Put down that pita! 5 different ways to enjoy falafel
Can falafel exist without pita? Absolutely, and we'll show you how.
Or can you?
Falafel aside, you can stuff pretty much anything into a pita, as we demonstrated last fall. But what about the flip side of that slightly off-center experiment? What if we took falafel, a favorite deep-fried street food, out of its popular pita enclosure?
This is what makes food fun, folks. Finding off-kilter, unique and often surprising ways to prepare your favorite dishes can mean the difference between a dull, workaday lunch and a mouth-watering meal. We've found five of these quirky dishes, with all of the falafel and none of the pita.
From chicken pot pie to shepherd's pie, America knows the best way to eat comfort food is by turning it into a savory pie. But what if the savory part didn't pack on thousands of unneeded calories and leave you feeling like you just swallowed a minion? This uniquely Mediterranean falafel pie gets a pleasant burst of vegetables with its cucumber-tomato salad topping, but what's really neat about this pie is the buttery, flaky Phyllo crust awaiting you at the end. A fitting reward for a culinary job well done.
Falafel burger or sliders
Since falafel is made by grinding chickpeas and shaping them into balls, turning them into burgers isn't much of a stretch. But one bite into one of these, and you'll wonder why beef ever won out as the ultimate burger filler. Veggie burgers can be a great light-fare option, and we suppose you could also call this falafel burger a veggie burger, but we just like saying the word "falafel" so much, we think it deserves its own category.
A Belgian-style falafel waffle with merguez, yogurt, pickled onion and parsley. (Photo: Arnold Gatilao/Flickr)
How would you pronounce this fabulously funky breakfast creation? Falawaffle? Wafalafel? Fawaffle? Truth is, it really doesn't matter what you call it – you'll have stuffed your face so full of this waffle, you won't be saying much of anything. This recipe is almost like an inside-out version of traditional falafel-in-pita sandwiches – instead of the falafel inside the sandwich, it actually serves as the bread (albeit in waffle form), with the salad, sauce and any other ingredients you desire on the inside. If this doesn't prove that there's no wrong way to eat falafel, we don't know what does.
Falafel omelet hoagie
The only reason celebrity chef Robert Irvine knew about this falafel omelet hoagie was through a friend who works at Drexel University in Philadelphia, who took him down an alley to an unassuming Mediterranean food truck that only the locals know. With freshly fried falafel, a hearty vegetable omelet and a generous helping of Sriracha sauce on a very Philly-esque hoagie roll, you know you're going to get hit with plenty of flavor – but Irvine was so blown away that such diverse ingredients could converge so flawlessly, he proclaimed it the best thing he ever ate. And he thinks you'll agree.
Falafel lettuce cups
Wrapping meat in lettuce has had its day. It's time to wrap vegetables in more vegetables, as with this falafel lettuce wrap recipe. Not only is it just-so-cute, it's also crunchy in all the right places, and the prep for this dish is surprisingly easy and quick. Asian lettuce wraps are terrific, but with a Mediterranean spin (cue the zesty garlic-tahini sauce for dipping!), you've given P.F. Chang a run for his money.
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