Have you wanted to make falafel, but then thought how do I eat it? The best way to eat falafel is a falafel pita bread sandwich! This sandwich is highly customizable and easy to make.
So let's address the big elephant in the room. Falafel takes a lot of time to make from scratch because of the prep (the dried beans need to soak). And no, we can't use canned beans because they are already cooked, leaving you with falafel dough that's way too moist.
Before making this recipe, you need to either prep ahead Lebanese falafel patties or have some frozen Egyptian falafel (tameya) in your freezer. If you have some frozen Egyptian falafel on hand, this meal turns into a 30-minute breeze.
What Is a Falafel Sandwich Made Of?
A falafel sandwich usually contains falafel, pita bread, vegetables, and a tahini yogurt falafel sauce. There are many different types of variations for each ingredient, so I go into a little more depth below.
Lebanese fried falafel is what you most probably think of when you think of falafel. Below are 3 types of falafel you can use for a falafel pita sandwich - Egyptian ta'ameya (baked and fried) or Lebanese falafel.
⭐️ What is the difference between Lebanese falafel and Egyptian falafel? ⭐️
Egyptian falafel is called tameya (also spelled ta'ameya or ta'amiya), and it's a popular breakfast food in Egypt. The fundamental difference between Lebanese falafel and Egyptian falafel is that ta'ameya uses chickpeas and split fava beans making the falafel texture a bit softer. Lebanese falafel uses just dried chickpeas (and like many falafel recipes on the internet).
2. Pita Bread For Falafel
There are many different types of pita bread from the thin large-diameter Lebanese pita to the thicker smaller diameter pita bread you might find at the supermarket. For this specific recipe, I use thick small diameter pita bread known as baladi pita bread.
If pita bread is hard to come by at the grocery store, try looking at a Middle Eastern grocery store. Also, pita bread is freezer-friendly, so when you do find some, stock up! Another option is to make homemade pita bread if you have time.
This falafel pita bread sandwich recipe uses 3 vegetables: Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, and arugula.
- Persian Cucumbers: English cucumbers can be substituted. Traditional cucumbers (cucumbers with a thick skin) can be peeled and used as well.
- Tomatoes: Any type of tomato or grape tomato is suitable for the sandwich. I like to slice the tomatoes thinly so the sandwich bread doesn't get too soggy from the tomatoes.
- Arugula: This is my favorite option for falafel because it has a peppery taste that compliments the falafel and falafel sauce really well.
4. Falafel Sauce
Falafel sauce is as crucial as burger sauce. I can't eat a dry burger, nor can I eat a dry falafel sandwich.
Luckily, Egyptian falafel sauce, known as tahina, is easy to whip up with just 4 ingredients (not counting water). It's made with garlic, lime, tahini paste, yogurt, and water. Lebanese falafel pita sandwiches usually have tarator, another tahini-based sauce.
How To Make The Best Falafel Sandwich
Falafel sandwiches come in a lot of forms, some of them being: a wrap, a pita pocket, or a flatbread sandwich. My two favorite ways to eat falafel are as a pita pocket and a flatbread sandwich.
Falafel Pita Pocket Sandwiches
I recommend using thick pita bread for the pita pocket sandwiches so the sandwiches won't fall apart. Don't overstuff the pita pocket sandwiches otherwise the bread will break.
Personally, I add the veggies on the bottom, the falafel on top, and pour the falafel sauce at the end. Eat this sort of like a taco.
Falafel Flatbread Sandwiches
I guess this is where my American side kicks in. Sometimes, I want to eat my falafel sandwich like a sandwich. It's similar to making a burger or turkey sandwich but using a pita flatbread. I find this method the easiest to do, but that's just me.
When making a falafel flatbread sandwich, use a small diameter pita bread that's thick. Layer the vegetables on the bottom, the falafel on top, and spread the falafel sauce on the bread itself. Eat this kind of like a burger.
In Lebanon, falafel sandwiches are made using thin Lebanese pita bread. Lebanese falafel, tarator, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh parsley, and onion are rolled into a wrap. Falafel (and shawarma) sandwiches are popular street food, you can buy from street vendors. Eat this sandwich like a burrito (or wrap).
Sides for Falafel
Falafel Pita Bread Sandwich
- 8 falafel
- 2 pita bread store-bought
- 1 Persian cucumber
- 1 tomato
- arugula or lettuce
- 4 tablespoon falafel sauce
Falafel Pita Pocket
- Cut the pita bread in half.
- Open the pita bread to form a pocket.
- Stuff the vegetables and falafel inside.
- Top with the falafel sauce. (I make the falafel sauce a little thinner for this method)
Falafel Flatbread Sandwiches
- Split the pita bread into two circles (a top and a bottom).
- Place the bottom on the plate. Add the vegetables and falafel.
- On the top pita, layer on the falafel sauce. Spread it around.
- Place the top pita bread onto the sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy.
- The time to prepare this dish is assuming you have falafel and pita bread on hand. If using a pre-made falafel mixture, add an extra 15 minutes to the cooking time.