pita bread pita bread Pita bread: It's not just a vehicle for falafel anymore. (Photo: jeffreyw / Flickr)

7 things you can stuff into a pita that aren't falafel

It's a pocket full of taste explosion.

There are certain food pairings we all take for granted. Wine and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Beer and pretzels. Corned beef and cabbage. Falafel and pita.

Foodies the world over are always up for challenging conventional food combinations and thus have come up with some truly incredible dishes. When it comes to falafel, this long-loved Mediterranean street food is usually served inside a pita with Israeli salad and tahini-based sauce. But why not shake it up a bit? Why not eschew the deep-fried chickpeas and stuff something entirely different into your pita?

So in the spirit of variety, we've rounded up the seven best pita-based meals (minus the falafel) that even the most inexperienced, kitchen-averse folks can achieve. Click on the title for recipes.


Barbecued cauliflower and onion in a pita

Onion and cauliflower pita sandwichOnion and cauliflower pita sandwich. (Photo: Tender Branson/Flickr)

Depending on what part of the country you're from, the word "barbecue" may have different meanings. For some, it means grilled, with or without barbecue sauce. In the case of this hearty, flavorful veggie sandwich, the barbecue sauce is the centerpiece. This sandwich is actually prepared via stir fry, not on the grill, and the recipe allows you to play around with flavors by trying new kinds of barbecue sauce. Whichever sauce suits your fancy, it's always a win.


Shrimp salad pita

Shrimp salad pitaShrimp salad pita. (Photo: Antonis Achilleos)

This cool, fresh pita sandwich is great for lunch and easy on calories. No side dish needed; just a refreshing glass of lemonade and a healthy appetite. This one takes a little elbow grease; as with any good shrimp recipe, this one is best prepared using fresh shrimp that's been deveined, peeled and halved just before cooking.


Apple chicken sausage and almond brown rice stuffed pita

Apple chicken sausage and almond brown rice stuffed pitaApple chicken sausage and almond brown rice stuffed pita. (Photo: Free Spirit Eater)

Pita is a sensible substitute for bread, for those who are trying to control their fat and carbohydrate intake. Add in some smoky-sweet sausage and nutty rice, and this apple-flavored chicken sausage pita provides a savory sensation. Chicken stock brings out the unique flavors in the sausage, and toasting the honey-wheat pita gives the sandwich a warm, crispy outer shell.


Pita burgers

White bean and sage pita.White bean and sage pita. (Photo: Rooey202/Flickr)

This is a fun, Mediterranean spin on traditional backyard burgers. This recipe features a cucumber-lettuce salad packed into the pita with the burger, but you can also use American or Swiss cheese or a mushroom-onion mixture. With a total cooking time of 25 minutes, this dish is a sure crowd-pleaser, or a lower-carb sandwich substitute when you find you've run out of hamburger buns. It's also easy to vary up the meat, or use white bean as in the above photo.


Tuna pita sandwich

Pitas filled with tuna fish, tomato, cucumber and sprouts.Pitas filled with tuna fish, tomato, cucumber and sprouts. (Photo: Tim Patterson/Flickr)

Tuna salad is an all-ages favorite, but there's no rule that says it has to be served between two slices of bread. A less-mess, low-calorie alternative is the tuna pita sandwich. Great for a party platter or appetizer tray, this dish can be as simple as mixing canned tuna with mayo, cutting the pita in half and stuffing away. It's also perfect for brown-bag lunches.


Tempeh reuben sandwich

Tempeh reuben sandwich.Tempeh reuben sandwich. (Photo: Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr)

This is an idea with probably hundreds of variations. The traditional reuben consists of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread, but like all the dishes featured here, there's no hard-and-fast rule on following tradition. This recipe uses tempeh, which is a soybean product originally from Indonesia. Often confused with tofu, tempeh is higher in protein and fiber than its more popular cousin. It's commonly used in the vegetarian and vegan world as a meat substitute.


Pita fajita

Chicken fajita on pita bread.Chicken fajita on pita bread. (Photo: jeffreyw/Flickr)

This is a great use for leftover meat or chicken. Slice and dice, toss it on the pan and it'll be done faster than you can say "waffle falafel." Oh, and be sure to have some extra-zesty spices on hand.

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7 things you can stuff into a pita that aren't falafel
It's a pocket full of taste explosion.