Falafel is one of the mainstays of Mediterranean cuisine. Besides being easy to prepare, tasty and healthy, the versatility of falafel makes it an anywhere, anytime dish. It can be eaten with pita bread, and can be part of a salad or a standalone snack – these are the ways that most of us know falafel. But it can be enjoyed in many more ways and there are always new falafel pairings to try. In case you haven’t gone beyond the traditional falafel, here are a few ideas on what you can do with it.
Green Pea Hummus
Replace the chickpeas in traditional hummus with green peas and the resulting dip will add a new dimension to the flavor of falafel. The bright green color of the hummus adds greatly to the visual appeal of the falafel.
Those who like Indian food will know lemon rice, the light dish made of rice, peanuts, lemon juice, curry leaves and a dash of chili. It’s great on its own, but when paired with falafel it is a combination that lifts both dishes to a completely new level.
Yogurt is a great base for a dipping sauce. When it is made into tzatziki, its flavor is enhanced further. The addition of lemon, cucumber and dill make this a dipping sauce that can be eaten with almost anything. It works particularly well with falafel.
To many, Korean food is a stand-alone cuisine and the myth that it cannot be part of a fusion menu is an accepted fact. All it takes to dispel this impression is to try eating falafel with kimchi. The fermented flavors of this Korean classic pair incredibly well with falafel.
Tabouleh is the perfect light food. It is easy to digest, filling, quick to prepare and can be eaten at any time of the day or night. If you want to try a new way to serve tabouleh, make it with quinoa instead of bulger. Pair this modified tabouleh with falafel and you have a combination everyone will love.
Stuffed tomatoes are a part of almost all cuisines. The Greek version, with its exotic stuffing, is a special favorite in many homes. While these tomatoes are fine eaten on their own, when combined with falafel, you have a pairing that will have people coming back for seconds and thirds.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
There are few dishes as healthy, tasty or nutrition-packed as a Mediterranean lentil salad. The coolness of the salad makes a great contrast to the warmth of the falafel and the resulting flavor bomb will exceed your expectations.
This spicy sauce ranks at the top of almost everyone’s list of favorite sauces. The bright colors and the tanginess make it a great addition to most dishes. From steaks to hamburgers to seafood, there is little that chimichurri does not go with. Try pairing it with falafel. This may not seem like an obvious combination, but try it once and you will be hooked. Whether you like your food mild, hot or super spicy, all you need to do is find the right heat for the chimichurri and once you start eating, stopping can be difficult.
To add true variety and flavor to your food, locate a Mediterranean grocery and either pick up the ingredients you need or, if you have a deli that has Mediterranean food in San Mateo, just drop in and pick up the falafel and accompaniments that you want. The few ideas given here are just the beginning. Be adventurous and experiment – you won’t regret it.