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  • Writer's pictureitsjdieb

Middle Eastern Beef Pita Pockets (Arayes)

Arayes are an underrated Lebanese street food that everyone needs to have in their lives and what better way to celebrate National Pita Day than by making these Middle Eastern Beef Pita Pockets. Think about what you know about kefta, aka ground beef on skewers, but instead inside a pita pocket to enjoy like a sandwich. I know it can be intimidating to make a recipe that you've never even heard of before, but trust me when I say... it's like putting meatballs in a wrap, just Middle Eastern style. This is going to be a dinner recipe you will make on repeat.

Yields: 4

Portion: 2 each

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

This recipe is dairy free.



1 lb extra lean ground beef

½ onion, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

1 tomato, peeled, finely chopped, strained

½ jalapeño, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp seven spice

¼ tsp cumin

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

4 round pitas smaller 4 inch pitas



1. Preheat oven: preheat oven to 400F and have a cast iron ready to use later on.

2. Prep veggies: have onion, jalapeño, tomato, and parsley prepped. Add to a bowl. If you're confused about the tomato, peel back the skin, finely chop, add to a strainer and allow the water to naturally strain out while you prep the onion, jalapeño, and parsley. Once those are done, squeeze out the excess water from the tomatoes with your hands. You don't want the arayes to be liquid-y.

3. Mix beef with veggies: Mix the ground beef with the onion, tomato, parsley, and jalapeño mixture. Add in all seasonings and pomegranate molasses. Mix well using your hands, ensuring all the spices are well incorporated. If you have time, cover and allow meat to marinate in fridge overnight. If not, use now.

4. Prep pitas: cut pitas in half and open to form pockets. Add 2-3 tbsp meat into each pita pocket. Have each pocket filled entirely but don't overfill. Press the beef into the pita and flatten to ensure the filling comes all the way to the edges of the pita. Set aside. Brush olive oil onto each side of pita.

5. Grill: using a cast iron, add in 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Place each pita onto the pan and allow to sear on each side for 1 minute each.

6. Bake: take my advice - if you have an oven rack, use it because the arayes can release liquid so you don't want them to become soggy. Place them on the rack on the top of the oven. This will allow the arayes to become crisp up. Flip the arayes 10 minutes into baking.

7. Broil: After baking for 10 minutes, have the arayes broiling for a couple of minutes to get them to be even crispier.

8. Serve: serve and garnish with fresh parsley. Some choose to enjoy it with ketchup or garlic sauce. Enjoy!


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