Crispy, flaky Pita Packets with Broccoli and Tofu are a health nut’s dream. And a kid’s. And if you thought those two were incompatible, well, think again.
It seems almost wrong that something made with leftovers should taste so good, but it does, oh it does. I had a ton of pita dough sitting in the refrigerator after making dinner for our friends Sakura and Cliff who were visiting from Australia. And I had some very simple sauteed greens sitting in the refrigerator from a meal I made for Jay to go with the perennial dal-rice (yes, the obsession continues). Thinking of a way to use up these two leftover ingredients, and some broccoli that was beginning to, ahem, age a little, I came up with these Pita Packets.
The filling for these Pita Packets– little calzones, really, made with pita dough, not unlike my Keema-Stuffed Naan-Calzones — is made with tofu and shredded broccoli. A few simple spices flavor these two ingredients– not usually at the top of any kid’s “yummy” list– so well that their little mouths will never know what they are eating. All they will know is that it’s delicious.
You don’t have to have leftovers to make these, of course. It’s worth making the pita dough and the sauteed greens and the tofu-broccoli filling because you’re going to love these — a lot.
Here’s the recipe, and happy eating!
- For the Pita Packet covers:
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- For the Broccoli-Tofu filling:
- 1 medium head of broccoli, shredded in a food processor or minced
- 1 12- oz package of extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- Salt to taste
- For the sauteed greens:
- 1 12- oz package of frozen greens (I used a mix of spinach and kale, but you can go with either)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or 2 dry red chilies-- if using whole chilies, remove after cooking and before you use it in the filling
- Salt to taste
- Make the pita dough:
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Let the yeast stand five minutes to activate, then add the whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour.
- Mix well and let the dough-- which is a starter dough at this point and very loose-- stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining all-purpose flour, half a cup at a time, until you have a fairly stiff dough. Knead another five minutes in the stand mixer or about eight minutes by hand until the dough is quite smooth.
- Spray a large bowl with oil, place the dough in it, turn around once to coat with oil, cover with a kitchen towel or a plastic bag, and let the dough stand in a warm place for about 2 hours or until it has doubled.
- Once it has doubled, punch it down and divide it into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll them until smooth and then cover with a kitchen towel and let them stand another 10 minutes so the dough relaxes.
- Make the broccoli-tofu filling;
- Heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for another minute.
- Add the coriander and cumin powders and cayenne. Stir well to mix, then add the shredded broccoli.
- Sprinkle some salt and let the broccoli cook, stirring fairly frequently, until it's quite tender. You want to let any moisture in the saute pan evaporate.
- Crumble the tofu into the broccoli, making sure there are no large pieces. Stir to mix. Let any moisture added by the tofu evaporate, add salt, and turn off heat. Set the filling aside.
- Make the sauteed greens:
- Heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, and when they sputter, add the red pepper flakes.
- Add the thawed, frozen greens and stir to mix. Sprinkle on some salt, cover, and let the greens cook over a medium-low flame until they are thoroughly cooked. Spinach will take just a few minutes, kale will take a little longer, but it's really up to you to leave it as chewy as you like or let it cook longer until tender. Check salt and add more if needed.
- Assemble and bake the Pita Packets:
- Take one of the balls made from the pita dough and roll it into a circle, about four to five inches in diameter. You want it to be fairly thin.
- Place a couple of tablespoons (or more if you wish) of the tofu-broccoli filling in the center and top with some of the sauteed greens.
- Brush some water along the edges of the circle and fold one half over the other to form a semicircle (like a calzone). Press the edges together to seal and crimp with a fork.
- Place the pita packets on a baking sheet sprayed or brushed with oil. Spray or brush the tops of the pita packets with a little more oil to ensure they get crisp and look pretty.
- Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove to a rack, let the packets cool about five minutes, then serve hot with some chutney.