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These delicious little balls of heaven can play any part you like on your plate, it can be a part of a salad, rolled in a tortilla, or eaten all on its own, dipped in cold a yogurt based sauce which often contains cucumber- perfect for the warmer days. Falafel is the best when served at a picnic or as party food, because it can be served fresh out of the fryer, or after it has chilled on the kitchen shelf for a while.

What Is Falafel?

Falafel is a much loved and common street food throughout the Middle East, it is a deep-fried ball or patty shaped fritter made from ground chickpeas, broad beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pitta, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon. Falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini based sauces.

What Does Falafel Taste Like?

Falafel has been used as a meat substitute in items like sandwiches, wraps and even burgers. With its slightly crunchy texture and a rich, savoury, grainy and herbaceous flavour, consisting of many herbs and spices including coriander, cumin, parsley and mint.

What Can Be Served With Falafel?

Aside from the various types of bread that we like to eat falafel with, not to mention the sauces that are drizzled over the top of these little magical balls of deliciousness within the sandwich, making it taste oh so yummy. There are in fact many other ways to enjoy falafel, whether it’s served with salad, eaten with rice, or eaten all on its own, there’s no denying the paths of sides we can explore to make this element of deliciousness even more delectable.

Here are some mouth-watering ideas for sides that pair amazingly with falafel:

  • Kimchi
  • Lemon Rice
  • Tzatziki
  • Olive Salad
  • Baba Ganoush
  • Hummus
  • Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Cilantro Lime Sauce
  • Pitta Bread
  • Pickled Onions
  • Greek Stuffed Tomatoes
  • Crisps and Salsa
  • Roasted Potatoes

Kimchi

A side dish consisting of pickled vegetables like napa cabbage, and Korean radish. The taste of kimchi varies depending on the seasoning, although the common flavours of kimchi consist of a combination of spiciness and tanginess with an attractive crunch.

Making kimchi usually starts with salting the main vegetable which is usually cabbage, this is done by slicing the cabbage in half and generously sprinkling salt over the thick white part of each leaf.

Meanwhile the kimchi paste is made by mixing all the seasoning ingredients together which are, Korean red chilli pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, sometimes raw shrimp is used to enhance the pungent flavours of the kimchi dish, but if you want to make vegan kimchi you can skip this step and use some soy sauce in place of fish sauce.

You can start eating your kimchi straight away, or place it in the fridge and wait 2 weeks for the flavours to develop into a sour dish that will compliment your nutty flavoured falafel balls wonderfully.

Lemon Rice

A great side dish to pair with falafel is a five-ingredient entry like lemon rice! With a beautiful aroma to compliment the gorgeous taste of falafel, the best way to cook your rice is in a vegetable broth instead of water as this adds a richness to the food that you will most definitely love.

Start by rinsing the rice thoroughly with water, this will make the rice less sticky, as the starch will have been eliminated through this process.

Add butter, lemon juice, and minced garlic to cook the rice, stir to mix it thoroughly and serve with a plate of falafel for a scrumptious meal.

Tzatziki

A dipping sauce made from English cucumber, Greek yogurt, garlic, dill, and lemon juice. This creamy tasting sauce is brilliant for dipping chicken, grilled veggies, and falafel. Just grab the falafel ball from the plate, and dunk it into the cold yogurt sauce, dripping in this creamy deliciousness that it is just begging to be devoured.

You can make this delicious sauce by peeling and finely dicing cucumbers, then set them over a bowl lined with cheese-cloth or over a fine-mesh sieve, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let the cucumber soften and release juice.

Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, olive oil, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl, then use the cheesecloth to squeeze out the cucumber juice before adding them to your mixing bowl.

Stir all the ingredients then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Olive Salad

A fantastic salad that compliments the flavours and texture of falafel is the olive salad. This salad explodes with garlicky and briny flavours which come from the combination of green and black olives, roasted red peppers, red onion, cloves, red wine vinegar, dried basil, and oregano.

Making this beautiful salad is actually quite straightforward; combine chopped black and green olives, chopped roasted red peppers, chopped giardiniera, chopped red onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, chopped fresh parsley, a splash of olive oil, dried oregano, dried basil, a pinch of salt and black pepper in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving with freshly fried falafel.

Baba Ganoush

Similar to hummus, baba ganoush is a Mediterranean dish that’s often served with pita bread, raw veggies and our favourite… falafel!

It combines aubergine, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, resulting in an irresistibly smooth, smoky and savoury dip. You can also include ground cumin, smoked paprika, and fresh parsley in the mixture for some extra flavour.

Hummus

A perfect fluffy, and creamy side for falafel is this dipping sauce, made from chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and tahini. You can add roasted red pepper, pine nuts, and olives for an enhanced flavour to the hummus.

Give your falafel patty a generous dip into the bowl of hummus, to really grab all the flavours of the sauce combined with the fried falafel, that will inevitably create a party in your mouth.

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Another delectable Mediterranean dish loaded with exciting flavours which come from the combination of rice, lean ground meat, herbs and spices like cumin.

You can serve them next to your main courses like Greek lamb, roasted chicken, grilled lamb chops, or alongside tzatziki, Greek salad, tabouli, and falafel.

These grape leaves can be stuffed with a delicious mixture of meat and rice, seasoned with spices, once stuffed the grape leaves are cooked in a tasty lemony broth.

Roasted Chickpeas

A tasty side to have with your falafel, is these delicious roasted chickpeas, that only requires a few ingredients to make.

If you’re using canned chickpeas, drain them of their water from the can, and thoroughly rinse them to remove the taste of the salted water they were kept in. Then pat them dry with a paper towel.

In a bowl toss the chickpeas with olive oil, and season with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes for a beautiful browned finish,

Cilantro Lime Sauce

A wonderful sauce that enhances the flavours of your favourite dishes, like salads, tacos, grilled meats, and especially falafel is with cilantro lime sauce.

To make this you’ll need to add olive oil, 1/2 peeled avocado, 1/4 cup of water, chopped spring onion, 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, 2 diced cloves of garlic, juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt to a high speed blender or food processor.

Blend until its smooth, with slightly chunky bits of cilantro, for that finger licking satisfaction.

Pitta Bread

A default side to have with falafel is pitta bread. breaking off chunks of warm soft pitta bread and using it to break off a piece of falafel tucking it between the broken chunk of pitta bread, the contrasting flavours making it a treat to have for your dinner.

You can also choose to add a bowl of hummus to the menu, and dip your falafel filled pitta bread chunk into the hummus for a beautiful finish to the bite.

Pickled Onions

Pickled onions have the textures and flavour profiles that can complement the warm crumbly textures of falafel. These magical onions also go very well with burgers, or salmon burgers.

Using finely sliced red onions, combine vinegar, salt, and sugar into a small bowl and pour this into a jar, add your red onions and stir to coat it in the mixture. Cover it and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then transfer it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

You might even choose to make a falafel wrap, and add these pickled onions to the tortilla before wrapping it all up nicely and dipping it in a delicious bowl of cilantro sauce. Yum.

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

I’m sure you’re familiar with seeing tomatoes beside falafel, so why not experiment with these red beauties and create an explosion of flavours on the plate as well?

You can make this with ground meat, either beef, lamb, or turkey can work, with rice and crushed tomatoes. With the addition of flavours like cumin, oregano, allspice, nutmeg and fresh herbs.

First begin by cooking your ground meat in a large pan, add chopped onions, and garlic and cook briefly. Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, allspice, and nutmeg, and cook till the meat is fully browned.

Add the rice, crushed tomatoes. white wine and water, then bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Prepare the tomatoes for stuffing, by cutting the tomato tops, (do not discard them) and start to loosen the flesh by going around the tomato edges with a pairing knife. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the tomato flesh, and they’ll be ready for stuffing!

These stuffed tomatoes are a wonderful dish to have with falafel, the combination of meatiness and tangy flavours, with the crumbly nutty textures of the falafel are just a delight.

Crisps and Salsa

A classic falafel side dish that is delicious and refreshing are tortilla crisps and salsa. The ingredients include fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers, salt, pepper, lemon juice or lime juice. Combine all these ingredients in a bowl and place it in the fridge allowing the flavours to meld together.

Serve cold or at room temperature with falafel.

Roasted Potatoes

A perfect tasty side dish to have with most main meals, not excluding falafel, are roast potatoes. Peel and dice the potatoes, placing them on a baking sheet with an inch of space between them.

Add some salt, pepper and other spices, finely chopped garlic cloves and olive oil. Bake at 400F until the potatoes are a lovely brown colour, with a slightly crispy exterior.

So What Goes Good With Falafel?

From roast potatoes, to stuffed tomatoes, there is no limit to the amount of deliciousness that can be added to your plate of falafel. They can be rolled in a pitta bread, dipped in cilantro sauce, or hummus for additional coating of flavours that just explode in your mouth perfectly.

FAQs

What Should I Serve With Falafel?

kimchi, lemon rice, tzatziki, hummus, olive salad, baba ganoush, pickled onions, stuffed grape leaves, and tabouli.

Why Is Falafel So Bad?

Although it contains a variety of important nutrients falafel is traditionally deep-fried in oil, which means that it can be high in fat and calories.

What Is The Best Way To Eat Falafel?

The most commonly loved way of eating falafel, is in a pitta with garnishes of tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled onions, then topped with hummus, tahini or spicy sauces.

Is Falafel a Meal?

Falafel is a vegetarian meatball-like treat made from a mixture of chickpeas, fava beans, fresh herbs, and spices then formed into little balls or patties and can be eaten as a snack, or inserted into pitta bread and eaten as a sandwich.

Is Falafel Israeli or Arab?

Falafel, hummus, and shawarma are Arab foods, and they are also Israeli foods.

How Do You Eat a Falafel Plate?

Expert falafel makers barely use flour to hold the balls together, the most common way to eat falafel is in a pitta bread topped with hummus, and garnished with tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled onions.