Middle Eastern Beef and Hummus Pita Rounds

These were great for lunch or dinner.  Serves 4

Spice Mix Ingredients:
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried mint (probably optional, but good)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. olive oil, divided, plus a little more for misting the pita bread with oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup each finely chopped fresh parsley, mint, and cilantro
(use one cup of whichever herbs you have on hand if you don’t want to buy all three)
2 T lemon juice
4 low-carb or whole wheat pita bread rounds (I used Joseph’s Low-Carb Pita Bread.)
1/2 cup hummus (I used purchased hummus from Costco.)
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped cucumbers
2 T pine nuts (Slivered almonds will also be good; nuts are definitely optional.)
Sumac or Za’atar to sprinkle on the finished pita rounds if desired (Optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Finely chop the fresh parsley, fresh mint, and fresh cilantro (or whatever fresh herbs you’re using.) Chop the cucumbers and tomatoes, and have the pine nuts (or other nuts) and hummus ready, as well as the Sumac or Za’atar if you’re using it. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind together the spice mixture if you have one of those; if not you can use the individual spices without grinding them.

 

Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. (I used my favorite Green Pan.) Crumble in the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat, breaking apart with a turner, until the meat is nicely browned. Push meat to the side of the pan, add the other teaspoon of olive oil, add the onions, and cook until the onions are starting to soften. Add the spice mixture to the onions and cook a minute or so longer. Then mix the onions and browned ground beef, add the water, scrape any browned bits from the bottom or the pan, and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the meat simmer for a few minutes until all the water is evaporated. Turn off heat and stir in the chopped herbs and lemon juice.

 

While the ground beef browns, mist or brush the pita bread on both sides with a little olive oil and place the pita bread on the rack in the heated oven and toast just until the pita bread is browned and slightly crisp. This will only take about 3-5 minutes; watch it carefully.

 

Spread a thin layer of hummus on each of the toasted pita bread rounds. Sprinkle one-fourth of the ground beef and herb mixture over the hummus. Sprinkle each one with a few tablespoons each of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, sprinkle with some pine nuts or almonds, and sprinkle with Sumac or Za’atar if using. Serve hot and enjoy!
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