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Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce Recipe

This is an exciting recipe that blends the flavors of the Middle East with a spicy twist. It's an easy-to-cook dish that is both filling and nutritious. The pockets are made of pita bread, filled with a mixture of lentils and chicken, and then drizzled with a tangy tahini sauce. The spiciness comes from the Tabasco sauce that is mixed with the lentils. It's a versatile recipe that can be enjoyed for lunch, dinner, or as a snack.

Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce Recipe
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This recipe requires a few ingredients that might not be readily available in your pantry. You need to get lentils, bulgur, and tahini. Lentils are a type of pulse, rich in protein and fiber. Bulgur is a whole grain, usually used in Middle Eastern cuisine, it adds a nice texture to the filling. Tahini is a creamy paste made from sesame seeds, it's a key ingredient in the sauce, providing a rich and nutty flavor. Lastly, Tabasco sauce is a hot sauce made from tabasco peppers, vinegar, and salt. It adds a spicy kick to the lentils.

Ingredients for Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets with Tahini Sauce

lentils: These are high in protein and fiber, making them a great meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes.

onion: Adds a layer of flavor to the lentils and bulgur mixture.

olive oil: Used for sautéing the onion and lentils.

salt: Enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients.

bay leaf: Gives a subtle depth to the taste of the lentil and bulgur mixture.

bulgur: A whole grain that adds a hearty texture to the filling.

tabasco sauce: Gives the lentil mixture a spicy kick.

tahini: A creamy paste made from sesame seeds that gives the sauce a rich, nutty flavor.

garlic: Adds a pungent flavor to the tahini sauce.

lemon juice: Gives the tahini sauce a tangy zing.

plain yogurt: Adds creaminess to the tahini sauce.

pitas: Used as the pocket for the filling.

chicken: Adds protein to the dish. The chicken is cooked and shredded before being added to the pita pockets.

tomatoes: Adds a juicy freshness to the pita pockets.

romaine lettuce: Gives a crunchy texture to the pita pockets.

One reader, Brande Cecil says:

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This spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets with tahini sauce recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the tahini sauce adds a delightful creaminess. The combination of tender chicken, hearty lentils, and zesty tabasco sauce is simply irresistible. It's a must-try for anyone who loves bold, delicious flavors!

Brande Cecil

Techniques Required for Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

How to cook lentils and bulgur: Simmer the lentils and bulgur in a saucepan with water, onion, olive oil, salt, and bay leaf until they are tender and fully cooked.

How to make tahini sauce: Whisk together tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and yogurt in a bowl until smooth and well combined.

How to warm pitas: Wrap the pitas in aluminum foil and warm them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.

How to assemble pita pockets: Cut the top third off each pita, then spoon lentil mixture into each pita, add chicken, tomatoes, and lettuce, and drizzle with tahini sauce.

How to serve with wine: Pair the dish with a chenin blanc or a white zinfandel from California to complement the flavors.

How To Make Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce

Sink your teeth into these loaded spicy and tangy pita pockets, that are filled with tender chicken, fresh vegetables, and earthy lentils, for a tasty meal!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes



  • 1cupdried lentils
  • ½onion
  • cupswater,plus 6 tbsp
  • 1tbspolive oil
  • tspsalt
  • 1bay leaf
  • ½cupbulgar,coarse
  • tsptabasco sauce
  • ½cuptahini
  • 2garlic cloves
  • 5tsplemon juice
  • 1cupplain yogurt
  • 8pitas
  • 1chicken,roasted
  • 2large tomatoes
  • 1headromaine lettuce


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, onion, the 2¾ cups of water, the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf.

  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the bulgar and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 12 more minutes, until the lentils and bulgar are just done.

  4. Remove from the heat, then stir in the Tabasco sauce. Let sit, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the onion and the bay leaf.

  5. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the tahini, the remaining 6 tablespoons of water, the garlic, the lemon juice, the remaining 1½ teaspoons of salt and the yogurt.

  6. Wrap the pitas in aluminum foil. Warm them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

  7. Cut the top third off of each pita. Spoon ¼ cup of the lentil mixture into each pita.

  8. Divide half the chicken and tomatoes among the pitas and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Top with half the lettuce. Repeat.

  9. Serve with the remaining sauce, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 1415.23kcal
  • Fat: 70.49g
  • Saturated Fat: 17.53g
  • Trans Fat: 0.29g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 28.31g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 18.82g
  • Carbohydrates: 114.16g
  • Fiber: 21.50g
  • Sugar: 9.53g
  • Protein: 88.94g
  • Cholesterol: 232.96mg
  • Sodium: 2175.52mg
  • Calcium: 344.94mg
  • Potassium: 1946.75mg
  • Iron: 13.69mg
  • Vitamin A: 857.93µg
  • Vitamin C: 28.29mg

Helpful Technique for Making Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

When preparing the lentils and bulgar, ensure that they are cooked just until they are done and not overcooked. Overcooking these ingredients can result in a mushy texture that won't hold up well in the pita pockets. Additionally, when warming the pitas in the oven, wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them from drying out and becoming brittle. This will ensure that your pitas are soft and pliable, making them easier to fill and eat.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables, marinate meat, and cook grains in advance to save time during meal prep.

One-pot wonders: Opt for recipes that can be cooked in a single pot or pan to minimize cleanup and save time.

Batch cooking: Prepare large quantities of ingredients and freeze them in portions for quick and easy meal assembly later.

Kitchen organization: Keep your kitchen well-organized to easily locate ingredients and cooking tools, saving time and reducing stress during meal preparation.

Efficient multitasking: Plan your cooking process to maximize efficiency by working on multiple tasks simultaneously, such as chopping vegetables while a sauce simmers.

Substitute Ingredients For Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce Recipe

  • lentils - Substitute with canned chickpeas: Canned chickpeas can be used as a substitute for lentils to add a different texture and flavor to the dish. They also provide a good source of protein and fiber.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for onions to add a milder and slightly sweeter flavor to the dish.

  • bulgur - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa can be used as a substitute for bulgur to provide a gluten-free option and add a nutty flavor to the dish.

  • tabasco sauce - Substitute with sriracha: Sriracha can be used as a substitute for tabasco sauce to add a similar level of spiciness and tangy flavor to the dish.

  • tahini - Substitute with peanut butter: Peanut butter can be used as a substitute for tahini to add a creamy and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • yogurt - Substitute with coconut yogurt: Coconut yogurt can be used as a substitute for regular yogurt to provide a dairy-free option and add a hint of coconut flavor to the dish.

  • pitabread - Substitute with naan bread: Naan bread can be used as a substitute for pita bread to add a softer and slightly chewy texture to the dish.

  • chicken - Substitute with tofu: Tofu can be used as a substitute for chicken to provide a vegetarian or vegan option and absorb the flavors of the dish.

  • tomatoes - Substitute with bell peppers: Bell peppers can be used as a substitute for tomatoes to add a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

  • romaine lettuce - Substitute with baby spinach: Baby spinach can be used as a substitute for romaine lettuce to add a different leafy green and provide a slightly earthy flavor to the dish.

Presenting Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

  1. Elevate the pita pockets: Gently warm the pitas to enhance their aroma and texture, ensuring they are soft and pliable for the perfect bite.

  2. Create a vibrant and colorful plate: Arrange the pita pockets on the plate in a visually appealing manner, ensuring that the vibrant colors of the ingredients are showcased.

  3. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Skillfully drizzle the tahini sauce over the pita pockets, creating an artistic and appetizing presentation.

  4. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a touch of freshness and color to the dish by garnishing with finely chopped parsley or mint, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

  5. Focus on precision and symmetry: Pay attention to the placement of each component, ensuring that the presentation is precise and symmetrical, reflecting attention to detail.

  6. Highlight the textures: Showcase the different textures of the dish by layering the ingredients thoughtfully, creating an enticing visual and sensory experience.

  7. Use elegant serving platters: Present the pita pockets on elegant and sophisticated serving platters, adding a touch of refinement to the overall presentation.

  8. Emphasize the balance of flavors: Ensure that the presentation reflects the harmonious balance of spicy, savory, and tangy flavors, enticing the senses before the first bite.

Essential Tools for Making Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It's great for making sauces, dips, and grinding nuts or seeds.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is an essential kitchen tool used for combining ingredients, marinating, and mixing batters or doughs. It comes in various sizes and materials such as stainless steel, glass, or ceramic.
  • Saucepan: A saucepan is a deep cooking vessel with a handle and often a lid, used for cooking sauces, soups, boiling liquids, and simmering. It's a versatile tool for stovetop cooking.
  • Chef's knife: A chef's knife is a multipurpose knife with a broad blade that tapers to a point, allowing for rocking the knife for fine mincing. It's used for chopping, slicing, and dicing a variety of ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients. It helps protect countertops and keeps knives sharp.
  • Oven: An oven is a kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and heating food. It's essential for cooking a wide range of dishes.
  • Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is a versatile kitchen item used for wrapping, covering, and lining pans during cooking or baking. It helps in retaining moisture and heat.
  • Whisk: A whisk is a kitchen utensil used for blending, whipping, and beating ingredients such as eggs, sauces, and batters. It incorporates air into mixtures and helps achieve smooth textures.
  • Skillet: A skillet, also known as a frying pan, is a flat-bottomed pan with sloping sides, used for frying, searing, and sautéing ingredients. It's a versatile tool for stovetop cooking.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are used for accurately measuring ingredients such as flour, sugar, and liquids. They ensure precision in recipes and help maintain consistency in cooking and baking.

Storing and Freezing Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

  • To store leftover spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 3-4 days.
  • If you have leftover tahini sauce, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days. Give it a good stir before using it again, as the ingredients may separate over time.
  • To freeze the pita pockets, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Place the wrapped pita pockets in a freezer-safe bag or container, label it with the date, and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  • When you're ready to eat the frozen pita pockets, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
  • It's not recommended to freeze the tahini sauce, as the texture and consistency may change after thawing. It's best to make the sauce fresh when you're ready to serve the pita pockets.

How To Reheat Leftover Pita Pockets

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Wrap the leftover pita pockets in aluminum foil and place them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are heated through and slightly crispy on the outside.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the pita pockets in a toaster oven. Place them on the toaster oven tray and heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are warmed through and slightly crispy.

  • If you prefer a softer texture, you can wrap the pita pockets in damp paper towels and microwave them for about 30-45 seconds, or until they are heated through.

  • For the tahini sauce, you can reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warmed through. If the sauce has thickened, you can add a little water or lemon juice to thin it out to your desired consistency.

  • If you have stored the lentil mixture separately, reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through. You may need to add a little water or olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan.

  • Once the pita pockets, tahini sauce, and lentil mixture are heated through, assemble the pockets by spooning the lentil mixture into each pita, dividing the chicken and tomatoes among the pitas, and drizzling each with the tahini sauce. Top with fresh lettuce for added crunch and freshness.

  • If you want to add some extra flavor and heat to your leftover pita pockets, you can sprinkle some red pepper flakes or hot sauce over the filling before serving.

Interesting Fact About Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

The recipe for spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets with tahini sauce is a great source of protein and fiber. Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein and are high in fiber, which can help with digestion and promote a feeling of fullness. Additionally, tahini, made from sesame seeds, is a good source of healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and iron. This combination of ingredients makes the dish not only delicious but also nutritious and satisfying.

Is This Recipe Budget-Friendly for Home Cooking?

This spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets with tahini sauce recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The combination of lentils and chicken provides a good source of protein, while the use of tabasco sauce and tahini adds depth of flavor without breaking the bank. The recipe's versatility and use of affordable, readily available ingredients make it a budget-friendly option. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate it an 8 for cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20-$25, making it an economical and satisfying meal choice.

Is This Spicy Chicken and Lentil Dish Healthy?

The spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets with tahini sauce recipe is a relatively healthy dish with a good balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional aspects:

  • Lentils and bulgar provide a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, which can help with digestion and satiety.
  • Chicken is a lean protein source, contributing to the overall protein content of the dish.
  • Tahini, made from sesame seeds, is rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Yogurt adds a good source of calcium and probiotics, which can benefit gut health.
  • Vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce provide vitamins, minerals, and additional fiber.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of salt, which could be reduced to lower the sodium content.
  • Olive oil is used in the lentil mixture, but the quantity could be slightly decreased to reduce the overall calorie count.
  • The pitas are a source of carbohydrates, which may not be ideal for those following a low-carb diet.

To make the recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of salt used in the lentil mixture and tahini sauce, or replace some of it with herbs and spices for added flavor.
  • Use whole wheat pitas instead of regular pitas to increase the fiber content and provide a slower release of carbohydrates.
  • Add more vegetables to the pita pockets, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, or carrots, to increase the nutrient density and fiber content of the dish.
  • Opt for low-fat or non-fat yogurt in the tahini sauce to reduce the calorie and fat content without compromising on the creamy texture.
  • Grill or bake the chicken instead of frying it to reduce the amount of added fats.
  • Include a side salad with mixed greens and a light vinaigrette to add more vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the meal.

Editor's Opinion on These Flavorful Pita Pockets

The spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets with tahini sauce recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. The combination of tender chicken, hearty lentils, and zesty tahini sauce creates a satisfying and flavorful dish. The addition of tabasco sauce adds a spicy kick, while the creamy yogurt and tahini sauce provide a cooling contrast. The recipe's use of warm pita pockets as a vessel for the filling adds a comforting and convenient element. Overall, this recipe offers a well-balanced and satisfying meal that is sure to please the palate.

Enhance Your Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for balancing out the spicy chicken and lentil pita pockets.
Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Colorful and flavorful grilled vegetable skewers, adding a healthy and vibrant element to the meal.
Fruit Salad with Citrus Dressing: A refreshing and tangy fruit salad with a citrus dressing, providing a sweet and zesty contrast to the spicy flavors of the pita pockets.

Similar Recipes to Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Curry: This flavorful and aromatic curry is packed with lentils, vegetables, and a blend of spices that will warm you up on a chilly evening.
Grilled Steak and Mango Salad: Juicy grilled steak paired with sweet and tangy mango slices, served over a bed of fresh greens and drizzled with a zesty vinaigrette.
Coconut Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers: Tender shrimp marinated in coconut milk and grilled to perfection, then skewered with sweet pineapple chunks for a tropical twist on a classic dish.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Spicy Chicken and Lentil Pita Pockets

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your taste buds with these delectable savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Indulge in these crispy zucchini fritters, served with a refreshing yogurt dipping sauce for a delightful start to your meal.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a savory meal.
Berry Parfait: Layered with fresh berries, creamy yogurt, and crunchy granola, this berry parfait is a delightful combination of textures and flavors. It's a light and refreshing dessert that's perfect for a warm summer day.

Why trust this Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, combining the wholesome goodness of lentils and chicken with the zing of tabasco sauce and the creamy richness of tahini sauce. The use of bulgur adds a satisfying chewiness, while the homemade tahini sauce brings a touch of Mediterranean charm. With the added freshness of tomatoes and lettuce, these pita pockets promise a satisfying and flavorful meal. The wine recommendation further demonstrates the attention to detail and the desire to enhance the overall dining experience.

Want to share your experience making these Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils and Tahini Sauce? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out!
What type of lentils should I use for this recipe?
You can use any type of lentils for this recipe, but I recommend using brown or green lentils as they hold their shape well and have a slightly nutty flavor that complements the dish.
Can I substitute the chicken with a vegetarian option?
Absolutely! You can substitute the chicken with grilled tofu, chickpeas, or even roasted vegetables for a delicious vegetarian alternative.
Is there a gluten-free option for the pita pockets?
Yes, you can use gluten-free pita bread or opt for lettuce wraps if you prefer a gluten-free option.
Can I make the tahini sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the tahini sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just give it a good stir before using it in the recipe.
How spicy is the dish with the Tabasco sauce?
The spiciness level can be adjusted to your preference. Start with a smaller amount of Tabasco sauce and adjust according to your taste. You can also use a milder hot sauce if you prefer less heat.

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