How to Make Delicious Vegetarian Pita Pockets: Easy Recipe and Make-Ahead Tips

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Looking for a quick, delicious meal that packs a punch of flavor and nutrition? Vegetarian pita pockets are your answer! These versatile delights originate from the Middle East, where pita bread has been a staple for centuries. The beauty of these pockets lies in their simplicity and adaptability—you can fill them with an array of fresh veggies, creamy hummus, or tangy tzatziki.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you will need to create delicious vegetarian pita pockets.

For the Pita Pockets

  • 4 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Filling

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced or mashed with lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

Hummus Spread:

  • 3/4 cup hummus (store-bought or homemade)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Half a cucumber grated & squeezed to remove excess water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Necessary Tools and Equipment

To prepare your delicious vegetarian pita pockets, you will need a few essential tools and equipment. Make sure to gather these items before you start cooking:

  • Cutting Board: Use a sturdy cutting board for chopping vegetables and other ingredients.
  • Chef’s Knife: A sharp chef’s knife is crucial for efficiently cutting vegetables, cheese, and avocados.
  • Mixing Bowls: Have a set of various-sized mixing bowls ready for combining ingredients like the homemade hummus spread.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements ensure the perfect balance of flavors in your pita pockets.
  • Blender or Food Processor: Essential for making the smooth, creamy homemade hummus spread with garlic and lemon juice.
  • Spoon or Spatula: Helpful for spreading hummus inside the pita pockets evenly without tearing them.
  • Oven or Toaster Oven (Optional): If you prefer warm pitas, an oven or toaster oven will be necessary to heat them gently.

Having these tools at hand will streamline your cooking process, allowing you to create tasty vegetarian pita pockets with ease.

Prep Work

Before diving into assembling your vegetarian pita pockets, it’s essential to prepare all components efficiently.

Making the Pita Bread

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) or use a toaster oven if you prefer.
  2. Warm Pitas: Place whole wheat pitas directly on the oven rack or a baking sheet. Warm them for 5-7 minutes until they are soft and pliable.
  3. Cut Pitas: Once warmed, carefully cut each pita in half to create pocket openings. Use a sharp knife for clean cuts.

Preparing Ingredients

  1. Wash Vegetables: Rinse all vegetables under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Chop Veggies:
  • Dice one cucumber into small cubes.
  • Julienne one red bell pepper into thin strips.
  • Slice one red onion into thin rings.
  • Halve cherry tomatoes (around 10-15).
  1. Avocado Preparation:
  • Using a chef’s knife, slice an avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit.
  • Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and slice it thinly.

Cooking Directions

Follow these steps to perfectly cook the pita bread and vegetables for your vegetarian pita pockets.

Cooking the Pita Bread

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Warm Pitas: Place the pitas directly on the middle rack of the oven. Warm them for 5-7 minutes until they are soft and pliable.
  3. Cut Pitas: Remove from oven carefully, then cut each pita in half to create pockets.

Cooking the Vegetables

  1. Sautéing Veggies: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add Red Onion and Bell Pepper: Add sliced red onion and red bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Season Veggies: Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper, and cumin while cooking, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add Cherry Tomatoes Last: Toss in halved cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until all vegetables are tender but not mushy.

Assembling the Vegetarian Pita Pockets

Now that your ingredients are prepped and ready, it’s time to assemble your delicious vegetarian pita pockets.

Step 1: Spread Hummus Inside Each Pita Pocket

Using a butter knife or spoon, spread a generous layer of homemade hummus inside each warmed pita pocket. This will serve as the base for your fillings and add a creamy texture.

Step 2: Add Fresh Vegetables

Start by adding a handful of chopped cucumber and red bell pepper into each pita pocket. These vegetables provide crunch and freshness to the sandwich.

Step 3: Layer Sautéed Vegetables

Next, carefully spoon in the sautéed red onion and bell pepper mixture. These cooked vegetables bring depth of flavor and warmth to your pita pockets.

Step 4: Place Cherry Tomatoes And Avocado Slices

Add cherry tomatoes for a burst of juiciness and color. Then place slices of ripe avocado on top, adding creaminess that complements the other ingredients perfectly.

Step 5: Season To Taste

Sprinkle salt, black pepper, or any additional seasonings you prefer over the fillings. You might also want to add some crumbled feta cheese or olives for extra flavor if desired.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Preparing your vegetarian pita pockets in advance can save you time and ensure a quick, delicious meal whenever you need it. Follow these steps to make ahead:

Prepare the Components

  1. Hummus: You can prepare the hummus up to three days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Vegetables: Chop all vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, etc.) and store them in separate containers or zip-lock bags. They will stay fresh for up to four days.
  3. Avocado Slices: Slice avocados just before assembly to prevent browning, but if necessary, brush with lemon juice and store them tightly wrapped for no more than a day.

Assembling Ahead of Time

  1. Pita Bread: Warm your pita bread just before serving for optimal freshness. However, you can pre-slice them and keep them at room temperature for up to two days.
  2. Spreading Hummus: Spread hummus inside each pita pocket as needed rather than beforehand to avoid sogginess.
  3. Layering Vegetables and Fillings: If you must assemble ahead:
  • Add a light layer of greens (such as spinach or lettuce) first; this will act as a barrier against moisture from other vegetables.
  • Layer chopped vegetables next.
  • Avoid adding juicy ingredients like tomatoes until serving time.
  • Keep assembled pockets wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored individually in airtight containers for up to 24 hours.
  • For best results, store components separately and assemble right before eating.

Conclusion

Vegetarian pita pockets offer a delicious and convenient meal option, perfect for any time of day. With their Middle Eastern roots and versatile fillings, they’re a treat for your taste buds. Preparing your components ahead saves time without compromising on flavor or freshness.

Remember to assemble just before serving for the best results. This ensures that the ingredients stay crisp and flavorful. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or new to vegetarian dishes, these pita pockets are easy to master and customize to your liking.

Enjoy creating and savoring these delightful vegetarian pita pockets!

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