Would you eat it? Israeli Algae falafel wins prize

Last month the dish won first prize at the EIT Food Project competition held at the Haifa Technion.

Algae falafel  (photo credit: TECHNION)
Algae falafel
(photo credit: TECHNION)
It's traditionally made with chickpeas. But Israel's signature street food recently got a makeover from a group of Techion students looking to develop new sources of protein.
The invention, titled “Algafalafel,” was created by a team of graduate students from the Biotechnology and Food Engineering Faculty at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. And last month, the dish won first prize at the EIT Food Project competition held at the university.

The aim of the competition – which saw students working on it for a full year – was to develop a protein-replacement dish to feed the growing world population. Scientists expect that by the year 2050 – with 9.8 billion mouths to feed – there will be a serious protein shortage.

The “Algafalafel” are enriched with spirulina, which is a “biomass of blue-green algae which produce their own food by photosynthesis without a living organic carbon,” according to the university. Dried spirulina contains 5% water, 24% carbohydrates, 8% fat and about 60% protein.
The “tahini” on the falafel is also enriched with astaxanthin, “a health-promoting compound found naturally in certain algae and seafood.”
Spirulina, which grows in both fresh and saltwater, is one of the foods that has long been suggested as scientists tackle the concerns of food insecurity. Cultivating spirulina requires less land and water than producing cattle or poultry.