Thursday, 24 April 2014

Pitta Crisps - a selection of flavours

A delicious, quick and healthy alternative crunchy snack, or tasty appetiser with dips before a Turkish or Greek meal.

Really simple and quick to make, these are just wholemeal (you could use white if you prefered) pitta breads, halved and cut into triangles with a selection of different toppings, toasted in the oven until crispy and light.

You could serve them with my Hummus (with tips for perfectionists!) and Tzatziki / Cacik along with some sticks of raw vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, peppers and celery for a really healthy, balanced snack or light lunch, or as part of a spread. They will keep in an airtight container for a day quite happily, although if you want them fresh and crispy, I wouldn't keep longer than this to serve to other people (although they will last quite happily a couple more days, just lose a little crispness).

Serving sizes are easy - served with raw vegetables, half a pitta bread will do per person (each half cuts into 6 crisps - half a wholemeal pitta from e.g. Sainsbury's would be 77 calories) for a snack; or use a whole one per person for something more substantial to eat, (154 calories), plus dips - see Notes below for more information. (Slimming World - SuperValu Round Wholemeal Pitta Breads 8 pack (1 x 48g) can be used as a healthy extra - therefore provided you choose a pitta bread without any added oil, a 48g portion before cooking could be used).

If you fancy putting together a nice Turkish feast, with a shopping list and preparation plan, then have a look here!

I've used 3 pitta breads in this, to make a selection of flavours for 6 people as a snack/appetiser, you can make them plain if you prefer, and choose whether or not you use oil - they will be crisp either way. Using a little mist of olive oil spray will help any dry spices adher to the pitta bread crisps.

  • 3 wholemeal pitta breads (60g each) [462]
  • Olive oil spray (e.g. Bertolli, or us 1 calorie spray for Slimming World), or oil to drizzle (optional) [4 calories per spray, or 45 calories per teaspoon, if you're counting calories]

Toppings (optional - go with whatever you fancy!)
  • Zest of one lemon (grate over crisps as desired, see below)
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Couple of pinches of za'atar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C (Fan 160C) / 350F. Slice the pitta bread in half horizontally (as if you were going to split them to fill them, but all the way through).

If you intend to use oil or oil spray, it's easiest to apply it now, by laying out your halved pittas all next to each other, with minimal gaps, and lightly misting from above (one spray per 2 halves should be enough), then turn over and repeat.

Stack a few halves together (e.g. three), and cut them into six triangular shapes. (I do this as if my knife were following the lines on a protractor - pick a middle point at the bottom, then just take your knife around the opposite edge, a couple of inches at a time).

Fit (a third of) the pitta crisps in a single layer on a baking tray (I find I need one tray for every two pittas, so I have to do this in three batches), and lightly grate 1/3 of the lemon zest over them, then sprinkle lightly with cumin seeds.

Do the same again twice; the second time with a pinch of chilli flakes instead of cumin, and the final time with a couple of pinches of za'atar.

Cook each batch of pitta crisps for 12-15 minutes in the oven (or a little longer if they haven't crisped up all the way through, if your pitta bread is quite thick), checking them after 10 minutes; then put onto a wire tray to cool if storing (or eat hot!). As soon as they are completely cool, transfer to an airtight container. They will keep for 4 or 5 days, but best eaten within 2 days.

From L - R: Chilli & Lemon, Za'atar & Lemon and Cumin & Lemon Pitta Crisps
If you're counting calories:
For one 60g wholemeal pitta bread, I would use 2 sprays of olive oil spray (Bertolli, pure olive oil) after I'd halved it, one spray on each side for the two side by side. So for one serving of half a pitta bread, with a negligible calorie added for lemon zest and spices, this would be 82 calories (add an extra 4 calories for each additional oil spray).

A 50g serving of my Hummus is 86 calories, and a serving of my Tzatziki / Cacik yoghurt and cucumber dip is 54 calories (or 38 if made with fat free Greek yoghurt, see Notes). Which gives you a nice snack / lunch for 222 calories, plus a few extra calories for your vegetable sticks (see below, very low in calories), and quite possibly room for a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil (45 calories per 5 grams / teaspoon)....

Calories in vegetable sticks (crudites) per 100g

Cucumber - 11
Celery - 10
Peppers (bell/capsicum, average) - 26
Carrot - 26

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