Arayes

30 Minute Meals

Arayes (Middle Eastern Meat-Stuffed Pita)

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Prep

10 minutes

Cook

25 minutes

Yield

6 pita halves

Arayes are a typical street food in the Middle East that are stuffed with minced meat. They are kid-friendly and delicious.

Arayes are a meat-stuffed pita that is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. They are usually stuffed with minced meat like beef or lamb, along with a combination of aromatic seasonings and spices. Think of them as a better, Middle Eastern version of a pizza pocket. These are so tasty and your whole family will love them (even the picky eaters).

❤️ Why You’ll Love Arayes

  • Easy: With a few simple ingredients you’ll have this recipe whipped up in only 35 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly: Arayes are kid-friendly and the perfect grab-and-go option for an after-school snack or quick lunch
  • Versatile: You can stuff these pitas with whatever your fav minced meat is. Add veggies, spices, herbs, whatever you want
Arayes on a plate

🧄 Ingredients

Beef – For this recipe, I used ground beef, however, you can use your favorite minced meat. Use lean ground beef for a less-fatty or greasy protein

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Mint – One of the fresh herbs in this recipe is mint and I find it gives this unique, delicious freshness to this recipe. However, you can easily swap mint for something like basil or another herb you have on hand. It’ll just give a different flavor

👩‍🍳 How to Make Arayes

  1. Make the meat filling: combine the beef, grated onion, grated garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh mint and chili flakes in a bowl and mix well with your hands or a spatula to combine.
  2. Divide the meat filling into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a semi-circle that’s just a bit smaller than half of a pita. Carefully open each pita half and put a flattened portion of meat into each. Close the pita and gently press to make the pita flat, the meat filling should be a half-inch thick.*Note: depending on the size of pita you use, you may have more or less portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed.
  3. Cook the pitas: Place a pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot add 2 pita halves and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and crispy, pressing down slightly on each side as the pita halves cook. Repeat until all pita halves have been cooked, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  4. Serve pita halves with lemon wedges for squeezing lemon juice over top, a pinch of fresh minced parsley and tzatziki sauce for dipping.
Arayes being dipped in tzatziki

🗒 Tips and Tricks

  • Depending on the size of the pita you use, you may have more or fewer portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed
  • This recipe is great for sharing! Cut the cooked pita halves in half once more and serve on a platter as an appetizer with tzatziki for dipping

🗒 Variations

  • Veggies: This can be a great recipe to hide some veggies in the minced meat stuffing and have your picky eaters gobble them up. Cut them up small or blitz them in your food processor. Things like carrots, celery, or even cauliflower can all go great into these
  • Meat: Swap the ground beef for a leaner protein like ground turkey or chicken in the recipe below
Chicken Arayes

Chicken Arayes

  • Make the meat filling: combine the feta, ground chicken, grated onion, grated garlic, salt, pepper, fresh mint, fresh basil and minced jalapeno in a bowl and mix well with your hands or a spatula to combine.
  • Divide the meat filling into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a semi-circle that’s just a bit smaller than half of a pita. Carefully open each pita half and put a flattened portion of meat into each. Close the pita and gently press to make the pita flat.
  • *Note: depending on the size of pita you use, you may have more or less portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed.
  • Cook the pitas: Place a pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot add 2 pita halves and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and crispy, pressing down slightly on each side as the pita halves cook, cooking until the chicken is done at 165F. Repeat until all pita halves have been cooked, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  • Serve pita halves with lemon wedges for squeezing lemon juice over top, a pinch of fresh minced parsley and tzatziki sauce for dipping.


🗒 Best served with

👝 How to Store Leftovers

These are best fresh but you can store leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the oven or toaster. You can also freeze these for a quick and easy lunch. Just thaw them, re-heat them, and voila!

🤔 Common Questions

What are arayes?

A classic Middle Eastern street food consisting of pita bread stuffed with spiced, minced meat and grilled or baked so they are crisp and golden on the outside.

Do I need to use fresh mint?

Fresh mint gives a unique and delicious flavor to the meat in this recipe. I’d opt for fresh vs. dried for the best flavor.

Arayes (Middle Eastern Meat-Stuffed Pita)

5 from 12 votes
Arayes are a typical street food in the Middle East that are stuffed with minced meat. They are kid-friendly and delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Inspired
Servings 6 pita halves
Calories 256 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pitas (5-6 inches in diameter), halved

For the beef filling

For serving

Variation: Chicken Arayes

  • 3 pitas (5-6 inches in diameter), halved
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 small-medium red onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • 4 tbsp minced fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 jalapeno (seeds removed), minced
  • serve with: lemon wedges, fresh basil or mint for garnish, tzatziki (use our easy greek tzatziki recipe)
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Instructions
 

  • Make the meat filling: combine the beef, grated onion, grated garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest, fresh mint, fresh basil and diced jalapeno in a bowl and mix well with your hands or a spatula to combine.
  • Divide the meat filling into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a semi-circle that's just a bit smaller than half of a pita.
  • Carefully open each pita half and put a flattened portion of meat into each. Close the pita and gently press to make the pita flat, the meat filling should be a half-inch thick.
    *Note: depending on the size of pita you use, you may have more or less portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed.
  • Cook the pitas: Place a pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot add 2 pita halves and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and crispy, pressing down slightly on each side as the pita halves cook. Repeat until all pita halves have been cooked, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  • Serve pita halves with lemon wedges for squeezing lemon juice over top, a pinch of fresh minced parsley and tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Variation: Chicken Arayes

  • Make the meat filling: combine the feta, ground chicken, grated onion, grated garlic, salt, pepper, fresh mint, fresh basil and minced jalapeno in a bowl and mix well with your hands or a spatula to combine.
  • Divide the meat filling into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a semi-circle that's just a bit smaller than half of a pita. Carefully open each pita half and put a flattened portion of meat into each. Close the pita and gently press to make the pita flat.
  • *Note: depending on the size of pita you use, you may have more or less portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed.
  • Cook the pitas: Place a pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot add 2 pita halves and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until golden and crispy, pressing down slightly on each side as the pita halves cook, cooking until the chicken is done at 165F. Repeat until all pita halves have been cooked, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  • Serve pita halves with lemon wedges for squeezing lemon juice over top, a pinch of fresh minced parsley and tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Video

Notes

  • Depending on the size of pita you use, you may have more or less portions. Simply use up the beef filling between as many pita halves as needed.
  • This recipe is great for sharing! Cut the cooked pita halves in half once more and serve on a platter as an appetizer with tzatziki for dipping.
  • If you love the flavours of this recipe you’re sure to love our Greek Meatball Recipe (Keftedes)

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.2g | Protein: 21.7g | Fat: 8.4g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 46.4mg | Sodium: 1036.1mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 1.9g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Dominic

5 stars
Honestly the best things I’ve tasted in years. Absolutely delicious. Easy to make and perfect for the big family. I made these and posted only insta and I’ve been flooded with comment asking so I’ve passed the recipe and “foodbymaria” on to everyone who’s asked. Incredible

Maria Koutsogiannis

THANK YOU SO MUCH DOMINIC!!!!!!

5 from 12 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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