Taste Test: Trader Joe’s Falafel
Trader Joe’s sells plenty of frozen items through its eponymous house brand, and the fully-cooked falafel certainly sounds promising. The packaging claims that they’re “quite moist on the inside and crisp on the outside… [with] chopped parsley and a good amount of garlic so the falafel is really flavorful.” Nothing wrong with that, right? Unfortunately, we found a few issues.
First, the good. They’re nice-sized, attractive-looking, and get a nice crisp on the outside when they’re cooked in the oven, as we cooked ours. There’s also a nice aroma of Middle Eastern spices, which more or less carry over into the taste. These could have used a little more salt, though, and none of those individual spices were easily identifiable.
The main issue we had with these falafel was the texture. They were dense and mealy, a little tough and dry. Food falafel are usually loosely packed, but these were anything but. Possibly they were designed to not crumble when eaten, but we have to wonder if even a pita, tahini, hummus, and salad would have made these any more palatable. If you’re going to serve them, we recommend you try to doll them up as much as possible beforehand.
These falafel aren’t exactly healthy, either: three pieces contain 19 grams of fat, 320 calories, 490 mg of sodium, and 30 grams of carbohydrates. If you’re looking for a vegetarian or Middle Eastern-inspired snack and it’s gotta come from the Trader Joe’s frozen food section, we suggest you try something different.