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17 Different Types of Falafel

Falafel is a healthy substitute for meat and also an excellent source of protein. There are several types of falafel you can make, check this arcticle to know.

Crunchy falafel with onions and letuce.

Imagine a ball of aromatic herbs and spices that has a golden, crunchy coating and a delicious, moist, and fluffy filling. Does it sound enticing? My mouth is watering just thinking about this falafel comfort food.

This simple Middle Eastern, plant-based food is growing in popularity. It’s healthy, economical, and an excellent source of plant protein, which makes it a healthy meat substitute.

Its main ingredient is chickpeas (garbanzo beans), but the herbs and spices you add to it transform it into different types of falafel. 

1. Traditional Falafel

Falafel with pepper sprinkles and basil in a cutting board.

The basic traditional falafel is a mix of chickpeas, onions, garlic, and your choice of herbs and spices. The hand-made balls of chickpea mixture are fried until they’re golden brown. These are usually served with salads, wraps, and sandwiches.

2. Baked Herb Falafel

Baked falafel and chickpea with cilantro in a plate.

Unlike traditional fried falafel, these are baked. Using fresh herbs in the chickpea mixture really makes a difference in the flavor. Spraying them with olive oil before baking makes them crispy, so you won’t miss the crunchy coating. If you have an herb garden, this falafel is perfect with fresh herbs, such as scallions, garlic, parsley, and cilantro.

3. Almond Meal, Chickpea, and Mint Falafel

Chickpeas and almonds are a perfect match. You get the nutritional benefits of both in one falafel recipe. You can bake or fry this combination. It doesn’t require many ingredients for a burst of deliciousness. Just add your favorite herbs and spices to the falafel mix.

Almonds are a good source of fiber and are low in carbohydrates. Like chickpeas, they give you additional plant protein and essential amino acids. You can’t ask for a healthier falafel as a source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, and antioxidants.

4. Vegetable Falafel

Mix your falafel with vegetables to turn a quick snack into a main-course meal. Follow any traditional falafel recipe and add vegetables for additional flavor. Onions, scallions, shallots, garlic add a tangy flavor.

Also, for additional color, flavor, and sweetness, blend sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and pumpkin into the mix. Spinach, dandelion greens, swiss chard, and peas are also nutritious additions to falafel.

5. Breakfast Falafel

Falafel with eggplant, tomato and green olives with sour cream.

Everyone in your family will run to the breakfast table when they catch a whiff of breakfast falafel baking or frying in the kitchen. The sky’s the limit for the ingredients you can add to your basic falafel recipe. Consider cranberries, honey, eggplant, pistachios, dates, greens, and pomegranates.

Breakfast falafel is more filling than toast and makes a healthy substitute to serve as a side dish for eggs, yogurt, and other breakfast foods. You can also make a breakfast falafel sandwich combining falafel, hummus, and healthy greens on pita bread.

6. Falafel Sandwich

Lunch is never better than opening your mouth wide for a bite of your falafel sandwich. Don’t be afraid to fill your falafel sandwich with cabbage, sauerkraut, beetroot, carrots, pickles, cucumbers, olives, eggplant, and fried peppers.

Top them off with tahini, curry, or mango sauce. Take a bite and experience the combined crunchiness and softness of the falafel blended to perfection with your vegetables and sauces. You’ll never go back to a bologna sandwich again.

7. Lemon Falafel

Falafel with lemon, broccoli and lettuce.

Lemon falafel uses the basic falafel ingredients along with yellow peas. Mince them all together and add lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon mayonnaise for a delightful lemon flavor. Other popular flavor additions to lemon falafel are liquid smoke, spice mix, and tarragon.

Serve lemon falafel on salad greens, or stuff it into a pita with chopped cucumbers, herbs, and tomatoes. Drizzle the top with a tangy lime or lemon dressing.

8. Falafel Panini

Although these are made with the traditional falafel recipe, you grill them on a panini press. This flattens the falafel, so you can fill a pita pocket easily. 

Once you have your falafel panini grilled, fill your pita. Keep your sandwich moist by spreading it with creamy avocado, then add your falafel. Top it off with a yogurt sauce. There are so many drizzle combinations you can make to make outstanding falafel panini.

9. Sweet Falafel

Sweet falafel with raspberries and spinach in a bowl.

If you’re craving something sweet rather than savory, turn falafel into a sweet treat. You have plenty of options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Start with your basic falafel mixture and add in dried fruits, such as raisins, dates, dried mango, dried strawberries, dried blueberries, and any other dried fruit you like. If you’d like it even sweeter, blend in sugar or a sugar substitute.

Don’t forget to add a sweet fruit or mint sauce on top of the falafel and enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee.

10. Feta Cheese Falafel

Bread with falafel and cheese fillings in a cutting board.

If Mediterranean food is your favorite, you can’t beat feta cheese and falafel. Get yourself a fresh large pita and stuff it with your falafel. Top it off with crumbled feta, diced tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Drizzle on some tahini sauce for a true Mediterranean sandwich. These vegan options are perfect if you’re following a vegan lifestyle.

11. Lebanese Falafel

A Lebanese-style falafel combines chickpeas and fava beans. Many Middle East countries use only chickpeas, while in other countries they only use Fava beans. It’s made the same way as traditional falafel but uses two different main ingredients. You can bake or fry the falafel and add your favorite sauces, fruits, and vegetables.

12. Egyptian Falafel

Egyptian Falafel served with fita bread and fresh vegetable.

In Egypt, they call falafel Tamiya. The traditional Egyptian falafel uses mashed white broad beans as the main ingredient. It’s usually blended with onions, garlic, sesame seeds, and various herbs and spices. The most common way to serve Tamiya is a pita with hummus and vegetables.

13. Persian Falafel

Persian falafel is an Iranian dish that’s ingrained in their culture. It’s cooked in the same way as other falafel by dropping the balls into hot oil until golden brown. This type of falafel also uses chickpeas as the main ingredient, along with garlic, cumin, coriander seeds, and parsley.

14. Waffle Falafel 

If you have a waffle iron, don’t limit yourself to buttermilk waffles. Try making falafel waffles. They provide you and your family with a nutritious meal any time of the day. These are fast and easy to make. Just mix your falafel recipe with water and an egg, pour it into your waffle maker and a few minutes later, you’re ready to eat a healthy meal. Top it with diced fruit, vegetables, hummus and your favorite sauce.

15. Green Falafel

A man picking a green falafel with rubber gloves.

If you see green falafel, it’s most likely because the chickpea mixture contains parsley, mint, and several herbs. It’s a bit different from traditional falafel in that it combines chickpeas with fava beans. It also has celery, jalapeno pepper, and bell peppers, which add to its green color. This is a savory dish, especially when slathered with tahini sauce.

16. Burger Falafel

A burger with falafel patties, tomatoes, pickled cucumber lettuce.

You don’t have to give up your hamburger bun to eat falafel. Shape your falafel mixture into patties before you fry or bake them. Serve them on a hamburger bun and you’ll never miss a cheeseburger again. Dress up your falafel burgers with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and tahini sauce.

17. Spicy Hot Falafel

When you blend your falafel mixture, include some hot sauce and chili powder in the mix. Serve them in pita pockets or in a garden salad. They add zing to your meal. Don’t forget the cayenne buffalo wing sauce and sour cream to make it even spicier.