Falafel, a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Originating in Egypt, falafel has become a popular street food and can be found in food trucks and restaurants all over the world. Whether you're new to falafel or a seasoned pro, it can be helpful to know what to serve with falafel to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
What to Serve with Falafel: Traditional and Modern Options
When it comes to serving falafel, there are a variety of traditional and modern accompaniments to choose from. With a wide range of traditional and modern options to choose from, there is something for everyone to enjoy when serving falafel.
Traditional accompaniments for falafel include a variety of salads, dips, and sauces that are commonly found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. These accompaniments offer a refreshing contrast to the deep-fried nature of the falafel and add a healthy element to the meal.
Tabbouleh, also known as tabouleh or tabouli, is a traditional Middle Eastern salad that is often served with falafel. It is made from a base of finely chopped parsley, combined with tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat. The parsley adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor to the salad, while the tomatoes and onions provide a nice burst of sweetness and acidity. The bulgur wheat adds a nutty, chewy texture to the salad and helps to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients.
Tabbouleh is a great accompaniment to falafel because it offers a refreshing contrast to the deep-fried nature of the falafel. The light and fresh flavors of the salad help to balance out the rich and savory flavors of the falafel. Tabbouleh also adds a healthy element to the meal, as it is high in vitamins and minerals, and is low in calories.
Another traditional accompaniment to falafel is fattoush. This salad is also common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Fattoush is made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and pita chips. The pita chips are usually fried or toasted and provide a nice crunch to the salad. The tomatoes and cucumbers add a freshness and sweetness to the salad, while the onions add a nice bite. The pita chips complement the falafel nicely adding a nice texture and a contrast to the freshness of the vegetables.
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. The chickpeas give the dip a creamy and smooth texture, while the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic provide a rich and flavorful taste. The hummus pairs well with the crispy falafel and provides a nice contrast in textures. The creamy hummus also helps to balance out the rich and savory flavors of the falafel.
4. Baba Ghanoush
Baba ghanoush is another traditional dip that is often served with falafel. It is made from eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. The eggplant is usually grilled or roasted, which gives the dip a smoky flavor. The tahini, lemon juice, and garlic provide a rich and flavorful taste. The creamy and smoky baba ghanoush complements the falafel nicely, adding a different depth of flavor to the meal.
5. Yogurt Sauce
A simple yogurt sauce made with yogurt, garlic, and dill is also a traditional accompaniment that is often served with falafel. The yogurt sauce adds a cool and tangy element to the meal, which helps to balance out the rich and savory flavors of the falafel. The garlic and dill provide a nice aroma and flavor that complements the falafel nicely.
Modern twists on traditional falafel accompaniments include new and innovative ways to enjoy the popular street food. These new ways include serving falafel in bowls, wraps, burgers and pizzas. These modern twists take the traditional falafel and adds a new level of flavor and texture. These options are perfect for those looking for a convenient and satisfying meal, or for those looking for a unique and unconventional way to enjoy falafel.
1. Falafel bowls
For a modern twist on traditional falafel accompaniments, consider serving falafel in a bowl with rice or quinoa and various vegetables, topped with a sauce. This is a popular and convenient way to enjoy falafel, as it allows you to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal in one bowl. You can add various vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce, which will add color, texture and nutrition to your meal. You can also top it with a sauce of your choice, such as a tahini sauce, a yogurt sauce or a hot sauce, which will enhance the flavor of the dish.
2. Falafel wraps
Another modern way to enjoy falafel is to stuff it into a pita or wrap with vegetables and a sauce. This is a great option for those who prefer a handheld meal, as it is easy to eat on the go. You can add various vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles, which will add color, texture, and nutrition to your meal. You can also add a sauce of your choice, such as tzatziki or tahini, which will enhance the flavor of the dish.
3. Falafel burgers
Another modern twist on falafel is using it as a patty in a burger with traditional burger toppings. This is a great option for those who are looking for a more substantial and hearty meal. You can add toppings such as lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayo or a tahini sauce, which will complement the falafel patty nicely.
4. Falafel pizzas
Lastly, you can also use falafel as a topping on a pizza with traditional pizza toppings. This is a great option for those who are looking for a unique and unconventional way to enjoy falafel. You can add toppings such as mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, onions, and olives, which will complement the falafel nicely.
When it comes to beverage pairings with falafel, traditional drinks like mint lemonade, yogurt drink and herbal teas are great options. These drinks provide a refreshing and cooling contrast to the deep-fried and flavorful falafel.
1. Mint Lemonade
Mint lemonade is a popular drink in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, and it's a great option to serve with falafel. It's made by blending fresh mint leaves, sugar, and lemon juice, which results in a refreshing and tangy drink that pairs well with the falafel. The mint flavor provides a refreshing contrast to the savory falafel, and the lemon juice helps to balance out the flavors.
2. Yogurt Drink
Yogurt drink, also known as "Ayran" or "Laban" is another traditional drink that pairs well with falafel. It's made by blending yogurt, water, and salt, which results in a refreshing and cooling drink that pairs well with the falafel. The yogurt provides a creamy and tangy flavor that complements the falafel nicely, while the salt helps to balance out the flavors.
3. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas are also great options to serve with falafel. Teas such as mint tea, fennel tea, and sage tea are all popular choices in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. These teas provide a refreshing and soothing contrast to the deep-fried and flavorful falafel. The mint tea provides a refreshing and cooling contrast to the savory falafel, while the fennel tea has a licorice-like taste that complements the falafel nicely. Sage tea is also a great option as it has a warm and soothing flavor that pairs well with the falafel.
In conclusion, falafel is a versatile and delicious food that can be paired with a wide variety of accompaniments. Traditional options like tabbouleh, fattoush, hummus, baba ghanoush, and yogurt sauce are all great choices, but don't be afraid to experiment with modern twists like falafel bowls, wraps, burgers, and pizzas. Ultimately, the key is to find the combinations that you enjoy the most. Happy eating!
Say hello to Jessica "Jess" Ainsley, a 30-something food blogger and freelance copywriter based in the West Coast. With a passion for all things related to food and cooking, Jessica spends her days testing out new recipes and sharing her culinary adventures on her popular blog.