Warm pita bread topped with spicy ground seasoned chicken with fresh parsley and chili peppers topped with a fresh arugula salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and pine nuts with a sweet, tart, and tangy balsamic pomegranate dressing creating irresistible chicken pitas.
This Middle Eastern-inspired recipe hits the spot when you are looking for a light meal that will satisfy you. Ara'yes, is a ground meat stuffed pita sandwich that is oven baked. It has also been claimed by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine and is beloved by Israel.
The combination of chewy and crunchy textures makes it very enjoyable. As a result, it was like having a cold salad and a hot sandwich in one that screamed freshness and simplicity. For instance, the chicken filling is seasoned with fresh jalapenos, parsley, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, and a combination of aromatic Italian herbs seasoning.
What Makes This Pita So Delicious?
The open-faced chicken pitas are fried in a skillet with olive oil, creating a nice golden brown crust on the filling and pita bread soaked in a combination of the olive oil and seasoned meat juices.
On top of this warm pita sandwich is a refreshing arugula salad of feta cheese, diced cucumber, tomatoes, sliced onions, and pine nuts coated in an easy-to-make tangy and sweet Balsamic Pomegranate vinaigrette seasoned with lemon, salt, and pepper.
Check out other ways to use ground chicken filling with Spicy Chicken Burger with Harissa Eggplant, Portabella Mushrooms, and Onions and Chicken Meatballs & Israeli Couscous Vegetable Soup. Or with turkey to make Mouthwatering Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Pine Nuts Turkey Meatballs. And try the Curried Air Fryer Lamb Chops with Chickpea Cucumber Salad to keep going with the Mediterranean theme.
Make the filling by combining the onion, jalapeno, parsley, ground chicken, panko breadcrumbs, egg, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning in the food processor. Then divide each pita bread into two to smear on the chicken filling and fry in a skillet with olive oil.
See the chicken pitas recipe card for quantities.
For the Salad
Make the salad in a mixing bowl by combining the arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, onion slices, feta cheese, and pine nuts with the dressing that was shaken in a small jar of fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses, salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil.
See the chicken pitas recipe card for quantities.
Smear seasoned ground meat to the edges of the pita bread to sear evenly.
Sear chicken pitas, meat side down, in a hot skillet until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place all ingredients for the salad in the bowl and mix in the dressing at the last minute to maintain crispness.
Top chicken pitas with salad.
If you love hummus, then you must try the Fresh Zhug Feta Cheese Chunky Hummus Recipe for a satisfying snack.
- Jalapenos - Use your favorite chilies to control the heat level.
- Ground Chicken - Substitute with ground turkey or beef.
- Italian Seasoning - Chop fresh herbs of parsley, oregano, and thyme.
- Arugula - Not a fan? Try baby spinach or mixed greens.
- Campari Tomatoes - Use cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Pine nuts -Try pistachios!
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Food Processor / Meat Grinder - If you wish to grind your meat, I suggest investing in a meat grinder and a Kitchen Aid Mixer. But you can also use a food processor; I used the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper. I could mix all the ingredients for this recipe in one step.
- Spatula - Instead of sticking a fork or a spoon in the food processor to scrap it down, use a silicone spatula since they are great for cold and hot cooking methods that won't melt.
- Large Skillet - It's best to use the largest skillet to cook more than one chicken pita at a time. It's even better when it's a cast iron skillet to control and maintain ideal temperature like the Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with 2 Loop Handles, perfect for all-purpose cooking from the oven to the stovetop to frying.
- Salad Spinner - This can be used to rinse the arugula. Like this recipe, I used the Cuisinart Salad Spinner. Learn some helpful tips about using a salad spinner.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, place the dressing, dry salad mixture, and chicken pitas in separate airtight containers. The meal will last up to two days.
- Freezer - I do not recommend freezing the salad. Then, store the chicken piata in a freezer-sealing plastic bag separated with parchment paper.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Delicious Olive Oil - Try Graza “Sizzle” Extra Virgin Olive Oil - You won’t regret its smooth, clean taste.
- Sweet and Tangy Addition - I also recommend Cortas Pomegranate Molasses. I use this one at home very frequently.
- Use the Cheese Block - Make sure you buy the feta cheese that comes in a block and not the already cubed version in a tube. As a result, the block cheese has more moisture and is super creamier.
- Better Grade Balsamic Vinegar - Look for the “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.” It’s a better quality and rich in flavor. And since you will always use a small quantity, a little can go a long way for the price.
- Spongy Pita - When searching for pita bread, ensure it’s the thick and spongy version used for pita pockets.
- Spread it Out - For success, smear the chicken filling to the edges of each pita bread. Make sure the oil is hot and almost smoking, then add the chicken pitas, filling side down to sear by creating a nice golden brown color.
Looking for other Mediterranean-inspired recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other poultry recipes like this? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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