Published Jan 17, 2023•Updated Mar 24, 2023
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With creamy tahini sauce, fresh crisp vegetables, and crispy falafel in every bite, a Falafel Sandwich might be the best way to enjoy this vegetarian ingredient.
It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of biting into a falafel sandwich: the soft pita or bread, crisp herby falafel, crunch of the veggies, and, of course, the savory drizzle of creamy tahini sauce. In fact, the secret to the out-of-this-world flavor in this recipe is the falafel sauce. When you add mellow mayonnaise and rich tahini to aromatic fresh herbs like parsley and chives, then add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten things up, you take your sandwich game to a whole new level.
You’re also going love how quickly this comes together. While this is a great use of leftover falafel, use my quick Air Fryer Falafel recipe to make them fresh. If you’re using leftover falafel to make these sandwiches, simply whip up the sauce, chop a few veggies, and you will have the perfect vegetarian meal ready in minutes. You can also make this recipe vegan with one quick ingredient swap (see below for more).
Here’s how to make it.
How to Make It
- Make the sauce – Whisk together the mayonnaise, tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and chives until smooth and creamy.
- Assemble the sandwich – Spread the sauce on both sides of the bread, and add the cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and falafel.
- Serve and watch these disappear.
- Mayonnaise, Tahini, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Parsley, Chives – These ingredients are the foundation for the falafel sauce. Mayonnaise and tahini create a rich, smooth texture, while acidic lemon works its magic with the garlic and herbs.
- Falafel – The heart and soul of this recipe, crispy tender falafel gives a “meaty” middle to this vegetarian dish. Feel free to use a store-bought mix (I love Trader Joe’s) or make them from scratch in the air fryer.
- Bread or Pita Bread – The perfect pocket to hold all of those delicious sandwich fillers. Falafel sandwiches are traditionally served in warm pita bread, so if you have access to good quality pita bread, use that. Otherwise, any soft sandwich bread works well.
- Cucumbers, Tomato, Green Leaf Lettuce, Red Onion – The unbeatable combination that puts a crunch in every bite. Go for a seedless cucumber variety like English, and consider using tomatoes only if they are in season so you’re guaranteed maximum juicy flavors.
- Try different sauces: Sauces are such a fun way to incorporate more flavor into a sandwich. Go for balance and drizzle spicy tahini sauce with cool yogurt cucumber sauce for the best of both worlds. It’s also great with Muhammara sauce.
- Experiment with veggies: You can’t go wrong mixing up the veggie combinations in this sandwich. Thinly slice mild yellow or orange bell peppers, use spinach, kale or micro-greens in place of lettuce.
- Spice things up: Making your falafel or tahini sauce with a hint of red pepper flakes or paprika gives this recipe just the right amount of heat to make your taste buds tingle.
- Make it vegan: Just use vegan mayonnaise in the sauce.
What Is Tahini?
Tahini is a creamy sauce made with three simple ingredients: hulled sesame seeds, olive oil and salt. When those tiny sesame seeds are ground into a paste they release an incredible flavor that is savory, nutty, and has a deep warm quality to it. The super creamy consistency of tahini offers a great flavor and texture contrast when served with crispy falafel.
The right sauce can turn a good sandwich into a great sandwich. For a classic flavor combination, use tahini sauce on your falafel. You could also drizzle a cool yogurt cucumber sauce, your favorite hummus, or even a garlic and herb pesto.
The mayo in this recipe means that this falafel sandwich isn’t vegan. The good news is that it’s super easy to use a plant-based mayo in place of the classic mayonnaise.
Falafel sandwiches taste amazing whether they are served fresh from the air fryer and piping hot, or pulled-from-the-fridge cold. If you’re serving this tasty sandwich hot, try grilling or toasting the pita bread (or sandwich bread) before filling with the falafel and veggies.
If you’re using leftover falafel, try this sandwich cold. The combination of cold falafel, crunchy lettuce and diced veggies is so refreshing on a warm day. You can also reheat the leftover falafel by popping it in the air fryer for a few minutes, or on your stovetop with a touch of oil.
More Sandwich Recipes
- Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks
- Sheet Pan Cuban Sandwiches (Cubanos)
- Sheet Pan Breakfast Sandwiches
- Curried Leftover Turkey Salad
- BBQ Pulled Chicken
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- Mixing Bowl
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- zest from 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped chives
- 10 cooked falafel (see note)
- 4 slices bread or 2 rounds of pita bread (see note)
- 8 ounces cucumbers, thinly sliced, preferably a seedless variety
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced (optional; I skip these if tomatoes are not in season)
- 4 leaves green leaf lettuce
- 1/4 cup red onions (raw or pickled)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and chives.
- Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the mayo-tahini sauce on both sides of the bread. Add the cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and falafel.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.