Greek Tabbouleh Pita Pockets
Roasted eggplant puree and quinoa-based tabbouleh salad are tucked together in a whole-grain pita pocket in this satisfying Meatless Monday meal from the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program at Straub Medical Center.
Perfect for both lunch and dinner, this fresh combination of crunchy vegetables and high-protein whole grains is rich in fiber, phytochemicals and vitamin C.
In fact, one of the key ingredients to this recipe, quinoa, is considered a nutrient-rich superfood loaded with high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.
“Quinoa is a great heart-healthy whole grain that is naturally gluten free. It is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids, and is rich in fiber and nutrients, including folate, magnesium, zinc and iron,” says Maria Tointon, a registered dietitian with the program.
“Quinoa also contains plant compounds that act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties,” Tointon adds. “It's a great swap for regular white rice and easy to make!”
For additional plant protein, add a spoonful of hummus to each pita pocket.
Greek Tabbouleh Pita Pockets
For roasted eggplant:
2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 teaspoon garlic, pressed or minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For pita pockets:
3 7-inch whole-grain pita breads
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or crumbled nonfat feta cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Arrange eggplant slices on prepared baking sheets. Bake until soft, 20-25 minutes.
3. Transfer eggplant slices to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Process until chunky-smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Set aside.
4. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Once cooked, transfer quinoa to a medium-sized bowl. Spread quinoa up the sides of the bowl to cool. (This will speed the cooling process and keep it from getting too moist.)
5. When quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper as needed.
6. Cut pita breads in half to create two pockets. Wrap pockets in foil. Place in oven for 15 minutes, until soft and warmed through.
7. Remove pita pockets from foil. Spread 1/3 cup eggplant mixture inside each pita pocket. Spoon in 1 cup tabbouleh. If desired, add 1 heaping tablespoon of Greek yogurt or crumbled feta to each pocket.
Nutritional information per serving (1 pita pocket):
Calories: 257; Carbohydrates: 50g; Protein: 11g; Total Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sodium: 468mg
Published on: January 30, 2023