Falafel: why the meatballs of legumes are good for you

    Falafel: why the meatballs of legumes are good for you

    The classic falafel recipe, le now known meatballs of Middle Eastern origin, is based on dried chickpeas, which must be left to soak for 24 hours and then blended together with parsley, garlic and other spices. Quick and easy to prepare (you just have to remember to soak the legumes) falafel are perfect in every season, because they are good and tasty both hot (just cooked) and cold.

    With the help of the doctor Paola Anselmi, nutritionist in Trieste, we have selected new or traditional but little known variants, with special benefits, especially when combined with the right foods and drinks. Here are 4 recipes to lower blood pressure, replenish minerals lost by sweating, increase lean mass and counteract aging.


    ↘Why they are good: broad beans are rich in potassium, a mineral that must be reintegrated in cases of heavy sweating, due to heat or prolonged training. It is in fact essential to maintain the ability of the muscles to contract, coordinate the transmission of nerve impulses and regulate blood pressure. The beans also contain a good amount of magnesium, very useful for preventing cramps, which are more frequent after losing a lot of fluids.

    ↘The pairing ok: Serve them accompanied with a sauce prepared with 500 g of ripe, blended and reduced perini perini over medium heat. The tomato is rich in potassium, but also in lycopene, which fights free radicals and inflammation.

    ↘The right drink: anti-fatigue centrifuge with grapefruit, grapes and strawberries.


    Ingredients for people 4

    500 g of dried broad beans, 20 g of flour 0, 10 stalks of parsley, 1 small white onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of cardamom, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt to taste, pepper to taste, water to taste

    ↘ Soak the beans for 12 hours, rinse, boil and chop them in a blender along with the sliced ​​onion, parsley leaves and garlic. Then dissolve the baking soda in a couple of tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture along with the spices, flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shape into slightly flattened balls and bake them in the oven at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes.


    ↘Why they are good: typical of Egyptian cuisine, they contain 26% protein and are perfect for vegetarians and vegans or for those who train with the aim of improving muscle tone. In addition, they also offer a good amount of iron and calcium, useful in menopause to counteract osteoporosis.

    ↘The pairing ok: with a classic of Middle Eastern cuisine, hummus (made from chickpeas and sesame seeds), rich not only in vegetable proteins, but also in vitamins and antioxidants.

    ↘The right drink: to enhance the benefits of this dish, you can end the meal with a protein shake based on rice milk, chopped almonds, banana and a splash of cocoa, to make it even more delicious and prevent aging.


    Ingredients for people 4

    500 g of white beans from Spain, 50 g of flour 0, 1 lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small white onion, 10 stalks of parsley, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, salt to taste, high oleic sunflower oil to taste

    ↘ Soak the beans for 12 hours, then rinse, boil and blend them in the blender. Then chop parsley, garlic and onion and add them to the mixture. Then add lemon juice, turmeric, coriander, cumin, chilli, yeast and salt, mix and let it rest for 30 minutes. Finally form balls, pass them in the flour and sesame seeds, then fry them in hot oil.


    ↘Why they are good: peas are rich in minerals essential for the health of our immune system, especially phosphorus and zinc, which regenerate nerve cells, and selenium, one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature, capable of slowing down aging.

    ↘The pairing ok: with a yogurt-based sauce, enriched with probiotic enzymes that strengthen the defenses, plus red grapes and blueberries, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

    ↘The right drink: green tea, source of catechins, powerful antioxidants. Cold too: leave 2 sachets to infuse for 30 minutes in 250 ml of water at room temperature.


    Ingredients for people 4

    500 g of shelled peas, 50 g of chickpea flour, 2 spring onions, 1/2 lemon, 10 mint leaves, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, salt to taste, pepper to taste

    ↘ Blanch the peas for 2 minutes and rinse them under the tap to cool them and stop cooking. Then put them in the mixer with the mint, cumin, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper. Operate for a few moments, so that the legumes break up coarsely. Then add the chickpea flour and the sliced ​​spring onions, stirring again. Put it in the fridge for an hour, then shape it into balls, lightly flattened, and put them back to rest in the cold for 3 quarters of an hour. Finally cook in the preheated oven at 180 ° C for 15 minutes.


    ↘Why they are good: red lentils contain high amounts of magnesium, potassium, fiber and folate, provitamins essential for the reproduction of blood cells, and have a low level of sodium. As shown by a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, they also reduce "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and regulate high blood pressure.

    ↘The pairing ok: tuom, the Lebanese sauce made from raw garlic, which thanks to allicin has a high hypotensive power, and extra virgin olive oil, which with its vitamin E helps to keep arteries elastic.

    ↘The right drink: to optimize the antihypertensive effect, you can serve the falafel with a cup of beetroot juice, pure or diluted with water. This vegetable was chosen by the American Heart Association as the best food for lowering blood pressure. The nitrates it contains cause blood vessels to dilate, promoting blood circulation.


    Ingredients for people 4

    500 g peeled red lentils, 1 onion, 15 parsley stalks, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, salt to taste, pepper to taste

    ↘ Soak the lentils for 2 hours, rinse them, boil them, then chop them in a blender with the parsley, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Leave the mixture to rest for an hour in the refrigerator, then form balls, pass them in the poppy seeds and cook them in the oven at 180 ° C for 18 minutes.

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