Green falafel, dancing falafel, stuffed falafel... this Middle Eastern classic has endless variations - which means there's plenty of options for finding the one that's just right for you!
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14 Oct 2020 - 1:14 AM  UPDATED 14 Oct 2020 - 3:03 PM

--- Watch Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook Sundays 8.30pm on SBS Food Channel 33 and on SBS On Demand, including a falafel eating and cooking visit to Jordan on Sunday, October 18 ---

 

Do you love the herby heartiness of a great falafel? So do we! There's an endless variation on size and style and that's part of why we love them (also up there on our 'reasons why' - they are a great excuse to dip, drizzle and wrap and roll!)

Here are some of our favourite version of this Middle Eastern classic.

Falafel for breakfast (or any other meal)

This recipe for chickpea and broad bean falafel comes from Sydney chef Michael Rantissi, who sure knows how to make a good one. This recipe comes from Falafel for Breakfast, the cookbook by Rantissi and Kristy Frawley that shares the deeply popular food served at Kepos Street Kitchen. And that name? “It reflects my mum’s incredulity that bacon-and-egg and toast-and-Vegemite-loving Aussies were coming to Kepos first thing in the morning and ordering falafel,” he writes in the book. Serve 'em up with his green tahini

Falafel for Breakfast

Egyptian-style falafel

Broad beans are at the heart of this falafel, served wrapped up with pickled turnip, dill pickles and tahini sauce (the recipe includes instructions for those, too, if you'd like to DIY all of it - you'll need to plan a few days further ahead in that case).

Egyptian falafel

'Sabrina-style' falafel

"These falafel are less traditional and more Sabrina style – packed with herbs and bolstered with extra flavour – but the results are every bit as satisfying," says award-winning Persian chef Sabrina Ghayour of her take on the classic. Serve hot in pitta bread with pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, Greek yoghurt and chilli sauce.

Falafel scotch eggs

"This Middle Eastern, vegetarian twist on an old English classic makes perfect picnic food as they’re just as good eaten at room temperature as they are warm," says Joel Kenny of this creation.  

The cheese-stuffed falafel

Taking inspiration from Italy's arancini, Adrian Richardson stuffs falafel with boconcini in this recipe. Serve them up with a tahini, yoghurt and chilli sauce and you've got yourself a magic combination of crips falafel, melted cheese and perky sauce. 

Bocconcini-stuffed falafel

Raw hemp falafel

The falafel family tree has lots of branches, as this raw version shows. This recipe comes from blogger Renee Byrd, who says she likes to eat these as snacks, as well as putting them in wraps or serving them up with her quinoa 'risotto'. 

The baked take

Falafel is traditionally deep-fried, but our Bakeproof columnist Anneka Manning came up with an oven version. Team these lighter baked falafel with a fresh herb and tomato salad and tasty tahini dressing,

Baked falafel with tomato herb salad & tahini sauce

The flat falafel (aka falafel waffle)

Love falafels, love waffles? Embrace both in the fa-waffle. Some versions get stuffed, some get stacked. Read more about this combo here, and then try Desiree Nielsen's version: she serves her falafel waffles with tahini sauce and grapes for an unusual sweet-savoury combo, but you can put any twist you like on them. 

It's the lighter, super-fast version: falafel in under 15 minutes.

Falafel meets fritter

"These little fritters are like a light and fresh spring falafel. They are soft and spiced, served with a slightly hot sesame dipping sauce," says O Tama Carey of her recipe for broad bean and chickpea fritters with roasted sesame seeds. 

Broad bean and chickpea fritters with roasted sesame seeds

The song-n-dance falafel

After a falafel-eating tour of Amman in Jordan during his visit for Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook, including an intriguing beetroot falafel, Ainsley is so inspired that he breaks into dance and song when he later cooks up his own take on this Middle Eastern favourite (you can catch that episode on SBS Food, 8.30pm Sunday 18 October, and then on SBS On Demand).

We can't match his singing dancing style but we asked the ever-happy chef for his best falafel-making tips: "You want your falafel to be light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside and it’s always best to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight. Use damp hands to shape your falafel and chill them for at least 45 minutes before frying. Also, make sure your oil is not too hot when frying because it can cause the falafel to break," he tells us. Look out for him making his sesame-crusted falafel in the show, or try his recipe for low-fat falafel.  

More falafel fun
Mini falafel bowl

A healthy vegetarian bowl of homemade mini falafel, shredded cabbage and carrot salad and dollops of spiced yoghurt, a fresh and wholesome feed.

Easy falafel

Pop them in a burger or wrap, a salad, or serve them with eggs for breakfast - whichever way you falafel, you'll feel pleased as punch you made them yourself!

Falafel with creamy yoghurt

Whether you like your falafel green and herbaceous, or pungently garlicky, there's no denying that this Middle Eastern street food is highly addictive! The Chefs' Line

Mushroom falafel burgers

Complete with a homemade special sauce, juicy mushroom and melted cheese this burger ticks all the boxes and is packed with veggies. Have the serviettes handy! #RecipeForLife

Falafel burgers

Flavoursome Beirut-style falafel balls served as funky finger food. Prepare the falafels ahead of time, then simply cook when ready to serve. The pickled vegetables will keep for one week in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before using. 

Falafel

Traditional Middle Eastern falafel is made using chickpeas or fava beans, which are processed and flavoured with herbs and spices, then rolled into balls and fried until crisp and golden. This recipe is simple to master, or you might also like our falafel with parsley salad recipe. Browse more Lebanese recipes.