Easy, make-ahead Pita Bread Sandwiches Recipe have Moroccan-spiced Turkey Meatballs, Hummus and lemon yogurt sauce. Delicious for lunch or dinner!
Hello, Beautiful! Yep, these are some beautiful – and irresistible I might add – Moroccan-Inspired Pitas! This Pita Bread Sandwiches Recipe starts with homemade hummus. Then add moist turkey meatballs made with warm Moroccan spices like ginger, turmeric, and coriander. Then top with creamy, fresh and bright lemon yogurt sauce.
Moroccan Meatball Stuffed Pitas are an incredibly easy recipe to make ahead so that on busy days you have an easy weeknight dinner. They are also fun to stuff and so delicious to eat. They are a great option for dinner meal planning Meatless Mondays!
The truth is, I haven’t made many Moroccan dishes, but one of the easiest ways to change up a dinner rut is to add new and different flavors. Making meatballs from ground turkey instead of beef and adding new and different spices does just that!
What Makes This Moroccan-Inspired?
So, what led me to Morocco you ask? Well, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with ginger. But when cooking with it, always find myself making some type of ginger stir fry. So I really wanted to find a new way to use it, a new cuisine other than Asian. Moroccan cuisine is known for its warm spices, one of which is ginger! And the rest, as they say, is history…or in this case, MEATBALLS! I also have a delicious Moroccan Chicken Chili with Chickpeas.
Here are other recipes with a focus on Ginger! First, my Creamy Chinese Coconut Shrimp Recipe is an easy 30-minute dinner. Golden Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe with Smoked Ham is another fantastic recipe with ginger. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Then there is my Ginger Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry with Noodles which are simple, delicious, and healthy.
Simple Ingredients and Swaps
Moroccan Turkey Meatballs
- White Meat Ground Turkey – I used white meat, free range, raised without antibiotics. You can use any lean meat, ground turkey or chicken you prefer. You can also use ground beef.
- Breadcrumbs – I used Panko breadcrumbs, but you can use any plain variety. You can also use gluten free breadcrumbs. If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can blend up crackers in a food processor.
- Egg – The egg helps to hold the meatballs together.
- Fresh Garlic cloves, minced – Fresh is best when it comes to garlic, but you can buy pre-minced garlic to save time or mince it in bulk and freeze it for use when you need it! If you don’t have fresh, you can use garlic powder or flakes.
- Fresh Ginger, minced – I love to buy the fresh root and then mince it in bulk in the food processor, so that I can freeze and always have it on. You can also buy minced ginger in a jar. You can also use ginger powder.
- Ground Turmeric – Turmeric is a warm spice that imparts a beautiful orange color. If you don’t have turmeric, you can add half the amount of ground mustard or a couple strands of bloomed saffron. Otherwise, you can simply leave it out.
- Ground Coriander – This is another common spice in Moroccan food. If you don’t have it, you can substitute with ground cumin.
- Ground Cayenne Pepper – This is for heat, so you can leave it out if you prefer. However, the recipe doesn’t have much added. You can swap in red pepper flakes.
- Fresh Parsley – The parsley helps to bring moisture, and color to the meatballs. You can substitute cilantro.
- Chickpeas, canned – I use canned for this because it’s just a lot easier. However, you can use dried chickpeas that you have soaked and then cooked.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This brings richness and helps to create a creamy texture.
- Clove Garlic – If you don’t have fresh, you can use garlic powder or flakes.
Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- Plain Greek Yogurt – if you don’t have yogurt, you can substitute sour cream.
- Lemon – Freshly zested and squeezed lemon is best. If you don’t have lemon, you can use lime or apple cider vinegar.
- Fresh Parsley – You can substitute cilantro.
Prep Steps For Your Pita Bread Sandwich
While there are a few delicious components to these beautiful stuffed pitas, it all starts with the turkey meatballs. The spices that give them that warm Moroccan flare are garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne.
To ensure that all of these spices are evenly distributed into every single meatball, I like to first mix them with the egg to create the wet mixture.
Then, I mix them into the ground turkey with the parsley and bread crumbs.
Next, roll into small 1 inch meatballs. You should get about 26 meatballs, so with 3-4 meatballs per pita, you get 7-8 half pitas stuffed! Perfect for a family of 4-5 people.
Next comes the homemade Hummus! This hummus is so simple and just lets the chickpeas do their job – taste amazing! For this recipe, put the clove of garlic, the olive oil, and water into a food processor until smooth. Then add the drained chickpeas and blend until smooth. That’s it!
The yogurt sauce is equally as easy to make! Just lemon zest, a little lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Cook this Pita Bread Sandwiches Recipe
First, cook them under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until they start to brown on top.
Then move them down to center rack and turn the oven to 375 to bake for 15 minutes. They should be golden brown from the turmeric and other spices when done.
Assemble your Pita Pocket Sandwiches!
Next, warm up the pitas in the oven and start filling. First fill the warm pitas with the hummus, add 3-4 meatballs, top with the lemon yogurt sauce, garnish with parsley and ENJOY!
Pita Bread Sandwiches Recipe FAQs
Yes, these freeze incredibly well! Place the raw meatballs on a sheet pan and then directly into the freezer to flash freeze. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a storage bag. They will keep in the freezer for 4-5 months. Then bake them in the oven 400 F degrees directly from the freezer for 30 minutes.
The meatballs in this recipe can be made with ground turkey, chicken beef, lamb, or pork.
There are several cheese options that would be great added to these pitas. You can add crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese, ricotta salata, or even parmesan.
If you want to add fresh veggies to these pita sandwiches, there are lots of options! Crunchy veggies are great for texture. You can added red onion, cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, or cucumbers, just to name a few.
If you have leftover pita bread, here are some fun ideas. Cut them up into triangle pieces, brush with olive oil and season, then bake in the oven to make homemade pita chips. You can make Greek Gyros with Tzatziki sauce. Make cucumber pita sandwiches instead of meatballs. You can fill with cheese and make a grilled cheese sandwich. Fill with chicken breast for Chicken pita pockets.Or you can make pita bread pizza.
Moroccan Meatball Stuffed Pitas
Moroccan Meatball Stuffed Pitas are filled with homemade hummus, moist turkey meatballs made with warm Moroccan spices like ginger, turmeric, and coriander, and then topped with creamy, fresh and bright lemon yogurt sauce. Easy, Fun, Delicious, and Good for You!
Moroccan Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb White Meat Ground Turkey, free range, raised without antibiotics
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 Egg
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 3 teaspoon Ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tbls Parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 can Chickpeas
- 1 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic
- ¼ cup water
Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- 5 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 Lemon
- 1 teaspoon Parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
- 4 Pita Breads, cut in half
- 2 Tbls Parsley, chopped for garnish
Mince 2 cloves garlic.
Peel and mince about 1 inch piece of ginger to get 2 tsp.
Chop 5 tbls parsley…2 tbls for the meatballs, 1 tbls for the lemon yogurt sauce, 2 for garnish.
To a small mixing bowl, add 1 egg, the 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoon minced ginger, ½ teaspoon Turmeric, 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander, ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ fresh ground pepper. Mix together thoroughly with a fork.
To a large mixing bowl, add the Ground Turkey, the egg and spice mixture, the 2 Tbls chopped parsley, and the ¾ cup bread crumbs. Using your hands or a large fork, mix to thoroughly combine.
Make small meatballs that are about an inch in diameter. Recipe makes approximately 26 meatballs. At this point, you can store them in the fridge, freeze them or cook them.
Prep-Ahead: Hummus and Yogurt Sauce
To a food processor, add 1 clove garlic, 1 tbls extra virgin olive oil, ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth. Rinse and drain 1 can of chickpeas. Add them to the food processor and blend until smooth.
Zest the entire lemon, then quarter. To a small bowl, add the yogurt, the lemon zest and the juice from 1 quarter of the lemon. Add 1 teaspoon chopped parsley. Mix and then add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Cook and Assemble
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on a large sheet pan and rub it around to coat the bottom.
Turn the oven setting to broil and place the turkey meatballs under the broiler for 5-6 minutes or just until starting to brown.
Then move down to center rack and turn oven setting back to Bake at 375 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes until internal temp reaches 165.
Wrap pitas in aluminum and put in the oven to warm for the last 10 minutes of the meatball cooking time to warm through.
Open the Pita Pocket, add the hummus, then the meatballs, top with yogurt sauce and parsley, and Enjoy!
- Can I freeze the Turkey Meatballs raw? Yes, these freeze incredibly well! Place the raw meatballs on a sheet pan and then directly into the freezer to flash freeze. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a storage bag. They will keep in the freezer for 4-5 months. Then bake them in the oven 400 F degrees directly from the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Can I make these meatballs with another meat? The meatballs in this recipe can be made with ground turkey, chicken beef, lamb, or pork.
- What cheese would be best for these pita bread sandwiches? There are several cheese options that would be great added to these pitas. You can add crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese, ricotta salata, or even parmesan.
Chef Mimi says
How fun are these?! And way better than falafels. sometimes they’re just too dry. So I prefer the idea of meatballs. Great sauce.