Photo by Tom McCorkle and food styling by Gina Nistico; for The Washington Post
For these pita pizzas, chickpeas are mashed with olive oil and lemon juice just enough to come together, then seasoned with a generous amount of za’atar and piled onto pita bread along with tangy feta cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes and shredded mozzarella. They are baked until the bread is crisped, the cheese is melted and the fragrance of the herbs is unleashed, before being showered with fresh parsley. The result is a meal that’s simple and healthful, yet brimming with exciting flavor.
Za’atar-Spiced Chickpea Pita Pizzas
Two (15-ounce cans) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons za’atar (see NOTE)
Kosher salt (optional)
Four (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 cup (6 ounces) quartered grape tomatoes
2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the lemon juice, then use a fork or a potato masher to mash the chickpeas coarsely, until about half of them are broken down and the mixture comes together. Stir in the za’atar. Taste and season with salt, if desired (depending on the salt content of the za’atar you are using).
Place the pita onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and brush the top side of each with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Mound about a quarter of the chickpea mixture onto each pita, then sprinkle each with the feta, then the tomatoes and then the mozzarella cheese.
Place in the oven, and roast for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread has crisped. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
NOTE: Za’atar blends vary widely in sodium content and the amount is not always clearly listed. Try to find a brand with no added salt, or with a low-sodium content where salt is one of the last ingredients on the ingredient list. Alternatively, you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each dried oregano and dried thyme plus 1 teaspoons each toasted sesame seeds and lemon zest for the za’atar in this recipe.
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 pita pizza per serving
Per Serving: Calories 497; Total Fat 19g (Sat Fat 5g); Protein 21g; Carb 65g; Fiber 13g; Cholesterol 21mg; Sodium 595mg: Sugars 7g