Crunchy, savory falafel is one of our favorite Middle Eastern treats. The formula is simple: Fry balls of garlicky spiced chickpea batter and load into a pita, on top of rice or in a salad. It’s vegetarian, vegan and packed with protein, and tonight, it’s what’s for dinner. Take a trip off the beaten path with these creative falafel recipes, and find your new favorite way to spin this healthy classic.

Recipe: Fawaffle, The Waffled Falafel And Hummus

Not only is waffled falafel a healthier alternative to the deep-fried version, it’s as delicious as it is fun to say.

falafel crouton recipe
Your salad called. It really wants to meet these croutons. (Photo: Evan Sung; stylist: Kaitlyn DuRoss.)

Recipe: Falafel Crouton Salad

Making falafel from scratch isn’t complicated; it just requires some planning: Soak the chickpeas in advance, pulse with seasonings and a few binders, shape and fry. To my mind, few freshly fried crispy things are as delicious. You can even make the batter a day before you fry it; I tried it and was surprised at how well it held up in the fridge.

Falafel Burger Recipe
You only need one falafel burger recipe. Black Tap NYC has you covered.

Recipe: Falafel Burger

I’ll be honest: I find most veggie burgers bland and mushy, so I struggled when I was considering a vegetarian offering for Black Tap. This falafel, which is based on a recipe I developed with Michael Schwartz in Miami, was the solution. It’s more of a Parisian- or Israeli-style falafel that reverses the ratio of herbs to chickpeas you find in many recipes. All the parsley, cilantro, and mint create a vibrant, herbaceous flavor that is complemented by homemade tahini, hummus, pickled onions, and feta cheese.

Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant Recipe
Stuff those eggplants with falafel for a hearty dish.

Recipe: Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant

Enjoy seasonal eggplant stuffed with hearty falafel for a steak of a veggie dish you’ll make over and over again.

falafel with fava beans
Forget chickpeas. Fava falafels are more fun to say anyway. (Photo: Alibaba.)

Recipe: Fava Bean Falafel

Serve these as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre — they make awesome party food — or go the whole nine yards and cram them in a nice warm pita with the works for a great vegetarian sandwich.