We’re just going to come out and say it: We love falafel. These crispy little orbs (or patties) have earned a special place in our heart. We love eating falafel as a tasty snack with creamy tahini on the side for dipping, as a hearty lunch or dinner wrapped in a pillowy pita, or as a lighter meal atop a bed of crisp lettuce.
Falafel originated in Egypt and most falafel scholars (alright, so maybe that isn’t really a thing, but it sounds cool) speculate that they were initially created as a substitute for meat during Lent for Christians. Traditional falafel are usually made with a base of chickpeas, garlic, cumin, coriander, and whatever other herbs people have on hand. The dough is then made into little balls or patties, fried, and served with tahini, a sauce made from ground up sesame seeds. The dish quickly caught on throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East and in more recent years, it has become popular around the globe.
If traditional falafel weren’t good enough already, creative chefs and home cooks have taken them to the next level by using unique ingredient combinations to put their personal spin on these little balls of joy. And since it’s June 12th, International Falafel Day, we have gathered 15 of our favorite falafel recipes to get you inspired to get into the kitchen and cook!
1. Spicy Sweet Potato Falafel
These Spicy Sweet Potato Falafel are light, soft, and make the perfect lunch, snack, or dinner! They’re also oil-free and loaded with protein! They’re blended together using a food processor, so you don’t have to spend time fussing over chopping ingredients and they pair perfectly with just about anything. So, throw them on a pile of your favorite veggies and enjoy!
2. Roasted Beet Falafel With Green Tahini Dip
You may be thinking “if you’ve seen one falafel you’ve seen them all” – well, prepare to be amazed. These Roasted Beet Falafel With Green Tahini Dip get their color and a subtle earthy flavor from the roasted beets and then they are slathered in a green tahini dip that’s creamy and bursting with flavor. Plus, you’ll get to learn how to make your own tahini paste.
3. Healthy Spinach Falafel
It’s no wonder falafel are popular. These little chickpea balls are plant-based by default and home to many different countries in the Middle East. Usually, however, they are deep-fried and dripping in oil, so these Healthy Spinach Falafel provides a lighter take on the classic by using the oven.
4. Caribbean Jerk Sweet Potato Falafel
These Caribbean Jerk Sweet Potatoe Falafel are the perfect weekend dinner. Basically, they’re like jerk-spiced fried hummus fritters, so what’s not to love about that? They’re made from sweet potato, which is possibly the best combination ever. Serve these crispy falafel in a pita with all your favorite vegetables.
5. Baked Potato Falafel
These Baked Potato Falafels are a wonderful twist on the traditional kind. They’re baked, soft on the inside with a lightly crispy texture on the outside, and so very satisfying. They’re great as an appetizer with a tangy tahini dip, stuffed in a veggie loaded sandwich, or tossed in a salad.
6. Baked Lentil Falafel
You will fall in love with these delicious, fast, and simple homemade Baked Lentil Falafel at first bite! Made with lentils, they are protein-packed, gluten-free, and flavored with a wealth of spices like cumin, coriander, fresh cilantro, and parsley. Pair these tasty falafel with your favorite greens and other fresh veggies.
7. Sesame Encrusted Spinach and Almond Falafel
Falafel are easy to make, delicious to eat and you really can put any type of special “spin” on the recipe. Here, traditional the falafel are made with chickpeas, almond meal, and spinach and encrusted with nutty, crunchy sesame seeds. Each Sesame Encrusted Spinach and Almond Falafel is bursting with color, protein, and flavor. Paired with the tahini yogurt sauce and simple cucumber and tomato salad, this is a dish that will satisfy all tastes and cravings. And, bonus — this falafel dough freezes really well, so they are perfect for a quick mid-week meal or served as finger food at parties.
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8. Baked Sun-Dried Tomato Falafel
These Baked Sun-Dried Tomato Falafel are full of delicious sun-dried tomato and fresh basil, which gives them such a scrumptious flavor, you will want to go back for more! They are simple, easy to make, and are crispy without being fried. Throw them on top of a salad, stuff them in a pita or wrap, or serve them as an appetizer with a variety of toppings, like guacamole, roasted beet, tahini sauce, and fresh herbs.
9. Sweet Potato and Red Onion Falafel
This recipe for Sweet Potato and Red Onion Falafel adds a little something extra to your typical falafel, by making it with sweet potato in addition to chickpeas! These are nice and flavorful thanks to red onion, garlic, cumin, and garam masala and, of course, they’re also crispy to boot. Top a salad with these and drizzle with a bit of vegan mayo or serve them as an appetizer.
10. Sprouted Chickpea Falafel Burgers
These Sprouted Chickpea Falafel Burgers are the perfect meal to make on the weekend and keep on hand for the busy times during the week. They are packed with protein, fragrant fresh herbs, and a deliciously smoky blend of spices.
11. Falafel Waffle
These Falafel Waffles are a work of genius. They ‘re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Best of all, no deep-frying is required to make these savory waffles. Topped with a hummus “syrup” and fresh garnishes, you’ll love these waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
12. Charred Broccoli Falafel With Charred Lemon Tahini
There is nothing better than homemade falafel and these Charred Broccoli Falafel With Charred Lemon Tahini are everything! The charred broccoli brings a new depth of flavor to falafel. Raw broccoli is roasted and then blended with chickpeas and spices. Then, classic lemon tahini is given a makeover with the simple addition of charred lemon. Whether it’s on a salad or in a pita pocket, this is the perfect meal.
13. Turmeric Falafel
Chickpeas are wonderful. One of the great things about these healthy Turmeric Falafel is that you can mash them and form them into balls to top salads, or use them as a sandwich filling. These turmeric falafel balls are moist and fluffy, and with a teaspoon of turmeric and just a teaspoon of olive oil, they are flavorful, but not too heavy.
14. Lemon Falafel With Smoky Tahini
Chickpeas are super versatile. These Smoky Lemon Falafel are yet another amazing dish you can make from chickpeas, which lend their nuttiness and buttery texture to this entrée. You can have this lemon falafel with smoky tahini as a stand alone dish, stuff them into a pita with tomatoes and lettuce, or use them as a protein topping on your favorite Greek-style salad.
15. Sweet Potato Falafel With Avocado Dipping Sauce
These naturally sweet, low-fat, baked Sweet Potato Falafel With Avocado Dipping Sauce make for a delicious appetizer or snack. They’re flavored with turmeric, garlic, cumin, and a pinch of chili flakes. You could eat these falafel as they are, dipped in the creamy, avocado sauce, or on top of a vegetable salad for a nutritious, light meal!
Did that get your creative juices flowing? Because we definitely have falafel on the brain – like seriously! We are out the door to look for falafel as soon as we finish this sentence… Bye!
Image source: Sesame Encrusted Spinach and Almond Falafel