This crazy-Delicious Grilled Pita Sandwich Recipe with Chicken, Cheese, Spinach, and Artichoke is a healthy, ooey-gooey-good, easy weeknight dinner!
Get ready for a crazy-delicious grilled, stuffed pita sandwich recipe to surpass all other sandwiches! These are not your typical chicken pita pockets, they are almost like pita quesadillas. This recipe takes a grilled cheese sandwich to another level and you’ll never want a pita that isn’t seared in butter again. These Spinach Artichoke Chicken Stuffed Pitas are a perfect lunch or family dinner! If you love spinach artichoke dip, this stuffed pita will blow your mind.
Onions and garlic are sauteed with chopped artichoke hearts, then fresh baby spinach is added and cooked down with broth. Finally, shredded cheddar cheese is melted in and chicken mixed in for the perfect pita filling. If that isn’t enough….the pitas are coated in butter and seared in a pan for a crispy, crunchy, and buttery outside. As you bit through the crunchy outside, the creamy and cheesy insides ooze out for messy YUM!
You’re welcome 😉
Easy to Make Ahead!
This is an incredibly easy recipe that you can prepare entirely ahead and then just grill off before dinner. A way to make this recipe – and many other recipes – even easier, is to use precooked chicken from the deli or rotisserie or leftover chicken. Click here to get 30 More Leftover Protein Dinner Ideas
Filled with Healthy Veggies!
Ever since receiving my Certification in Nutrition and Healthy Living, I look for ways to add healthy veggies into recipes. While this recipe definitely has some indulgent cheese, it’s also packed with healthy chicken and veggies. Overall, it’s a balanced and healthy meal.
Artichokes provide fiber AND protein and are packed with nutrients, Vitamins C and K, Magnesium, Potassium, and Iron just to name a few! I love to use artichokes in salads, but also cooking them in other dishes, such as Skillet Artichoke Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes. One of my favorite appetizers to make ahead and serve to friends (or just me!) is Bruschetta Topping with Tomato, Artichoke, and Goat Cheese.
Everyone knows that spinach is good for you! It provides Vitamins A, C, and K1, as well as protein, fiber, Iron, Folic Acid, and calcium. My favorite recipes to add spinach to is Walnut Sauce with Ricotta and Spinach. I also love it in Creamy Ground Chicken Tomato Soup!
Women need, on average, 50-60 grams of protein per day, though everyone’s exact needs are determined by a variety of factors including activity level. This recipe delivers a whopping 46g of protein, so it’s a great way to get much of your daily protein needs!* Scroll down to the bottom of the post for more on the nutrition content for this recipe.
*Consult with your medical provider for your specific dietary needs.
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Simple Ingredients and Substitutes
- Chicken Breast, boneless skinless – I always have raw chicken breasts in the freezer as they can last up to 12 months if in an airtight container or packaging. Check out all of my tips on Prepping and Storing Chicken for Easier Dinners. You can substitute in Chicken tenders or skinless boneless chicken thighs.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is for the sheet pan for roasting the chicken. However, you can substitute in vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, or other neutral oil that you have.
- Salt – I use kosher salt for savory cooking, but any course salt or table salt will be fine.
- Ground Black Pepper – I used fine ground black pepper, but coarse ground would be great too. White pepper also works in this recipe.
- Yellow onion, small – You need about a ½ cup diced, so you can use medium or small onions to get to this amount. Shallots, white onions, or red onions will work as well.
- Fresh Garlic, 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 do not have fresh garlic, you can substitute dried garlic flakes or garlic powder.
- Artichoke Hearts – I used canned whole artichoke hearts stored in water. You can also use the quartered hearts in a can. Frozen artichoke hearts work great too, just thaw them before you start the recipe.
- Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves – Fresh baby spinach is the most tender and melts down wonderful in this recipe. You can use frozen spinach or frozen chopped spinach, but frozen tends to not be as tender and the chopped will have tiny pieces of spinach that will mix more into the sauce, so the look will be different. Substitutes for spinach are kale leaves or collard greens that has been sliced thin and blanched.
- Chicken Broth – Chicken stock is great too. Substitutes are vegetable broth or vegetable stock or beef broth or stock. You can also use 5 cups water with 5 bouillon cubes.
- Cornstarch – Cornstarch is mixed with cold milk to create a cornstarch slurry. This is the thickener for the stuffing. The alternative is to add 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon butter to the cooked onions and garlic, stirring to combine into a roux. Then whisk in the broth slowly and continue the recipe.
- Milk – I used 1% milk, but any milk will work, including non-dairy options. You could also use greek yogurt or sour cream for an even creamier texture.
- Shredded White Sharp Cheddar – Any mix of cheddar (white or yellow), jack, or mozzarella will work in this recipe.
- 4 Pitas, 6-inch round – Depending how much filling you add, this recipe can make 4 to 6 whole pita (or 8 to 12 half pitas). You can get 6″ or 8″ pitas. White or Whole Wheat pita bread are both great!
- Butter – I used salted butter for grilling the pitas, however, you can use olive oil or other oil. Mayonnaise also works great for grilling!
Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11) to roast the chicken and a large skillet/frying pan for making the filling. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. It comes with a glass lid, which is perfect for watching your dinner cook!
And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.
Prep for this Chicken Grilled Pita Sandwich Recipe
We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)
The first thing you want to do is cook and shred the chicken. You can save time by buying already roasted or grilled chicken. The deli will often have grilled chicken and bigger stores have rotisserie chickens. Both are great as you can simply shred them and you’re all set.
If you’re doing it from scratch, you can season with salt and pepper and bake them in a 400 F degree oven for 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-size pieces.
Next, prep the onion and garlic, as well as the artichoke hearts. Clean the spinach leaves if needed. Measure the salt and pepper.
Finally, mix 2 tbls cornstarch into ¼ cup cold milk until completely dissolved. Set aside.
Cook and Assemble the Pita Sandwich Recipe
NOTE: You can make the filling ahead and store in the fridge to fill the pitas later.
For the filling, the onions and garlic are sauteed over medium heat and then the artichoke hearts and baby spinach are added. Cook until the spinach leaves wilt down. Stir in the broth, milk & cornstarch slurry, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer stirring until it gets thick.
Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese until fully combined. Then mix in the shredded chicken. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Using scissors or a knife, cut off or slice through one side of the pita to create a hole large enough to fill the entire pita. Gently divide the filling in the pan into 4 sections to ensure each pita is filled evenly. Then using a spoon, fill the 4 pitas with the filling. Butter the outside of both sides of each pita.
TIP: Warm the pitas in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them, as warm pitas are more pliable for opening and stuffing.
Preheat a clean frying pan or grill on medium-high heat. Place pita in the pan and let sear. Cover if needed to melt the filling inside. Gently flip the pita to grill the other side. Do this for all filled pitas. Cut in half and serve!
Chicken Grilled Pita Sandwich Recipe FAQS
Yes, you can use leftovers, so make sure to always think about how to use leftover chicken ahead of time. Make one or two extra breasts so you have them on hand. You can also buy already roasted or grilled chicken. The deli counter will often have grilled chicken and bigger stores have rotisserie chickens. Both are great as you can simply shred them and you’re all set.
If you want to add more veggies or replace the chicken with veggies, then here are some great recommendations. Sliced red bell pepper or any bell peppers. Red peppers especially give a bright color pop. Mushrooms, green onions, zucchini, and carrots are all great additions. You can also add in fresh tomato slices or fresh herbs, such as fresh basil or fresh dill.
The Spinach, Artichoke, Chicken filling can be made in advance and frozen. You can then defrost it in the refrigerator. Once defrosted, make sure to remove any liquids that separated out and then stir the mixture well before adding to the pitas. You could also fill the pitas and grill/sear them, then wrap individually in aluminum foil and freeze. To reheat the stuffed pitas from the freezer, preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Take the wrapped pitas directly from the freezer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until hot in the center.
You will need to make sure that your pita bread is vegan first. Then, replace the chicken with veggies as per the question above. For the chicken broth and the milk, you can replace with vegetable broth or vegan milk, such as Soy or any nut milk. For grilling with butter, you can use any oil you prefer. Finally, eliminate the cheese or replace with a vegan version.
ENJOY! 😍 Carrie
Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!
Grilled Pita Sandwich Recipe with Chicken, Cheese, Spinach, and Artichoke
These Spinach Artichoke Chicken Stuffed Pitas are an ooey-gooey-delicious family dinner! If you love spinach artichoke dip, this stuffed pita will blow your mind. Onions and garlic, chopped artichoke hearts, and baby spinach cooked down with broth. Then shredded cheddar cheese is melted in and chicken mixed in for the perfect pita filling. Then the pitas are seared in a pan with butter for a crispy, crunchy, and buttery outside. As you bite through the crunchy outside, the creamy and cheesy insides ooze out for messy YUM!
- 12 ounces Chicken Breasts boneless and skinless
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- ½ cup Onion, diced (yellow or white onion)
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 14 ounces Artichoke Hearts packed in water
- 5 ounces Baby Spinach Leaves
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- ½ cup Milk (I used 1%)
- 8 ounces Shredded White Sharp Cheddar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Pitas, 6-inch round
- 2 Tablespoons Butter (I used salted)
Prep Ahead Steps
ROAST CHICKEN. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Put the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub with a drizzle of Olive Oil and dash of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers.
MAKE SLURRY. Mix the cornstarch into cold milk until completely dissolved. Set aside.
PREP VEGGIES. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Chop the artichoke hearts.
Cooking and Assembly Steps
MAKE THE FILLING. To a preheated large skillet on Medium-Low, add the olive oil and then the onions. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring so they don't burn. Add the garlic, artichoke hearts, and baby spinach. Cook while stirring gently for 3-4 minutes to wilt the spinach leaves. Stir in the broth, milk & cornstarch slurry, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer stirring until it gets thick. Remove from the heat.
ADD CHEESE AND CHICKEN. While off the heat, stir in the shredded cheese until fully combined. Then mix in the shredded chicken. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
FILL PITAS. Using scissors or a knife, cut off or slice through one side of the pita to create a hole large enough to fill the entire pita. Gently divide the filling in the pan into 4 sections to ensure each pita is filled evenly. Then using a spoon, fill the 4 pitas with the filling. Butter the outside of both sides of each pita.
SEAR OR GRILL PITAS. Preheat a clean frying pan or grill on medium-high heat. Add the buttered pita to the pan and let sear. Cover if needed to melt the filling inside. Gently flip the pita to grill the other side. Do this for all filled pitas. Cut in half and serve!
- To save time on the chicken, you can of course use leftovers. You can also usually find already grilled chicken at the deli counter. Or you can buy a rotisserie chicken!
- For the artichoke hearts, I used canned hearts in water. You can also use frozen, but thaw them out in the fridge the night before you use them.
- For the milk, I used 1%, but you can use any milk that you prefer.
- You can replace the cheddar cheese with manchego, jack, gruyere, gouda, or mozzarella. All will work well.
Chef Mimi says
YUM! That filling is fabulous! I could eat it any way. I only use butter even when I make quesadillas. I just love the browning and great browned butter flavor!
Why is the sodium content so outrageous?
Carrie Tyler says
Hi Ter, I hear you on the sodium, but you can certainly reduce it in this recipe. You can eliminate the salt on the chicken before roasting it and you can reduce the amount of salt added into the filling mixture. I also used Salted butter, but you can replace with unsalted butter. If you do those 3 things, you will reduce the sodium content to 963mg (42% daily value).
Please let me know if that helps!