How to Serve Falafel

Posted · 30th May 2019
How To Serve Falafel
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What is falafel

Falafel can actually refer to an entire dish, but more often than not is used to refer to the main ingredient – the falafel ball. They are made from ground chickpeas (like our tasty Cauldron falafels), fava beans, or sometimes even both. When made, chickpeas are often soaked overnight and then ground together with other ingredients like herbs, spices, onions and garlic.

The mixture is then shaped into balls (although they can be other shapes!); traditionally this is either done by hand or with a tool called an aleb falafel. Once shaped, the balls are then either baked or deep fried.

Falafels are low in fat and high in protein, especially when made with chickpeas and filled with plenty of fiber- especially soluble fiber, which some have suggested can help to lower cholesterol. They are also known to have many nutrients including: calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B and many more.

Cauldron Falafel

Where did falafel originate?

Falafel originated in the middle east, where they are particularly popular among street food vendors. The word ‘falafel’ is said to come from the Aramaic ‘pilpāl’, meaning a small round thing, or from ‘palpēl’, meaning to be round, to roll.

The true origin of the falafel is actually a hot topic in the Middle East, whether the yummy chickpea ball came from Israelis, Egyptians, Palestinians or the Lebanese is a debate that has spanned the ages. The most widely held belief however is that the falafel came from Egypt about 1000 years ago by the Copts, who ate it as a replacement for meat during lent.

How to serve falafel

Falafel is an extremely versatile food, which is probably why it’s so well-loved and has stood the test of time. However, despite this, some still find it difficult to know how or what to serve with the humble falafel. We think it can be enjoyed as a snack, for lunch, or even for dinner. So we’ve outlined our thoughts and favourite recipes below for some classic Cauldron inspiration!

Snack

Everyone knows that falafel is perfect for snacking! They’re perfect for grabbing straight from the pack and munching on the go. However, there are ways that you can level up your snacking with a few simple recipes!

1. Falafel Summer Rolls with Avocado Dip

2. Falafels with Smashed Tahini Beans & Zhoug Sauce

Breakfast

We think breakfast is a lesser-known meal to pair falafel with, but actually – it works very well! Like we mentioned above, falafel doesn’t have to maintain its ball shape, but can be made into something really versatile! We’ve listed two of our favourite falafel breakfast recipes below.

3. Falafel Waffles with Avocado Salad & Hummus

4. Falafel Bubble & Squeak

Lunch

Falafel doesn’t just have to be served cold from the pack for a picnic (although this is still really yummy!). We’ve included some recipes below that are perfect if you’re looking for an indulgent but easy lunch, or a lighter falafel salad type recipe.

5. Falafel, Cheese & Pesto Toastie

6. Falafel Poke Bowl

Dinner

Some people struggle with what to serve with falafel for dinner, but we think the possibilities are endless! Whether you’re after something light or filling, we’ve got a huge selection of dinner options. We’ve picked out two of our favourites below.

7. Falafel Stuffed Peppers with Muhammara Sauce

8. Roasted Aubergine & Middle Eastern Falafel Bake

For more ideas and inspiration about what to serve with falafel, why not head over to our recipes page to see what else is possible!

What to serve with falafel

Street food vendors swear by serving falafels inside a pita pocket, this was their method of making falafels portable. Adding a traditional dip or sauce is the perfect way to pack even more flavour into a falafel pitta. The sauce generally stays the same across the regions, but there are certain dips that are more popular…

Popular across all regions (including Bahrain, Egypt and Israel) is hummus (a chickpea-based dip blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic). Middle Eastern vendors often serve falafel with hummus and tahini sauce, which is known as a “falafel plate”.

In Israel, the falafel is often named as the country’s national dish and the sauce of choice is Tahini (it’s a mixture of tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and water). Other common combinations include hummus, sauerkraut, aubergine and pickled mango sauce.

If you find yourself in Lebanon then it’s likely that you’ll have Toum dipping sauce with your falafel. It’s a creamy garlic dipping sauce and packs a real punch! In Egypt falafel tends to be served with minty yoghurt sauce, flatbreads and spiced aubergine (but their falafels contain fava beans, rather than chickpeas).

Cauldron loves falafels!

And, if you’re thinking of trying this out at home, you don’t even need to go to the hassle of making your own falafel – we’ve got it covered. Our Moroccan Falafels are inspired by an authentic Middle Eastern recipe incorporating honey, apricots, dates and a touch of chilli. Or try our vegan Middle Eastern Falafels, cooked to perfection with tasty herbs and spices, or our Persian Falafels which are vegan with a hint of fragrant fennel and refreshing mint.

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