Mediterranean diet recipes: Low-calorie baked falafel and baklava popcorn

When you think of Mediterranean food, you probably think of olive oil, nuts and seeds and healthy Greek salads. But there are plenty of decadent and not-so-diet friendly dishes, like baklava and fried falafel, which could use a little lightening up. Check out my healthier versions — both deliver the same delicious flavor for a fraction of the calories.

Baklava Popcorn
Joy Bauer's Baklava Popcorn
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If you're a fan of baklava, the flaky Greek dessert made with filo dough, butter, nuts and honey, then you should give my baklava popcorn a shot. It has all the same flavors but for a fraction of the calories. Plus, it's a cinch to make.

Baked Falafel

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Joy Bauer's Baked Falafel

There's no arguing that falafels are deep-fried deliciousness. Made with spiced mashed chickpeas or fava beans (or both), they may be small but they can pack a ton of calories. To remake the classic Middle Eastern dish, I lightened up the ingredients and baked them instead of fried them. The finished product is a better-for-you version that's just as indulgent. Take a taste and see if you agree!

For more delicious recipes, check out Joy's cookbook, From Junk Food to Joy Food. And follow Joy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.