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

by Joy Bauer / / Source: TODAY

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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.

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

Joy Bauer's Baked Falafel
Joy Bauer's Baked FalafelNathan Congleton / TODAY

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.

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