Colorado Springs getting new Mediterranean frozen food line

Afia falafels and white bean hummus.

Last month’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen left me with many new foods to think about, and one of them was frozen falafel from a new-to-me Middle Eastern food company. I was introduced to Afia, based in Austin, Texas, by the Classic’s media coordinator, Lori Lefevre, who works in New York City and knows good falafel.

“Afia was founded by Farrah Moussallati Sibai, a Syrian and British expat who resettled in Austin after she needed to leave behind a horrible life and marriage in Syria,” Lefevre told me at the time.

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Falafels are deep-fried balls or patty-shaped fritters made from ground chickpeas, garbanzo or broad beans, Mediterranean herbs and spices. They can be eaten as is, as a healthy snack, or I like to make a yogurt sauce to spoon over crunchy balls in a pita pocket. Falafel balls are also tasty with a tahini dip. Falafels are popular in Israel, where they’re served in pita pocket-sandwiches with special sauces.

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When I got home, I checked out Sibai’s website. Afia, which means “to your health” in Arabic, got its start when Sibai arrived in Austin and saw a need for more Mediterranean cuisine in grocery stores. She decided to launch her family recipe for frozen falafel in 2017 at a farmers market. In 2019, Austin’s H-E-B grocery store began distributing her falafels — leading her to become the store’s diversity supplier of the year — and now they’re in more than 800 locations nationwide.

Colorado is a new location, and this fall, Sprouts Farmers Markets in Colorado Springs will begin carrying her products. Currently the products are in stores in Denver and Pueblo.

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The frozen falafels come in four flavors: traditional made with garbanzo beans, turmeric, three-cheese and garlic and herb. They check off all the boxes for healthy snacking: They’re gluten-, dairy-, nut- and soy-free, with no preservatives. They are plant-based and halal, which is meat (if used) is prepared as prescribed by Muslim law or “halal butchers.”

I like that they can be heated in the oven or, better yet, in the air fryer and be ready in minutes. I’m planning to keep a bag in the freezer for holiday entertaining, when I need something convenient, fast and hot — especially for vegan guests.

You can find several recipes using the falafel at afiafoods.com.

Contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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