I made us the best pita sandwiches for lunch today!
Because one, we are coming up on zucchini season. Two, it is picnic and grilling season. And three, I am nervous and apparently that makes me want awesome Greek food.
Ok, well that last one is not so true. Yes, I am nervous, but when I am nervous I really just can’t sit still and I fidget… ALOT. Traveling makes me so nervous, I hate flying and the whole airport thing. It’s just never very fun, at least for me… and especially when your flight leaves at 1:10am.
Not sure what I was thinking when I thought the whole 1:10am thing was a good idea.
I guess I still think it is a good idea because instead of wasting a whole day traveling I am wasting a whole night. It works, but you know I am anxious. Truth is I would be anxious no matter what, that’s just the way I am.
Anyway, these sandwiches I made us today?
I think they would be kind of perfect to pack up for lunch. Maybe not to take on an airplane because they might get a little messy, but a summer picnic for sure!
Honestly, I kind of loaded these up with some seriously good stuff.
Let’s just make a list of what is in these:
First up, the greek olive pesto. I promise this is so good. Even my mom who is not an olive fan, really loved this pesto. It’s salty, cheesy and just a little sweet from the olives. It’s also a good way to change things up a little instead of using basil pesto.
Second, FRIED ZUCCHINI!! Nothing more to say here other than that we should all be making these everyday this summer.
Third, marinated feta. I know that feta on it’s own is totally awesome, but marinated in olive oil and summer herbs takes it to a whole new level. Trust me.
Fourth, the slightly crunchy chickpeas (or garbanzo beans). They add a little texture and crunch to the mix. Plus a little protein, you know, to hold us over till umm…we need some chocolate or something.
Fifth, a little sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. These are for added color and really, I just love sun-dried tomatoes.
Sixth? Pita bread!! Mmmm, that and naan, so good.
Next, put the whole thing on the grill to get it all toasted and warm. Delish.
Of course if you don’t have access to a grill or oven, this step can be skipped, but we love everything a little warm over here.
Oh and bonus points if served up with some watermelon on the side.
I feel like every summer dish is not complete without a little watermelon, you know?
- Marinated Feta (leave this out for a vegan version)
- 4-6 ounces block feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- olive oil, enough to cover the cheese
- Greek Olive Pesto
- 1/2 cup greek olives (I used marinated kalamata and green olives)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (swap in nutritional yeast or parsley for a vegan version]
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 pepperoncini (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or more depending on the consistency you want your pesto to be
- Fried Zucchini
- 2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 large egg (use 1/3 cup coconut milk for a vegan version)
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (use gluten free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons flour (use gluten free cornmeal if needed)
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (use nutritional yeast for a vegan version)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
- 4 pita pockets or [homemade pitas | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/traditional-greek-pita-bread/] (use gluten free pita or bread if needed)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained + rinsed if using canned
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, oil drained
Add the cubed feta, thyme sprigs, basil, bay leaf, black peppercorns and crushed red pepper to an 8 ounce or larger glass jar. Pour enough olive oil over top so that the oil completely covers the feta. Screw the lid on the jar and place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to two weeks. Just crumble the feta onto whatever you wish.
!Greek Olive Pesto
In a food processor, combine olives, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic and pepperoncini and blend 1 minute. With motor running, slowly pour in olive oil until a thick, smooth paste is formed. Store in the fridge in a glass jar or bowl until ready to use.
When you are just about ready to put your pitas together it is time to "fry" the zucchini. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. In another bowl, whisk together the Panko, flour, parmesan, salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Dip each zucchini slice in the egg mixture to coat, then dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place in the skillet and cook until golden. This took me about 3 to 4 minutes per side. When finished, remove the slices and let drain on a paper towel.
!To assemble the pitas
Place a medium skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add a drizzle of the oil from the marinated feta or sun-dried tomatoes. Add the chickpeas and toss well. Cook until the chickpeas are warmed through.
Pre heat the grill to medium heat.
Break open your pita pockets and rub the inside of each pocket with a little of the greek olive pesto, Place a few zucchini slices on top of the pesto and then a handful of chickpeas. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and a little sprinkle of marinated feta. Carefully place the pockets on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until the pockets are warm. Remove from the grill and stuff each pocket with arugula and more marinated feta. Eat!!
Well watermelon and fried zucchini!