There’s a certain caveman-like pleasure I get when I can eat a meal with no silverware at all, just picking up the food with my hands and digging in. The problem is a lot of those foods, like pizza, fried chicken and burgers can be pretty high in calories. This California Avocado Chicken Burger in a Pita Pocket recipe with Tzatziki (ready in just 30 minutes!) is a great option for a whole meal that is less than 500 calories yet I can still pick it up in my hands and sink into flavor heaven. Plus the dish has 42 g protein and 9 g dietary fiber, with chicken, whole grains, fruit and veggies in one neat package.
First, make some tzatziki, a Greek yogurt dip that combines plain nonfat yogurt (you could use nonfat Greek yogurt too), finely grated cucumber, some fresh mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you’re pressed for time you could buy pre-made tzatziki, but I like how the fresh cucumber and mint sing with flavor so I usually make my own. I also prep the topping ingredients in advance so when the chicken burger pita pocket is ready to toppings are at hand.
Next, make the chicken burger patties. This juicy, grilled chicken pita recipe starts with ground chicken breast to keep it nice and lean, with reduced fat feta cheese stirred in for added moisture and flavor. I also like to stir in minced red onion, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and the seasoned patties end up with the aroma and taste of chicken lula kabob. I form the mixture into ½-inch thick patties, making sure not to compact the ground meat. Never over mix your ground meats or you will end up with dense and heavy hockey puck-like patties.
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and cook the patties about 3 to 4 minutes per side. You can also cook them on a grill over medium heat, which is my preference. They smell so good when cooking that it’s tempting to rush them and dig in, but make sure the centers of the patties reach 165 degrees F. Sometimes if I’m really in a hurry I make 8 mini burger patties instead of 4 regular size patties because the mini burgers cook quite a bit faster.
Now the grilled chicken patties go into the pita pocket. To make the pockets you just cut a strip about 1-inch wide off of each pita, then carefully open to create a pocket. Place the patties in the pita pockets, then it is topping time: slices of creamy California Avocados, cucumbers, red onions, halved grape tomatoes (or diced tomatoes) and more feta cheese.
Then top the chicken pita sandwich with some tzatziki sauce and opa! Enjoy.
CALIFORNIA AVOCADO CHICKEN BURGERS IN A PITA POCKET
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 480
Fat per serving: 15 g
Take your taste buds on a Greek vacation with these delicious chicken burgers stuffed in pita pockets and topped with veggies, creamy Fresh California Avocados and homemade tzatziki.
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese, divided
¼ cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper
½ English cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 ripe, medium Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
4 whole wheat pita breads
Tzatziki (recipe follows)
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
½ cup finely grated cucumber
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper
Prepare the Tzatziki by combining all ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, ½ cup of crumbled feta, minced red onion, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Divide the mixture into equal portions, shaping each into 1/2-inch thick burgers.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray. Add the burgers to the pan, cook 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until the burgers are cooked through completely.
Cut a strip off of each pita to create a pocket. Place one burger into each pita pocket. Top each with cucumber, red onion, avocado, grape tomatoes, and the remaining crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle each with Tzatziki.
Nutrition information per serving Calories 480; Total Fat 15 g (Sat 5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2 g, Mono 5 g); Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 1290 mg; Potassium 1000 mg; Total Carbohydrates 47 g; Dietary Fiber 9 g; Total Sugars 4 g; Protein 42 g; Vitamin A 998 IU; Vitamin C 20 mg; Calcium 190 mg; Iron 3 mg; Vitamin D 6 IU; Folate 79 mcg; Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.11 g
% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 20%; Vitamin C 35%; Calcium 20%; Iron 20 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.