Recipe: Moroccan pita sandwiches
Spices may make our food safer by reducing the formation of harmful compounds when meats are cooked at high temperatures—for instance, during grilling. These pita sandwiches are a healthy alternative without sacrificing flavor. Serves 4
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less or avoid altogether, if you are sensitive to spiciness)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon spice mixture (see above)
16 to 20 ounces ground turkey, bison or beef or vegetarian burger
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 whole-grain pita bread rounds or 4 pieces of naan (East Indian bread), preferably warmed
8 tablespoons tzatziki sauce (yogurt-cucumber sauce found in the refrigerated section of many markets)
Prepare spice mixture prior to cooking meat. Spice mixture makes about 2 tablespoons. Use 1 tablespoon of spice mixture for every 16 to 20 ounces of ground meat. Store remaining spice mixture in airtight container.
Work spice mixture into ground meat with hands or wooden spoon until completely blended.
Heat oil in nonstick fry pan. When oil is heated, add crumbled ground meat mixture. It is easier to crumble the meat before adding it to the pan than after the meat has begun to cook in the pan. Cook meat until cooked through (times will vary depending on meat selection).
Prepare pita sandwiches by filling pita bread or mounding meat onto naan. Drizzle with tzatziki sauce. Or make the meat and spice mixture into burgers or sliders, and garnish with tzatziki sauce. Try a Moroccan version of a one-dish salad by placing cooked meat onto torn green lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions and avocado—whatever you like! Dress salad with tzatziki sauce or vinaigrette. The spice mixture can also be added to grilled or roasted meats, vegetable stews, rice or couscous.
Per serving: 370 calories, 12g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 80mg cholesterol, 660mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 5g fiber,32g protein.
Recipe provided by Beverly Utt, Registered Dietitian at MultiCare Center for Healthy Living