Falafel is a well-liked Middle Eastern dish. It’s made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both.
Falafel comes in balls or patties, and it’s either deep-fried or baked. It’s easy to enjoy falafel as a snack on-the-go, which is part of why it’s a very popular street food in Middle Eastern countries. Falafel tastes fantastic. It’s crispy and savory. The herbs and spices used (coriander, cumin, and parsley) extend throughout each tasty bite.
Through the centuries, people from the Middle East have paired falafel with lots of other amazing traditional dishes. These classic dishes easily make the best falafel sides.
But falafel pairs excellently with other dishes too! We’ve compiled a thorough list of the absolute best sides for falafel:
Hummus is falafel’s classic side. Both hummus and falafel are made from ground chickpeas. This is really cool because you can use the same batch of chickpeas for both your main and side dishes.
Place some hummus in a bowl to act as a dip for your falafel. For a twist on regular hummus, make some roasted red pepper hummus.
2. Pita Bread
There are two ways to make pita bread into the ultimate side for falafel! The first is to stuff your falafel into the pita bread to make a traditional falafel pita sandwich. Cut each of your pita bread pieces in half to form pita pockets ideal for stuffing.
You can also turn your pita bread into pita chips. To complete this gorgeous side, serve with za’atar, a well-loved Middle Eastern seasoning.
3. Tahini Sauce
This quick side works beautifully when drizzled over your falafel balls or patties. You can also place tahini sauce in a dipping bowl next to your falafel. Tahini sauce is creamy and white and forms a lovely contrast with falafel’s deep brown color.
Tahini sauce is a Middle Eastern staple made from sesame seeds. To go the extra mile, add some tahini to your falafel pita sandwiches.
4. Toum Dipping Sauce
Toum is a Lebanese garlic sauce that’s traditionally served with falafel. Make it using fresh lemon juice and tons of garlic. Toum’s strong vibrant flavor elevates falafel’s natural earthiness. It’s a perfect falafel dipping sauce. Add it to your falafel pita sandwiches if you’re up to it!
This stunning and bright red Middle Eastern dip makes a wonderful accompaniment for falafel. Muhammara gets its dazzling color from roasted red peppers.
Muhammara also uses Aleppo chili flakes. These give it a sharply unforgettable taste. You can’t really go wrong with muhammara.
6. Zhoug Sauce
Zhoug is a spicy green sauce made using cilantro, garlic, and chili peppers. Zhoug comes from Yemen and is popular throughout the Middle East for its strong and fresh taste. Drizzle some zhoug over your falafel. It will soak right in, making for a delicious and exciting culinary experience.
7. Baba Ganoush
Baba Ganoush is a lot like hummus. However, it uses eggplant instead of chickpeas.
Make this Middle Eastern delicacy using roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. People serve baba ganoush with falafel because their hearty and textured flavors are amazing together.
Labneh is yogurt with a twist. Like Greek yogurt, labneh is thicker than normal yogurt because of the way it’s been strained.
Begin with Greek yogurt to follow this easy recipe. Labneh tastes delicious when sprinkled over your falafel. You can also use it as a dip.
For a filling falafel side with a kick, make some batata harra! The peppery potatoes blow up the notes of cumin and coriander in your falafel.
Falafel is as filling as these spicy potatoes. This meal feeds a good number of people. Consider inviting a few friends over for a hearty dinner.
10. Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce (Khyar Bi Laban)
The freshness of khyar bi laban is breathtaking. This yogurt sauce uses dried mint and cucumber slices to create a tasty savory condiment that you can use as either a dip or salad. It’s similar to Greek tzatziki sauce. However, tzatziki uses dill instead of mint.
11. Fattoush Salad
Use leftover pita bread crumbs to make this deliciously classic salad from the Middle East. Fry or toast these crumbs to give this salad its characteristic crunchiness.
Fill the salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber slices. An absolute must-have for this salad is the popular Middle Eastern spice, sumac.
12. Classic Lebanese Tabbouleh
The best thing about tabbouleh is its sharp, tangy flavor. This flavor comes from soaking bulgur, a Middle Eastern and West Asian delicacy, in lemon juice.
Bulgur is whole wheat that’s been dried and parboiled. It’s extremely healthy and delicious. Top up the soaked bulgur with carefully prepared tomatoes, onion and parsley.
13. Perfect Couscous
You can never go wrong with a side of couscous! Couscous provides an earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet base for falafel. Its taste brings out falafel’s savory notes. Perfect couscous will also be soft and fluffy, a bite of which will taste amazing next to falafel’s crispiness.
Just like falafel, quinoa is an extremely versatile food. They taste remarkable together. To make this easy salad, use cooked quinoa as a base.
Then add tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and green onion. The quinoa and fresh vegetables provide a hearty and healthy side for your crispy falafel.
15. Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas)
This lovely recipe will show you how to make both falafel and stuffed grape leaves! Each of these Middle Eastern dishes is terrific on their own but they taste even better together.
Set aside a few hours to follow this incredibly detailed recipe! You’re in for a marvelous ride. This dish is wonderfully filling. Cook it to impress a large group of friends and family.
16. Israeli Salad
Israeli salad is vegan (free of animal products), kosher (prepared according to Jewish dietary law), and pareve (neither meat nor dairy). Here’s a pro tip! Be sure to use Persian cucumbers. They are smaller and sweeter than English cucumbers.
Although you can substitute Persian cucumbers for English cucumbers, do not use American cucumbers which can be quite bitter.
17. Lebanese Pickled Turnips
These pink pickled turnip sticks will look beautiful next to your falafel. They get their gorgeous pink color from being soaked in beetroot, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, water and salt for nearly a week.
Apart from looking good, these pickled turnips bring a strong, sharp taste to your meal that livens up your earthy falafel. They are a must-have!
Persian jeweled rice is a stunning side dish that will take time, patience, and varied ingredients to prepare. It’s mostly served at weddings in Iran, where it originates. This one is for the foodies out there! Go shopping before preparing this subtly sweet dish.
To make Persian jeweled rice, use Basmati rice, kosher salt, unsalted butter, diced onion, saffron threads, cinnamon, cardamom, dried apricots, dried raisins, goji berries, almonds and pistachios.
19. Shawarma Sauce
This thick, creamy sauce can be used as either a dressing and dip. As implied by its name, shawarma sauce is most commonly used for shawarmas, popular Middle Eastern wraps.
Repurpose it for falafel! Drizzle some shawarma sauce over your falafel, or use it to season your falafel pita sandwiches. This shawarma sauce gets its bright orange color from red chili powder and mustard sauce.
20. Mango Chutney
Mango chutney is a condiment commonly found in South Asian cuisines. It strikes a perfect balance between sweet and savory notes. Mango chutney is traditionally used to flavor rich savory dishes like meats, rice meals, and flatbread.
Falafel and mango chutney aren’t often paired together, but you should take the leap. Mango chutney beautifully brings out falafel’s crispy savoriness.
21. Egyptian Beetroot Dip
Egyptian beetroot dip makes the list because of how pretty it is! It’s pink because of the beetroot, and is studded with toasted pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, and feta.
This dip is spicy and fragrant as well. It’s best to use this dip for falafel balls instead of patties. Bake your beetroot pieces before using them. Blend your baked beetroot with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, coriander powder and cinnamon.
This salad is refreshing and just as crispy and crunchy as falafel. It’s irresistibly colorful because of all the vegetables it makes use of: Persian cucumbers, peppadew peppers, both green and black olives, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, marinated artichokes, etc.
The garbanzo and cannellini beans are the centerpiece of this salad.
23. Avocado Salad
Avocado’s creamy buttery taste and texture makes it the star ingredient of side dishes everywhere.
Although falafel isn’t traditionally paired with avocado, it’s easy enough to make a quick avocado salad that will make a great falafel side dish. This salad is easy to make and uses common ingredients. You can turn your avocado into a falafel dip if you’d like!
There are tons of ways to prepare falafel. As you prepare it, keep in mind what sides you’d like to serve. Falafel makes a great meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian dishes because of its sharp, crunchy taste. It’s a high-protein and low-fat dish packed with nutrients.
Enjoy this breathtakingly versatile dish with one or more of these hand-picked falafel sides!
After earning her Journalism degree, Eleonor Davis worked in the digital marketing industry for four years before joining the Birch Restaurant Team. Today, she works with food bloggers, ensuring every information is bluff-free and verified! When she’s not working, Eleonor is a mom, a sushi-lover, and a world traveler!