Chanie Apfelbaum's Meat Loaf-Stuffed Pitas Are a 'Kid-Friendly' Version of a Popular Street Food

The author of the Totally Kosher cookbook describes her arayes as "a juicy burger but with the crunchiest crust"

Victor Protasio
Victor Protasio

Chanie Apfelbaum encourages thinking outside the bun.

The founder of food blog Busy in Broooklyn puts her spin on arayes, a popular Middle Eastern street food.

The recipe, which can be made in the oven or on a grill pan, results in a dinner similar to "a juicy burger but with the crunchiest crust."

"I made it more kid-friendly by switching up the filling with meat-loaf-inspired flavors," she adds.

Before sharing the recipe in her latest cookbook, Totally Kosher, Apfelbaum shared her arayes on Instagram where they received tons of praise. According to the cookbook author, local pita factories sold out of pita and her DMs were flooded with loving messages from followers.

Best of all, they can be made ahead: "Fill the pita pockets the day before, cover, and refrigerate," says Apfelbaum. "Brush them with oil, and grill whenever you're ready!"

Chanie Apfelbaum's Grilled Meat Loaf-Stuffed Pitas

2 lbs. 80/20 ground beef chuck

2 large egg yolks

1 small (5-oz.) yellow onion, finely diced

⅓ cup ketchup

2 tsp. dried parsley

1½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. garlic powder

5 (6-in.) white or whole-wheat pita rounds, halved

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat a grill pan over medium high. Stir together beef, egg yolks, onion, ketchup, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl. Fill each pita half with about ½ cup beef mixture, flattening filling so that pita can stand upright with opening facing down. Brush outsides of each pita with olive oil.

2. Working in 2 batches, add pitas to hot grill pan; cook until charred and toasted on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Place pitas cut sides down, and grill until beef is charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and serve with your favorite condiments. (Alternatively, preheat oven to 400°. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in oven. When the oven reaches the correct temperature, remove baking sheet from oven, and stand pitas, openings facing down, on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until meat is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Arrange pitas, flat sides down, and bake at 400° until pitas start to brown, about 5 minutes. Flip pitas, and bake until very crispy and toasted around edges, about 5 minutes.)

Serves: 6 to 8
Active time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

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