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Monday, March 28, 2016

happy food: trader joe's falafel

Last Thursday was a busy day of back-to-back meetings and by 6pm I hadn't even thought of dinner. Before heading out to the market in the rain,  I took a quick look in the freezer and saw the frozen falafel I had bought on my last trip to Trader Joe's.  I always keep canned chickpeas and fresh lemons on hand so in less than 30 minutes we were enjoying a Middle Eastern nosh of falafel, hummus, pita and tzatziki sauce by the fire.  Trader Joe's comes to the rescue. Again.

How was the falafel? Well, there's a little Mediterranean place in Kirkland right by the water, that we love. Trader Joe's version didn't taste exactly like that fresh falafel there but it was delicious. It filled that need for comfort food on a cool, rainy night.  The falafel balls were a little dry but topped with tzatziki sauce, they had a creamy, fresh finish (thanks to the cucumber and dill). The directions did list microwave instructions first so perhaps cooked in the microwave rather than the stove might make them a little more moist.

Nutritonally, they don't score well. At 320 calories, 19 grams of fat and a whopping 490 grams of sodium for three falafel balls, it does not qualify as health food. There are 6 grams of fiber, however, which make it filling. In fact after three each, L and I were both comfortably full. Considering how easy falafel is to make (and freeze), when I want falafel again,  I'll be trying this recipe from Mark Bittman next. However, in a pinch, Trader Joe's falafel made our happy food list.

Trader Joe's falafel can be found in the frozen section.

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