Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce
Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce are chock-full of Middle Eastern ingredients such as lentils, bulgur, and tahini sauce in addition to shredded chicken, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. If you like spicy food, Tabasco sauce may be added to the lentils for some extra heat!
In a recent post, Chicken Feta Tostadas, I explained that I had “menu fatigue” concerning lunch. Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce is one of the new recipes that I’ve tried this summer to get out of the “sandwich” rut. I was pleased with the various flavors and ingredients that make up this dish as “flavor fatigue” can result from eating the same types of meals all the time.
A Quick Look at a Few Ingredients
Just in case you’re not familiar with all the ingredients in Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce, let’s take a moment to look at a few of them.
What is tahini? If you’ve ever eaten hummus before, then you’ve eaten tahini because it’s one of the ingredients in hummus! Tahini is a paste or sauce made from ground sesame seeds and is used in many ethnic cuisines such as Middle Eastern, Turkey, Greece, and North African. A small amount of oil is usually added to the ground sesame seeds to make it smooth and creamy.
Tahini may usually be found on the “international” aisle of many grocery stores or it may be found at natural food stores and Asian markets. When a jar or can of tahini is first opened, it will need to be stirred quite a bit since the oil will be on top.
Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially precooked. It is high in fiber and low in fat. Bulgur can be used to make pilaf instead of rice. It’s commonly found in tabouli salad. Two other Silver Foodie recipes that contain bulgur are Zucchini Pilaf Casserole and Bulgur Veggie Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise, both of which I’d highly recommend! I like the slightly nutty flavor of bulgur.
Lentils are part of the legume family and have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. Lentils have a wide range of colors from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black! Lentils are rich in fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require soaking in water prior to cooking. Lentils are grown and eaten around the world!
The Recipe for Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1/2 onion, cut in half
- 2 3/4 cups + 6 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons slat
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup coarse bulgur
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco Sauce (optional)
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 8 pitas
- 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, onion, 2 3/4 cups water, oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil; turn down heat to simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the bulgur and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and bulgur are just done, about 12 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in Tabasco Sauce if using, and let sit, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaf.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, the remaining 6 tablespoons of water, the garlic, the lemon juice, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the yogurt.
- Wrap the pitas in aluminum foil and warm them in the oven, about 10 minutes.
- Cut the top third off each pita. Spoon 1/4 cup of the lentil mixture into each pita.
- Divide the chicken and tomatoes among the pitas and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of tahini sauce. Top with lettuce. Serve with the remaining tahini sauce.
- Tabasco Sauce is optional depending on your personal preference for heat!
Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce is definitely a dish that fits right into the Mediterranean Diet which is characterized by eating poultry at least twice a week and eating plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils, Tahini Sauce is a heart-healthy meal!
I encourage you to try this dish soon! It’s great for lunch or any time! Get out of your lunchtime rut!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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