Alternatives to Pita Bread

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There are many alternatives to pita bread.
Image Credit: Azlin Nur Bakarudin / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

Pita bread is one of the simplest and most widely eaten versions of flat bread, with its origins dating back at least 14,000 years. Today, it's a staple item all over the world, most commonly enjoyed as a pocket version stuffed like a sandwich or ripped into pieces for scooping up dips and pinching perfect bites from a plate of mixed items.

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Thanks to its simplicity – pita is a very plain, wheat-based, oven-baked flat bread – it's very easy to come up with pita bread substitutes on those unfortunate occasions when you discover you're flat out. Many bread alternatives and other nonbread items can easily fill the same role as pita bread. Use your culinary creativity to choose the best option to fit your meal.

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Substitute Similar Flat Breads

The most obvious pita bread replacement is another type of flat bread, of which there are hundreds if not thousands all over the world. Pita bread alternatives that are the most widely available in the United States include flour tortillas, Indian chapati or naan and Middle Eastern lavash. These are all similar in flavor to pita and are made using almost identical ingredients, although their textures are slightly different. Tortillas are thinner and smoother than pita, chapati is also thinner with more bite from whole wheat and lavash is more brittle than pita.

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These flat breads do not open into a pocket shape like pitas do. Instead of stuffing them as you would a pita pocket, you'll need to arrange your sandwich fillings in the middle of the bread and fold or wrap them. These pita bread replacements can also be torn into pieces for dipping and scooping, just as you would with pita bread.

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Try Leavened Breads Instead

If you don't mind your bread substitutes veering further from the characteristics of pita, reimagine your meal or snack with any type of leavened bread you have on hand. It might make for a messier sandwich with a different vibe, but any fillings you had in mind for a pita pocket can also be layered between slices of regular sandwich bread or piled onto a bun. You can also scoop out the interior of a crusty French roll or piece of baguette to create a delicious bread alternative to a pita pocket. (Save the scooped-out bread for croutons or breadcrumbs.)

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Instead of eating dips like hummus or tzatziki with pieces of pita, toast some sourdough and cut it into long strips. Focaccia, which is usually about an inch thick, is also great for dipping; just slice it into sturdy batons.

Leafy Greens as a Pita Bread Replacement

Due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences, many people seek a pita bread alternative that is grain-free, dairy-free, low carb, low calorie or 100 percent plant-based. All these niches are filled by using leafy greens as a pita bread substitute for sandwiches and wraps. Any fillings or dips you had in mind for pita bread will also be delicious wrapped in healthy, crunchy greens.

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Choose a soft lettuce with larger leaves, such as Bibb, butter, red-leaf or green-leaf lettuce, and pull off the outer leaves carefully so they remain intact. Double up the leaves if you need a sturdier wrap. Leafy greens with large, sturdy leaves, such as collards, mustard greens and chard, are also great as a pita bread substitute. Trim the toughest parts of the stems and optionally blanch the leaves in simmering water for 10 to 20 seconds to soften them and lessen the bitter notes of raw greens.

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Make a Different Type of Meal

Instead of trying to find a pita bread substitute, it might be better to just rethink your meal and prepare it in a different way, possibly with different side dishes. Pita is rarely the main component of a meal, so skipping it and adding any other complementary food item should be easy.

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For example, if you wanted to eat a pita pocket stuffed with lettuce, grilled chicken, feta and a lemony tahini sauce, just take away the pita and turn the rest into a big salad. Double or triple the lettuce, add more crunchy vegetables and some olives and use the sauce as a dressing. Instead of serving falafel inside a pita, prepare a side of seasoned rice or another grain plus some roasted vegetables. Crackers or raw carrot and cucumber sticks with a dip is another good pita bread alternative.

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