Wondering what to serve with falafel? In this article, we’ve gathered some of our most favorite falafel toppings, both homemade and purchased, to share with all of you! Whether serving in a pita, as a salad or platter, or in a large bowl filled with ALL the toppings, you’ll love the options listed here. You may even find a couple new falafel favorites to put to good use the next time you have the most perfect food!
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We love falafel in this house. It really is the perfect meal.
And we love to make giant bowls of warm falafel filled with tasty and healthy toppings! It’s perfect for every season of the year.
In fact, we find ourselves eating falafel at least once every other week whether we make it ourselves or treat ourselves to a no-cooking night at our favorite falafel place. In fact, our local falafel restaurant was a great help in inspiring our own list of what to serve with falafel.
More on that in a little bit though. We’ll start by answering a very particular question: What is falafel?!
What is Falafel?
For those unfamiliar with this wonderful middle eastern culinary creation, falafel is a simple mixture of dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans and/or fava beans as the main ingredient seasoned with spices and fresh herbs.
It’s often rolled into a small ball and deep-fried in hot oil or baked golden brown for a crunchy texture. It can be served as part of a falafel bowl or falafel platter alongside numerous side dishes and condiments. The Mediterranean dish is also beloved as part of a falafel pita sandwich or falafel wrap! Anyway you eat it, this popular street food is one delicious meal!
Yet, there are those who outwardly avoid or even fear falafel. I’ve known quite a few and was actually one myself in my younger days when my palate was less refined. LOL!. Trust me. Don’t fear the falafel. If you’ve been avoiding this because you don’t fully know what it is, just stop. You are doing yourself a disservice and need to get yourself to try some, now.
It doesn’t matter whether you serve your crispy falafel with rice, couscous, or on top of a salad of mixed garden greens as part of a falafel salad with fresh vegetables, in a bowl, in a pita as a falafel sandwich or on a platter. I’ve even heard of the falafel burger.
However you roll, you’re going to want to plate your falafel with ALL the vegan options for falafel sides we’ve listed here for you today! The combination of toppings and the rich flavors they impart are incredibly compelling. Let’s get on with the list of best toppings and best side dishes!
Can you make falafel?
Homemade falafel is always the best falafel, and is also fairly easy to make, but you can often find falafel mixture at your local grocery store. Check the “international” or “kosher” sections first.
But don’t make it yourself the first time you try it. Let someone who knows what they’re doing open this wonderful door to your new favorite finger food for you. And have them make a double batch! You never knew ground chickpeas could be so good!
Is falafel vegan?
Falafel is almost always vegan (like 98.9% of the time) and is one of the most beloved dishes by vegetarians and vegans worldwide as a protein option.
What to Serve with Falafel Balls
This is our go-to list of what to serve with falafel balls!
Soft, Warm Pita Bread or Crispy Air Fried Pita Chips – Sometimes you want a nice, soft, warm pita pocket and sometimes you want crispier air-fried pita chips. Both are excellent options and, in my mind, an absolute necessity with falafel. Also, you might just be surprised how easy it is to make homemade pitas right on your stovetop or in your oven!
Chopped Kalamata Olives – This simple addition offers so much flavor! Get the pitted olives to save yourself a lot of extra and unnecessary work. Trust me! A chopped mixed olive salad is also a fantastic topping.
Grains and Greens – You can use jasmine or basmati rice for a great pairing that is also quite filling. You can also try lemon rice. And if you’ve never had it, you should! You can also just use brown rice, if you’d like. I personally love using couscous with my falafel. It is the grain so nice they named it twice! If you are looking for something even lighter, a variety of different greens can be used to create a healthy falafel salad. Anything from romaine to mixed greens to arugula can be used either alone or along with the grains previously mentioned. Personally, we love to use both rice and lettuce around here!
Vegan Feta – We love to use crumbles of our homemade feta block or a nice shmear of our tofu feta dip as a tasty topping with our falafel. You can also find a variety of store-bought options for vegan feta these days. Some of our favorite vegan fetas are from Violife and Esti. You may have other vegan feta options available in your local supermarket.
French fries – Yes, french fries. I know it may sound ridiculous to some, but they are the perfect side to a falafel pita pocket. Or maybe a green salad topped with falafel and fries.
Spreads to serve with falafel
Hummus – I can’t even begin to imagine a falafel bowl without a healthy serving of delicious, creamy hummus under everything. Hummus is an integral part of any traditional falafel platter/bowl. We’ve got three great homemade hummus recipes for you to try along with your falafel.
- Extra Garlic Hummus – A bold take on traditional hummus with an extra kick of garlic for all the garlic lovers out there! We know who we are. And by our breath, so does everybody else!
- Spicy Garlic Hummus – We spiced up our garlic hummus with a bit more zip for your lip. This is one of my favorite recipes for hummus because it combines my love of all things garlic and all things spicy.
- Dill Pickle Hummus – Oh, yeah! You read that right, my pickle pals. This is a tangy alternative to traditional hummus. And it is absolutely dill-icious!
- By the way, we have a whole post on how to store fresh hummus here. You can even freeze homemade hummus, so you’re always ready for falafel night!
Baba Ganoush – To oversimplify it, t’s kind of like hummus but with eggplant instead of chickpeas. A classic and traditional dish of eggplant, lemon or lime juice, olive oil, tahini, and spices. Baba ganoush is great as either a topping or a side dish.
Veggies to Serve with Falafel
Cucumber Tomato Salad – Also sometimes called “Israeli salad”, this fresh and flavorful topping is an easy and amazingly flavorful addition to any falafel pita, platter, or bowl. Fresh veggies in a simple dressing make for delicious topping or side. I also just like to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon.
Sumac Onions – Another simple yet delicious recipe of sliced onions marinated in wine vinegar or lemon juice, fresh herbs, sumac and other spices. These are also incredibly delicious on their own! If you’ve never tried these before, they are AMAZING!
Roasted Red Bell Peppers – I love the tangy, refreshing zip roasted red peppers give to falafel bowls. I think you will too. Making your own roasted red peppers is also one of the best ways to use up any red bell peppers you have in your garden or fridge. There are many easy recipes for doing it right on a baking sheet in the oven.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes – A great and often. overlooked addition. Spiced and roasted sweet potatoes add a great complexity of flavor to a bowl already rife with complex flavors. Try them tossed with a little oil and some garam masala, a touch cinnamon, and sesame seeds for extra flavor! Or, get a little wild with your spices and see what you come up with.
Pickled Veggies that go great with falafel
Pickled Sliced Red Onion – These are so easy to make and add such a vibrant flavor that complements the dish so well! (A simple but great recipe is 2:1 water to vinegar, add sliced onions, boil for 20-30 minutes. That’s right, I don’t even season them most of the time. But garam masala is a great option if you’re looking for a spice to add.)
Jalapenos – Pickled or fresh slices. Either is a wonderfully spicy addition to your platter. Go for pickled…with some fresh minced garlic cloves. Again, trust me. Just add them to the red onions when you make those. Wink, wink.
Chopped Pickles – I love to add some sliced or chopped pickles to my falafel bowls. They add such a vibrant flavor to an already exciting dish. I like to use my homemade refrigerator pickles when I have them around. But I’ll use store-bought pickles in a pinch. Advice: use dill pickle and not bread and butter or sweet pickles. Unless that’s really your thing, then you do you.
Thin Shredded Carrots – These are just as great in a pita or bowl as they are in a falafel salad. For an extra bit of fun, add them to the onions and jalapenos when you are pickling those. Alternatively, you can just add some vinegar and complementary spices like cumin or coriander, coarse salt, and sumac to make a great carrot salad.
Sauces to Serve with Falafel
When considering what to serve with falafel, don’t forget the sauce! There are myriad sauces that are perfect for this plant-powered main dish. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Vegan Tahini Sauce – You’re going to love this homemade, creamy tahini sauce drizzled over your pita or platter. It’s simple to make in your food processor and is a great addition as an absolutely delicious falafel topping. It’s also a great substitute to use as a salad dressing!
Vegan Tzatziki Sauce – It’s simple to make a homemade vegan tzatziki sauce using vegan greek yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice or lemon zest, black pepper, and fresh parsley and dill (or mint). There are store-bought options too; we like the vegan tzatziki from Esti!
Harissa Sauce – Harissa is made from roasted red peppers and various chili pepper and spices. The range of heat can vary from sweet with somewhat spicy to rather spicy with a little sweet. This is a wonderful addition to falafel and I highly recommend seeking it out. Start with the more mild to medium heat option and work your way up.
S’Khug or Zhug – a spicy dipping sauce or topping made from jalapenos, red chiles, red wine vinegar, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices. Make it. Try it. You’ll love it. And if you grow jalapenos in your garden, it’s an amazing way to use them up!
Hot Sauce or other spicy sauces– I love to add at least a little bit of hot sauce or chili paste as my final topping ingredient. Yeah, it might seem a little basic, but I do love how it brings the whole orchestra together.
More Vegan Guides
If I missed your favorite vegan falafel topping, please let us know in the comments your ideas on what to serve with falafel.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. If it has, we’d love for you to leave a comment below as well so this vegan list of falafel toppings can get to other curious people like yourself!