The Middle Eastern flatbread got an upgrade- think a little healthier, a little tastier, and a lot prettier! This Pink Pita Bread is vegan and colored naturally using Beetroot juice. These Pitas puff up in the oven to give that famed “pita pocket”- perfect for stuffing with all kinds of goodies!
I wasn’t obsessed with Pita until I moved to the Middle East(hello Israel!).
You could say the same thing about hummus. And eggplant!
But carbs hold a special place in my heart. And fresh-out-the-oven flatbread with this cute pocket practically created for easy sandwiches, come on. Sign me up on all fronts!
There are a lot of pita bread recipes out there. BUT none of them are as pretty as this one!
Today we are making pita pink with the help of a beautiful fresh beet(you only need one!). This process is really cool and the finished dough actually stays colored really well- which isn’t always the case when dying bread. Beet juice also stains so be warned! (wear something ugly LOL).
First of all- It’s Vegan Pita!
Okay- most pita bread recipes are! The base dough for every pita recipe out there is vegan- flour, water, salt, and yeast. I almost always add some herbs for flavor. The finished product is a slightly floury surface with a soft centre airy pocket-
This recipe is actually one I have on my blog for a while now- white pita bread dough that is pan fried and infused with basil and rosemary. I changed it up quite a bit for this recipe idea. Thyme goes great with the subtle flavor added from beet, and we also swap out some white flour for rye flour.
Whole Wheat Pita
I chose Rye flour because it has a subtle, nutty flavor and great health benefits.
There is only 1/2 cup of rye flour in this recipe- rye does have different gluten-forming properties(aka it will make a different texture bread than white flour), than white flour, so it can’t be directly substituted in this recipe for white flour.
With the addition of rye flour we get nice extra flavor with the same soft textured pita dough.
Rye also makes bread last longer- and these pitas are proof! They stay nice and soft two or three days after baking.
The Puff Test
I know you’re really thinking- will my Pita puff up like that in the oven too?
The answer- if you follow the instructions and these two tips, YES!
The Oven. When you place the pita rounds in the oven, it must be preheated and very very hot. Do not turn on the oven a second before and rush to get the bread in. Properly pre-heating the oven gives the hot environment the pita needs to quickly cook the outsides of the dough so the air inside is forced to try and “escape”- creating a pocket!
The Cast Iron Pan. Okay, I should really say “the surface”, but I have truly had the best success with a cast iron pan. I use a large 10″ cast iron pan(mine is a Lodge). If you don’t have a cast iron pan you could also use a baking steel/pizza stone.
You need something oven safe that will get very hot and stay hot.
Place the cast iron/baking steel in the oven before turning it on, and let the pan heat up with the oven for 10-15 minutes. THEN when you (carefully!) add the pita into the pan and shut the oven door, you will be able to watch each and every pita puff up slowly.
The bubbles start small and then all of a sudden POP! The whole pita top will lift up. Grab a chair and bring a friend- this never gets old to watch!
Some Ideas For You
We almost always have a bag of stacked pita in the freezer or pantry. We serve Pita bread in the Middle East at barbecues instead of hamburger buns, and we make plates of olive oil and zaatar and just eat the stuff plain and fresh.
But that pocket!
It’s perfect for stuffing with sabich(fried eggplant with techie and toppings), falafel, meat, or shredded chicken like in this pita schnitzel recipe. …. happy cooking!
I hope you love this Pink Vegan Pita Bread like we do! Please come say HI on Insta to share your food photos, and comment below with a review if you make this recipe!
Pink Pita Bread-Vegan
- cast iron pan or baking steel
- 1 large beet
- 2 cup cooking water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups plus 4 TBSP white flour
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1 TBSP instant yeast
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme, fresh or dried
- 2 cups beetroot juice
- Peel the beet and cut it into cubes. Steam the beet cubes for 15 minutes to soften them. (I use a bamboo steamer fitted with a piece of parchment paper, with 1.5 cups of water in the pot/pan underneath.
- Carefully add the steamed beets to a blender along with 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 cups of the cooking liquid- which should be lightly colored from the beets steaming above it. If you do not have enough cooking liquid, use water.
- Blend the beets until pureed, about a minute and a half. Strain the pulp over a measuring cup. Use a cheesecloth or small strainer for this. Discard or compost the pulp- reserve the beet juice.
Make the Pita dough
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add 2 TBSP of the olive oil. Add the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, thyme, and 2 cups of beetroot juice.
- If mixing by hand, mix with a spatula for 5 minutes, folding the dough over itself and scooping it up again from the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture is slightly less sticky and all the olive oil and flour is combined in. If using the stand mixer, mix o medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky! DO NOT ADD FLOUR!
- Oil a seperate bowl and oil your hands as well. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
- Place a cast iron pan or baking steel/pizza stone, in the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F/ 240 degrees Celsius.
- Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Set a non stick mat on the side. Divide the dough into about 25 pieces, each 40 grams. You can use a scale or just eyeball it- they dont have to be perfect!
- Using your fingers, press each piece of dough out into a small circle and sprinkle with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece out into a circle the size of the pita you want- i go for a circle a bit larger than the palm of my hand.
- Make sure the oven has been preheated for at least 15 minutes.
- Place as many pitas as will fit in the cast iron(mine fit two at a time), or on the baking steel.
- Shut the oven and leave the pita to cook for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, about. After a minute- 2 minutes the pitas will start bubbling and puff up, giving us the pocket of air we love! After they puff, let them finish baking, and remove carefully with tongs to cool.
- Enjoy warm or at room temp. To store keep the pita in an airtight container or bag in a cool place in the kitchen(on the counter or in the pantry) for up to 3 days after baking.
- To freeze let the pitas cool and place in an airtight bag, with a paper towel inside to collect any condensation. Place in the freezer for up to a couple weeks.