom.
Meaning all of the traditional ingredients are entirely vegan. So one can say that all real falafel is vegan, but it’s not responsible to say all is. You will most definitely run into non-vegan falafel options at some point. Thus, be aware that that’s a possibility, so either read the ingredients or ask if you are unsure.
Is Falafel Gluten-Free
The gluten-free diet is wildly popular in recent times among vegans. Mainly because many vegans are highly health-concerned. Or at least more so than the regular person. Although, there’s nothing inherently wrong with gluten in the vegan diet. Gluten is simply a wheat protein, so you can safely eat gluten while vegan.
Check out: Is Gluten Vegan?
However, you might very well be one of these gluten-free vegans. Luckily for any gluten-free, for whatever the reason, falafel is entirely vegan.
Falafel consists of beans, legumes, spices, and seeds. Thus the traditional ingredients used in falafel are all gluten-free. Although some falafel can contain gluten.
Is All Falafel Gluten-Free?
While most falafel is gluten-free, not all are. That’s because some producers use flour made of wheat. That’s one of the primary ingredients you need to avoid as gluten-free.
There are three options to identify if your falafel has gluten. This depends on where you get them.
- Store bought falafel
- Restaurant bought falafel
- Make your own from a recipe
If you purchase at a store, you’ll need to read the ingredients and avoid all flour. However, it’s also essential to identify if they are produced alongside other gluten products. Because this can contaminate your falafel. Although it’s only tiny quantities, so it’s not going to affect your health in any way unless you are actually intolerant.
The two other options are at a restaurant or from a recipe. You can always ask the restaurant whether or not gluten is present, and they always know. Making your own gluten-free falafel is just as easy. Simply avoid flour or use non-gluten flour.
Buy Gluten-Free Vegan falafel
Sadly enough, not all versions of this delicious food are entirely vegan. Mainly because many recipes include non-vegan ingredients such as eggs. While that’s true, it’s easy to find falafel mixes that are both vegan and gluten-free.
An excellent example of this is Ziyad’s 100% Natural falafel mix.
I guarantee that this specific falafel mix is just as good, if not better, than anything you can make at home. I have tried this one myself and love it. That’s one good thing about falafel, you can buy blends and make them yourself easily. That’ll also ensure that it’s 100% vegan and gluten-free.
Is Store Bought Falafel Vegan
Falafel is generally a vegan food. It’s one of the most beloved foods for most vegans as it’s the perfect protein for many dishes. Although this also means that store bought falafel can consist of many things.
Buying a falafel dish can be a wilderness as a vegan. While it’s normally a vegan food, most dishes are not. So be careful about buying falafel salads, or similar. These salads are most often smeared with non-vegan ingredients. -Everything from the dressing to meat.
However, you can also buy the falafel alone. Most store bought falafel or falafel mixes are vegan although not all. Some falafel recipes can contain non-vegan ingredients such as eggs or even animal derived broth.
So you must avoid any sketchy ingredients. Avoid eggs, dairy, animal broth and non-specified ingredients such as “natural flavor“.
Especially “natural flavor” is dangerous as it often means animal products although not always. -The same is true for ingredients in chips.
Is Subway Falafel Vegan
Subway has recently put more effort into offering vegan options. Falafel is one of these vegan options. So vegans can safely eat the falafel options at any of the Subway locations.
They also have loads of vegan bread and toppings. So you can also make an entirely veggie-based sandwich with dressing. That’s a healthy and vegan alternative to bought falafel, which is often a bit more fatty than homemade.
Are you are regular Subway goer? Well, in that case, you might want to check out Peta’s vegan Subway Guide.
Is Cava Falafel Vegan
Cava has a few products available that are entirely vegan. Luckily for any falafel lovers, all falafel at Cava is vegan. Although it’s important to note that their falafel is not gluten-free.
That might not be a significant concern for you. However, as I covered in this article, many vegans and vegetarians opt for a gluten-free diet. On top of their regular diet. You might want to check that article out as many see amazing benefits from a gluten-free, vegan diet.
That’s everything you need to know about falafel. It’s an amazing dish enjoyed by many, and you should not stop eating it. However, there are some things you need to stay away from. The gluten-free need to avoid wheat flour, while vegans and vegetarians should avoid animal products. Don’t just assume all falafel is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Hey, I’m Gus! I have been vegan for quite some years now, and have collected a lot of knowledge about the subject in this time. My goal with this blog is to spread the vegan message and make it easy to know exactly what’s vegan and what’s not.