Put It On a Pita

When we daydream about shawarma—which is most days—we always picture it cradled in a warm and welcoming rolled pita. Pita, the go-to vessel for shawarma, has a treasured history in the Mediterranean and Middle East, making it the ideal match for these must-have meats.

Historians estimate pita was a prominent part of the B.C.E. food scene about 4,000 years ago. It was a common delicacy amongst those on the western Mediterranean coast and traders in the Arabian and Saharan regions.

Over the years, it has continued to be a serving staple in these areas. It’s a versatile vehicle. Pita 101, you can start by dipping into hummus or tzatziki, posing it as a simple side or as part of a platter. On the streets, it’s known to swaddle shawarma or roll around gyro meat and fixings. The flatbread style takes a few different forms (and names) in different parts of the world. In Turkey, pide is a close relative to the pita we all know and love, and the flatbread family tree branches out to other familiar favorites like naan and flour tortillas. 

Rolled, stuffed or flat, pita is the perfect pairing for shawarma, providing tasty and transportable means of eating. The bread soaks in some of the flavors, but never too much where it falls apart or become soggy. It’s a little like your favorite blanket, always there to keep you warm, protected and cozy.

Want to take a crack at your own pita? Check out America’s Test Kitchen how-to on a chewy, tender pita bread. It’ll pair perfectly with this month’s Shawarma Spice Blend.


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