Saturday, July 6, 2013

Greek Veggie "Meat"ball Pita

Looking for something light, healthy, tasty, and easy to make that is perfect for a summer lunch?
Well....perfect for lunch in any season really....
How about a Greek style pita sandwich with chickpea and quinoa "meat"balls?
This is one of those recipes that I am trying to be all modest about but inside I'm screaming "Oh my goodness I'm a genius" with some gratuitous use of  jazz hands.
I know someone out there is thinking - okay Jo, you didn't invent Greek style pitas and you didn't invent veggie patties so just calm down.
First of all........yeah...I know that.
Second of all.....spoilsport.
Third of all.....I'm still a genius so na na na boo boo. 
Fourth of all...(Fourthly?).... you should make these because they are crazy good. I figured out the nutritional info on Myfitnesspal and the breakdown is:
1/2 a pita (4 "meat'balls, 1 Tbsp Tzatziki, 2 Tbsp cucumber, 1 Tbsp tomato, 1 Tbsp onion, 1/2 Tbsp feta, 1/2 WW whole grain pita) -- 220 calories, 29 carbs, 10 fat, and 15 protein.
What what!
For the same thing WITHOUT the pita shell - 130 calories, 13 carbs, 6 fat, 9 protein.

Greek Veggie Meatball Pita

4 pitas, cut in half and opened

1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
1/3 cup light feta, crumbled
1 egg
1/4 cup quinoa flour
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup light Tzatziki
1/2 cucumber, peeled & diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup light feta, crumbled

Prepare chickpea "meat"balls - In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork. It's okay if there are a few chunks left - it doesn't have to be completely smooth.
Stir in chopped spinach, feta, egg, quinoa flour, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt & pepper until well combined.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out small meatballs onto a plastic wrap lined tray. (You can also use your hands to shape about 1 Tbsp into a ball.)

Chill for 15 minutes.
Spray a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat.
Place veggie balls into frying pan so they are not touching. Cook approximately 5 minutes on one side, then carefully flip over and continue cooking another 5 minutes or so, until both sides are browned and ball is heated through.

Assemble Pita: Spread 1 Tbsp of the Tzatziki in each pita half, being careful not to tear the pita shell.

Place 2 balls in the bottom of the pita, top with 2 Tbsp cucumber, 1 Tbsp tomato, 1 Tbsp onion, 2 more balls, the sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp feta. 
This will make 32 balls --or -- 8 sandwiches. You can, of course put more cucumber, tomato, onion, feta, Tzatziki on the pitas, this will just change the nutritional info. The measurements above are what I used to figure out the nutritional counts. 
You can also make these into a patty if you prefer.

The recipe makes 4 patties. They are prepared exactly the same way except, instead of forming into balls you shape them into patties. 
It may take a few more minutes for the patty to cook and get heated through.

The nutritional count for a patty (if you make 4 from this recipe) plus the toppings (1 Tbsp Tzatziki, 2 Tbsp cucumber, 1 Tbsp tomato, 1 Tbsp onion, 1/2 Tbsp feta), is -- 
260 calories, 26 carbs, 12 fat, and 18 protein. 
Not even lying.
Unreal, right?
Super genius? I think so.
Be sure to stop by The Chicken Chick and Carole's Chatter for some fun and tasty links!


  1. Your Greek veggie 'meat' ball pita looks so good. I am always looking for a new recipe and I only wish I had one of these to eat right now. I will try it. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick