“Falafel is one of my favorite Mediterranean foods and is a fair source of vegetarian protein,” says Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., a nutritionist and author of The 1:1:1 Diet. She always bakes and never fries her falafel to avoid added fat and calories, and tops it off with veggies and a digestive-aiding yogurt sauce.
Tote-it tip: Store the yogurt sauce and feta in a baby food jar and pour them into your sandwich just before eating to keep the falafel crisp.
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 whole-wheat pita, halved
3 pre-cooked falafel chickpea balls (such as Veggie Patch)
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced tomato
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
To make yogurt sauce, combine yogurt, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, and cumin in a mixing bowl. Store until ready to eat. Stuff pita with falafel and vegetables, and wrap in foil or store in a zipper-lock bag. Just before eating, add yogurt sauce and feta.
Nutrition score per serving: 372 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated), 44g carbs, 14.5g protein, 12g fiber
Photo credit: Kevin Lynch, Closet Cooking.com