If you’re fond of eating out, you’ll have noticed that there are a lot more Middle-Eastern restaurants on the high street these days.
And if you want to recreate that Lebanese vibe around the dinner table at home, the first thing you’ll need is falafel. It’s not only on trend but simple, healthy, affordable and perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
When it comes to flavour, a good falafel should taste of fresh, not tinned, chickpeas and include a wide variety of herbs and spices like garlic, coriander and sometimes even cinnamon.
They’re extra healthy when baked, and can be a crispy treat when deep fried. The addition of sweet dried fruit, such as apricots, can also give a new twist on traditional flavours, and is delicious served in a pitta bread loaded with salad and hummus.
To get you the best on the market, a team of testers put these supermarket falafels on trial to see which one you should pack for your lunch.
BEST SUPERMARKET FALAFEL
1. Aldi The Deli Moroccan Style Falafel
Overall rating: 79/100
This is an exciting mix of fruity, herby flavours teamed with warming spices for a tasty little bite. The falafel are packed with juicy apricots, red peppers and coarsely ground chickpeas.
From the golden roasted crust to the herb-speckled filling, this falafel was the winner.
Only available in store.
Aldi The Deli Moroccan Style Falafel, £1.29, aldi.co.uk
2. Great Food Aromatic Moroccan Falafel
Overall rating: 78/100
Full of aromatic spices, these falafel have a wonderful savoury aroma that is followed by a sweet and seasoned taste. Testers enjoyed the gentle heat and mild oniony flavour, which was made even more delicious by red peppers.
The large chickpeas give the falafel a great chunky texture.
Great Food Aromatic Moroccan Falafel, £2.29, ocado.com
3. Marks & Spencer Spirit of Summer Fresh Herb Falafel
Overall rating: 73/100
When tucking into a falafel, most would expect the familiar taste of chickpeas, however, this M&S falafel is crammed full of broad beans, fresh coriander and parsley for a fresher flavour.
The chickpeas are finely ground to give a smooth yet crumbly texture. We loved the golden crust and the herby aroma, but some found the crumb coating a little too greasy.
Only available in M&S stores
Marks & Spencer Spirit of Summer Fresh Herb Falafel, £2.50, marksandspencer.com
4. Great Food Authentic Mediterranean Falafel
Overall rating: 73/100
This is a falafel with a slightly garlicky flavour and a spicy kick. The golden caramel hue and herby flecks make for an inviting bite. We loved the building heat and the subtle herby taste but our testers longed for a stronger, punchier flavour overall.
We also found the crumbly texture of the falafel a little too dry in the mouth.
Great Food Authentic Mediterranean Falafel, £2.29, ocado.com
5. Great Food Original Falafel
Overall rating: 71/100
Cumin, garlic and coriander make this falafel wonderfully aromatic, but the flavour is surprisingly bland. Though pleasant, many testers found the addition of herbs too subtle on the palate.
We felt that combination of coarse and finely ground chickpeas made the falafel far too dry.
Great Food Original Falafel, £2.40, ocado.com
6. Mr Freeds Traditional Falafels
Overall rating: 65/100
This falafel divided our team of testers. Some on our panel praised it for being a well-balanced and deliciously spiced bite. Others felt it was too bland, despite being flavoured with cumin, coriander and white pepper.
The falafel has an enjoyable crisp crumb but we were disappointed by the dry texture inside.
Mr Freeds Traditional Falafels, £1.89, ocado.com
7. Falafels by Sainsbury’s
Overall rating: 63/100
These falafel balls are a burst of colour. Thanks to the chickpea and broad bean mix, the filling is a vibrant green. It makes for a pleasing contrast to the crisp, brown coating.
The slightly nutty coriander taste was lovely and balanced but sadly dissipates quickly. It’s followed by a bitter aftertaste that masks the flavour of the subtle spices. We also found the texture thirst-quenchingly dry.
Falafels by Sainsbury’s, £2.00, sainsburys.co.uk
8. Biona Falafel Balls
Overall rating: 53/100
A little bite of summer. The bright burst of yellow on the inside is made even more tempting by the green herbs, red pepper and the contrasting colours of chickpeas. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver on taste or texture.
The falafel was far too firm and had a very dry, crumbly bite. Alhough the balls are packed with onions, Hokkaido pumpkin and spices, the flavour is too tame.
Biona Falafel Balls, £3.89, ocado.com
This article originally appeared on Good Housekeeping Institute.
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