My family and I just returned from vacation in Colorado Springs for my baby brother’s wedding. While we were there, we visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. If you are ever in the area, it is worth visiting. Nestled at the top of a mountain, there is beautiful scenery everywhere you turn. They have a great kids area with a creek to play in, splash pads and a giant tree house. While we were there, they were teaching an elephant to paint. If that’s not inspiration for teachers of stubborn students, I don’t know what is. Plus, you can hand-feed giraffes. That’s right, giraffes eat right out of your hand! (Their website has lots of fun resources for the classroom, like a giraffe cam and pictures of art by elephants and other animals.)
They also had a great little food court that, once again, overlooked the mountains. Since we went to the zoo the morning of the wedding rehearsal, and I knew we were eating a heavy gourmet buffet dinner that night, I wanted to eat a light lunch. When I saw the pita pocket bar, I was thrilled. Salad pita pockets have been my favorite go-to light lunch of the summer. I love that with every bite of salad, you also get a bite of a warm toasted pita pocket to reward you for eating your greens.
You can fill them with anything you want. These are some of my favorite flavors, so I tend to have them on hand. Don’t rush out and buy everything on the ingredient list; use your own pantry staples or favorite salad flavors to come up with a combination that you love.
And don’t keep those favorites to yourself! Leave a comment with your favorite salad pita pocket combination.
Salad Pita Pockets
- Romaine lettuce, chopped (about ¾ cup per pita halve)
- Black olives
- Roasted red peppers, chopped or sliced
- Tomatoes, diced
- Bread and butter pickles or sliced pepperoncinis
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry (or cooked chicken, chopped)
- Balsamic dressing (I like Newman’s Creamy Balsamic)
- Salt & pepper
- Pita pockets, sliced in halves
In a big bowl, toss all the salad ingredients in a bowl together with balsamic dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Toast pita pockets on both sides under the broiler until warm and soft on the inside and just barely crispy on the outside. While still warm, spread mayonnaise on the inside.
Stuff pitas with tossed salad.
Pack it for lunch:
Toss the salad in the morning before school (pre-dressing works best with heartier greens like romaine, iceberg, or kale). Pack your pita halves separately and toast them in the toaster or warm them in the microwave at school. (Grab a few extra mayo packets next time you see them at a fast-food restaurant so you never have to endure a soggy sandwich or dip into a suspicious community jar at lunch again.)
Rachel Randolph is a mom to a busy toddler boy and a wife to an even busier high school football and baseball coach. She is co-author of “We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook,” a food memoir written with her mom, and their upcoming book “Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night’s Sleep” (Zondervan, January 2015). She also blogs at www.TheNourishedMama.com and www.laughcrycook.com.