Falafel has been eaten for many years, but it seems to be gaining popularity more recently.
It is an Arabic dish made with chickpea flour, parsley, and garlic.
Falafel is then deep-fried to get that crunch outside and fluffy inside.
Falafel can be stuffed into a pita with veggies for a more balanced meal; however, it’s also common to eat falafel on the side as an appetizer or even a snack.
With the rise in the curiosity of the dish, it is important to explore an array of flavor profiles that are popular when eating falafel.
- Crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The texture of falafel is simply perfect- complementing its flavor to make for a delicious meal.
- Fresh parsley gives a hint of green color and provides a floral taste to the dish. At the same time, garlic adds another layer of tastiness, just like any other item in the Mediterranean region.
- Onions add a mild sweetness and balance out the flavors. Spices such as cumin add a nice warmth to this dish during wintertime or can even liven up spicy dishes when paired together.
All these ingredients come together to make the perfect falafel recipe, along with a side dish of pita bread, lettuce, hot sauce, sprouts, cucumbers, pickles, and tahini.
That being said, serving falafel is just the beginning, but these are the 8 BEST side dishes that will go nicely with falafel.
Read on to learn more about these options.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Falafel?
When serving falafel, one must consider the side dishes that will go with it for optimum deliciousness.
Different side dishes balance and contrast flavor profiles to make a well-balanced meal while adding variety and diversity.
It’s important to recognize that not every side dish will go with every kind of falafel.
For example, an olive oil-based falafel would taste delicious with a pita or cucumber salad but wouldn’t go well at all with fried onion rings.
A common misconception about what makes a great side dish is that it needs to be salty or sweet.
This is not necessarily true.
One of the most common side dishes that go with falafel is a cucumber salad, which is neither salty nor sweet and compliments the meal’s flavor profile.
Different types of side dishes also add variety to the meal itself.
For example, if someone were going to have meat for dinner, it would be nice also to have a vegetable-based side dish.
The most important part about choosing side dishes for falafel is knowing what flavor profile your falafel has.
If you know that the falafel will go well with, say, fried onion rings or avocado, then choose accordingly.
What to Serve with Falafel? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here is a list of the side dishes that will bring out the falafel flavor and enhance your experience.
1 – Chips and Salsa
Chips and salsa is a classic falafel side dish that is delicious, refreshing, and light.
The ingredients include fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers (for spice), salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lime juice.
For a simple alternative to the traditional salsa recipe, chop tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers (for spice), salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lime juice.
Combine in a bowl and place it in the fridge for several hours to allow flavors to meld together.
You can then serve cold or at room temperature with your falafel.
2 – Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is an excellent side dish when you want something refreshing and clean.
To make a cucumber salad, cut a cucumber into half-moons and add to a bowl along with salt, pepper, lemon juice or lime juice, red onion slivers, parsley leaves chopped finely.
Allow the mixture to sit for at least thirty minutes before serving.
Then, add some olive oil and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
3 – Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Rice pilaf is a very traditional side dish that goes great with falafel.
To make rice pilaf, saute finely chopped onions in butter or oil until slightly browned, then add rice, salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin.
Cook for five minutes, then add warm water with a little chicken stock added to it.
When the rice is done, place in bowl and top with pine nuts that were toasted in a pan on medium heat until browned.
Once the pine nuts are browned, they’re ready to top the rice.
You can add raisins or currants, but keep in mind they do contain a lot of sugar which might not be the best choice for everyone.
4 – Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a great alternative to a traditional salad and is a delicious falafel side dish.
To make tabbouleh:
- Chop tomatoes finely and place them in a bowl with cucumber chopped finely, red onion slivers, parsley leaves chopped finely.
- Add in bulgur wheat, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, or lime juice and combine well.
- Allow sitting for about twenty minutes before serving so the flavors can meld together.
- Pour tabbouleh on top of pita bread triangles.
5 – Quinoa Salad with Feta Cheese
Quinoa salad is another refreshing alternative to a traditional salad and is the perfect addition next to your warm falafel.
To make a quinoa salad:
- Combine chopped red onion, parsley leaves, chopped red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice or lime juice, salt, pepper, and quinoa in a bowl.
- Stir everything together and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
- Add some feta cheese and combine everything. You can top it with pomegranate seeds for an extra burst of flavor.
6 – Grilled Veggies
Grilled veggies are a great side dish because it’s clean and fresh, yet packed with plenty of flavors.
To prepare grilled vegetables, chop bell peppers, onions, portobello mushrooms (remove stem), brussels sprouts (remove stem), asparagus (remove woody end).
Place the vegetables on skewers and grill over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes.
Then, brush olive oil on veggies. If you like your veggies spicy, add crushed red pepper flakes.
Also, you can add balsamic vinegar to the grill to give the veggies a slightly sweet and tangy taste.
7 – Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are perfect if you want something simple yet tasty.
To make roasted potatoes, peel and dice your potatoes.
Place them on a baking sheet with about an inch of space between them.
Then, add some salt, pepper (and other spices), finely chopped garlic cloves, and olive oil.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the potatoes are browned and slightly crispy on the outside.
Once the potatoes are done, top them with fresh parsley leaves chopped finely.
8 – Simple Green Salad
The simple green salad is a refreshing and clean side dish that goes great with falafel.
To make a simple green salad:
- Chop cucumbers finely, then place them in a bowl along with tomato chopped finely, red onion slivers, parsley leaves chopped finely.
- Dress the salad by adding olive oil lightly over the top of the vegetables. You can also add salt, pepper, oregano, and red wine vinegar for extra flavors.
- If desired, add feta cheese or parmesan cheese.
In conclusion, falafel is a delicious Middle Eastern food that is traditionally served with tahini.
It has a unique taste and is also very healthy.
If you’re looking for an extra burst of flavors, try pairing your falafel with any of these side dishes.
Each one is delicious and will make your meal even better.
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Did I miss any other great side dishes? Let me know in the comments below.