Keto falafels

Keto falafels

Here's a must-have versatile recipe: a healthy, plant-based alternative to meat that's low-carb, high-protein and tastes great! Just switch the spices for the falafel to make Italian-, Greek- or Mexican-flavored keto vegan meals. Better yet: all versions are easy to make and freeze well.

Keto falafels

Here's a must-have versatile recipe: a healthy, plant-based alternative to meat that's low-carb, high-protein and tastes great! Just switch the spices for the falafel to make Italian-, Greek- or Mexican-flavored keto vegan meals. Better yet: all versions are easy to make and freeze well.
USMetric
4 servingservings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. 225 g mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup 125 ml light olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup 125 ml (75 g) pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup 125 ml almonds
  • ¾ cup 175 ml vegan unflavored protein powder (pea protein)
  • ¼ cup 60 ml water
  • 4 tbsp 4 tbsp (50 g) chia seeds
  • 2 2 garlic clove, mincedgarlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • ¼ tsp ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

Instructions are for 4 servings. Please modify as needed.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Heat a large dry frying pan and roast the almonds and pumpkin seeds until lightly browned and fragrant. Put them in a food processor and pulse for a couple of minutes.
  3. Fry the mushrooms in a large frying pan in ⅓ of the olive oil until soft and moist. Add the mushrooms, and the remaining oil to the food processor, together with the rest of the ingredients. Mix for a couple of minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Shape the mixture into 1½ inch (4 cm) balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy. Serve warm, together with the side dish of your choice.

Can I freeze the keto falafels?

Yes, they freeze well, so why not make a double batch and put the leftovers in the freezer for another day.

Vegan serving suggestions

This versatile recipe goes perfectly with all kinds of low-carb veggies and sauces.

Spice it up!

Why not try to replace the seasoning in the recipe with one of the suggestions below to give them another flavour of preference. The measurements below are based on 4 portions

Italian
1 garlic clove, pressed
0,5 cup of chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp sugar-free tomato paste

Greek
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tbsp oregano
0,5 cup olives, finely chopped

Mexican
1 tbsp tex-mex seasoning
2 tsp onion powder
0,5 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Is protein powder really healthy?

Although we generally recommend choosing nonprocessed foods, vegans on a low-carb diet may find it very challenging to meet their daily protein needs through whole foods alone. Including plant-based protein powders can help bridge the protein gap while adding very few carbs.

A few organic, less-processed options are Garden of Life Organic Protein Powder, Foods Alive Organic Pea Protein Powder, and Jarrow Formulas Organic Pumpkin Seed Vegan Protein Powder.

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17 comments

  1. Nadia Steiner
    Hi,
    I'm not vegan but would like to try this recipe. Could you please advise on a swap for the pea protein powder? I have collagen powder which I have heard of being used in baking? Or could I just leave out the protein powder?
    Thanks.
    Reply: #2
  2. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Hi,
    I'm not vegan but would like to try this recipe. Could you please advise on a swap for the pea protein powder? I have collagen powder which I have heard of being used in baking? Or could I just leave out the protein powder?
    Thanks.

    We have not tested these with whey protein isolate (unflavored/unsweetened) but it may work well.

  3. Patricia Carrillo
    I prepared them today with whey protein isolate, and worked perfectly😉. Go for it!
  4. Derya
    I am thoroughly disappointed, even disgusted with the ingredients.
    Diet Doctor promotes whole foods, right?

    I am very curious about the explanation, how pea protein powder is not utter crap and an extremely processed „food“, similar to the whey isolate powder in Kirstie‘s pizza recipe, where - more than a year later - no staff has answered the concern that this stuff triggers insulin.

    Diet Doctor IS LETTING US DOWN, IF NEWS AND ARTICLES ARE REVIEWED BY DOCTORS AND RECIPES ARE NOT.
    (Although Dr Eric Westman is fed that whey isolate protein powder pizza in the video. I wonder where precisely on his famous „page 4“ that ingredient makes an appearance.)

    I‘ll just leave you to the Weston A. Price Foundation‘s quote:

    „Pea protein is the latest legume powder on the market. One manufacturer describes pea protein isolate as “made from high quality non-GMO peas, by the processes of isolation, homogenization, flash evaporation, sterilization and spray-drying.” That sounds like three applications of high temperature! Peas may be much lower in isoflavones than soybeans, but they still contain many problematic compounds, such as phytic acid and difficult-to-digest oligosaccharides. These can be neutralized by proper soaking and traditional long cooking—but that is not how pea protein isolate is made.„

    https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/the-prob...

    Replies: #7, #16
  5. 2 comments removed
  6. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I am thoroughly disappointed, even disgusted with the ingredients.
    Diet Doctor promotes whole foods, right?
    I am very curious about the explanation, how pea protein powder is not utter crap and an extremely processed „food“, similar to the whey isolate powder in Kirstie‘s pizza recipe, where - more than a year later - no staff has answered the concern that this stuff triggers insulin.
    Diet Doctor IS LETTING US DOWN, IF NEWS AND ARTICLES ARE REVIEWED BY DOCTORS AND RECIPES ARE NOT.
    (Although Dr Eric Westman is fed that whey isolate protein powder pizza in the video. I wonder where precisely on his famous „page 4“ that ingredient makes an appearance.)
    I‘ll just leave you to the Weston A. Price Foundation‘s quote:
    „Pea protein is the latest legume powder on the market. One manufacturer describes pea protein isolate as “made from high quality non-GMO peas, by the processes of isolation, homogenization, flash evaporation, sterilization and spray-drying.” That sounds like three applications of high temperature! Peas may be much lower in isoflavones than soybeans, but they still contain many problematic compounds, such as phytic acid and difficult-to-digest oligosaccharides. These can be neutralized by proper soaking and traditional long cooking—but that is not how pea protein isolate is made.„
    https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/the-prob...

    Vegans who wish to be low carb need sources of adequate protein. If you are not a vegan, you can use egg white protein powder.

  7. Derya
    The need for proteins doesn’t justify your suggestion of harmful substances that aren’t even food.

    You do realise that you only answered “they need protein”?

    You do NOT say, “I’m so glad you asked, actually I’ve done my research and all of these substances are well researched and harmless.”

    You do NOT say, “Use them, but you need to be aware we cannot guarantee they aren’t hazardous.”

    You do say something like “Yeah, well, I suggested they drink Cola Light, as they don’t drink water, because they have to drink SOMETHING!”

    You create recipes on a health platform?
    Do your research and don’t ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COOK WITH TOXINS.
    And be gracious enough to react responsibly. People eat that stuff, you know, not everyone is in a position to question your content.

  8. Derya
    VEGAN PROTEIN
    SOURCES:

    1 cup cooked spinach: 7 g

    1 cup cooked green beans: 13 g

    100 g pumpkin seeds: 19 g

    100 g sunflower seeds: 21 g

    100 g macadamia nuts: 8 g

    100 g almonds: 21 g

    100 g pecans: 9 g

    etc.

  9. 2 comments removed
  10. Derya
    I do wonder though, if the non-vegans would still be willing to voluntarily ingest that white egg powder.

    “EGG WHITE POWDER is spray dried at very high temperatures and is likely to be highly allergenic.” (Weston A. Price Foundation)

  11. Derya
    Well?

    Are you leaving my concerns unaddressed then?

    My account on your website starts with this:
    „Trustworthiness is a core value at Diet Doctor“.

    Reply: #14
  12. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Well?
    Are you leaving my concerns unaddressed then?
    My account on your website starts with this:
    „Trustworthiness is a core value at Diet Doctor“.

    With apologies for the delayed response, I have asked for further clarification from our Recipes Team to better address your concerns.

  13. Derya
    Thank you, I appreciate that.
  14. Franziska Spritzler, RD Team Diet Doctor
    Hello Derya, I'm Franziska Spritzler, one of the registered dietitians who works for Diet Doctor. I'm also a certified diabetes educator.

    It's true that Diet Doctor advocates a diet comprised mainly of whole or minimally processed foods. However, we do say that some processed foods can be used in small amounts. This is true for plant-based products like pea protein powder that can help people on vegan diets meet their protein needs, as well as whey protein powder and egg white powder for people on vegetarian diets. Yet we still recommend that they consume mostly whole or minimally processed foods.

    At Diet Doctor, we base our recommendations on the strongest science to date -- and we update these recommendations based on the ever-evolving field of nutrition research. When tested in trials, these protein sources haven't been shown to cause any adverse effects on health. The Weston Price Foundation website does not provide any convincing scientific evidence supporting their claims that pea powder or egg white powder are harmful.

    It can be very difficult for vegetarians and especially vegans to consistently meet their protein needs on a very-low-carb diet. However, we understand and respect that some vegans and vegetarians want to avoid or greatly minimize their consumption of processed foods.

    We make a point of excluding any ingredients in our recipes that scientific evidence has shown to be harmful. And we believe that whether to include some processed protein sources in one's diet is an individual choice.

    If you prefer to avoid processed foods and consume only whole foods, we fully support that decision. We have many recipes on our site that contain no processed ingredients.

    Thank you,

    Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

  15. Derya
    Thank you, Franziska, for trying to answer this.

    I disagree on the strong science data though.
    But first have a look at this delicious product and its manufacturing process:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=pzBWZNoAFMg...
    Why would you eat that?
    When Nina Teichholz tells us that margarine is a by-product and literally garbage turned into something edible, and seed oils are gunk in their first stage and higly modified to resemble something like food, Diet Doctor applauds (and rightfully so), but protein powders are a wonderful alternative to nuts?

    https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/feb/13/how-ultra-processed-food...
    "Over the past decade, large-scale studies from France, Brazil, the US and Spain have suggested that high consumption of UPFs is associated with higher rates of obesity. (...) In 2018, a study from France – following more than 100,000 adults – found that a 10% increase in the proportion of UPFs in someone’s diet led to a higher overall cancer risk."
    "It turned out that, during the weeks of the ultra-processed diet, the volunteers ate an extra 500 calories a day, equivalent to a whole quarter pounder with cheese. Blood tests showed that the hormones in the body responsible for hunger remained elevated on the ultra-processed diet compared to the unprocessed diet (...)"

    https://world.openfoodfacts.org/nova
    "Group 1 - Unprocessed or minimally processed foods
    Group 2 - Processed culinary ingredients
    Group 3 - Processed foods
    Group 4 - Ultra-processed food and drink products"
    "A multitude of sequences of processes is used to combine the usually many ingredients and to create the final product (hence 'ultra-processed'). The processes include several with no domestic equivalents, such as hydrogenation and hydrolysation, extrusion and moulding, and pre-processing for frying.
    The overall purpose of ultra-processing is to create branded, convenient (durable, ready to consume), attractive (hyper-palatable) and highly profitable (low-cost ingredients) food products (...)"

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-hidden-dangers-of-...
    "Earlier this year, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project released a report about toxins in protein powders. Researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic), pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. Some toxins were present in significant quantities. For example, one protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA."
    "We don't know the long-term effects. "There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements," McManus says."

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):69-75. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.82.1.69.
    Effect of Whey on Blood Glucose and Insulin Responses to Composite Breakfast and Lunch Meals in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects
    "Whey proteins have insulinotropic effects (...)"

    Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012; 9: 48.
    The insulinogenic effect of whey protein is partially mediated by a direct effect of amino acids and GIP on β-cells
    "Whey protein increases postprandial serum insulin levels."

    Metabolism
    Glucose-lowering effect of whey protein depends upon clinical characteristics of patients with type 2 diabetes
    "Effects of WP supplementation on glycemia in T2DM depend on the baseline characteristics. Lower body weight, normal triglyceride and lower GLP-1 levels predict glucose lowering. In contrast, obesity, hypertriglyceridemia and high baseline GLP-1 predict increased glucose response."

    You say ONE'S DIET IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE. That's quite obvious. I could be stupid and defend margarine and seed oil, and you would still write that obviously it is my prerogative to do as I please. But YOUR DUTY would be to offer a scientifically proven, harmless, possibly beneficial alternative. I will not even start to list quotes on stevia etc., that are not being recommended, but tolerated, on this very website. Your website takes a stance on those, but protein powder is just accepted without further ado.
    This doesn't make sense, and - no offence meant - shows poor judgement.

    Reply: #18
  16. Franziska Spritzler, RD Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Derya, I realize you disagree with some of the content on our site. However, as I said, we rely on the strongest, most current evidence available when making recommendations. I reiterate our position that although we advise people to use mainly whole foods, we think including some processed foods is ok. And we feel that using plant-based, whey, and egg-white protein powders can help vegans and vegetarians meet their protein needs if they choose to eat a very-low-carb diet.

    As far as whey protein powder, yes, it does raise insulin levels temporarily, as does every other protein source (including beef, poultry, and fish). However, a 2019 systematic review of 37 randomized controlled trials (the strongest, most robust evidence) found that whey protein reduced blood sugar, decreased waist circumference, and demonstrated other beneficial effects in overweight and obese people with metabolic syndrome: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871402119305624.

    Regards,

    Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

  17. Derya
    Dear Franziska,

    in terms of studies and who finances them it is, again, not my duty to explain that when industry pays, industry gets what it wants (Dr Fung has an excellent presentation on YouTube on biased studies, you should try sometime).

    I‘ll leave this now, clearly we are getting nowhere.

    Thank you anyway.

  18. Lizzie
    I was looking for some reviews on how these tasted and how well they stuck together etc. Anyone tried them, with or without this highly debated protein powder? Many thanks x
    Reply: #21
  19. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    I was looking for some reviews on how these tasted and how well they stuck together etc. Anyone tried them, with or without this highly debated protein powder? Many thanks x

    If a recipe doesn't have comments regarding the taste, you can always check the star rating under the name of the recipe at the top left to see how people rated the recipe.

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