Greek Sandwich with Roasted Vegetables and Tzatziki

Friday, March 1, 2013

Like so many of the things I make at home, this dish was inspired after enjoying Greek shish kebab sandwiches in restaurants for years. Mine isn’t a difficult recipe, though it does have a few steps and specific ingredients that you need to bring in those glorious Mediterranean flavors you’re expecting. And, of course, my version is more healthful than you’ll find in most other places, which generally use full-fat yogurt and white pita. My recipe includes nonfat Greek yogurt that you’ll flavor yourself with extra-virgin olive oil and subs in whole wheat pita for a fiber and nutrient boost. This light supper or lunch definitely fills my craving for a traditional Greek sandwich and makes a wonderful dinner when paired with a Greek salad.

Turn your oven up to 450 degrees F and let’s get cooking.

Greek Sandwiches

1. Cut a selection of vegetables into large chunks. Go for variety in color and texture for the best nutrient and culinary boost. My mix varies by season, mood, and what I have in the fridge; mushrooms are a favorite, but I didn’t have any on hand this time around. (Tofu chunks also work nicely in this recipe if you’re wanting more protein in your sandwich.) Toss the vegetables with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, and mix in crushed garlic, dried oregano, and fresh oregano if you have it. Oregano is the key. You’ll need a few teaspoons, probably, depending on how many veggies you’re cooking.Today’s late summer mix included red and green peppers, a variety of squashes, and onions. (The dill was used in the tzatziki.)

2. Roast in the oven 20-40 minutes, until cooked and nicely browned in spots. (Picture is pre-cooked. Note the amount of oregano coating the veggies.) During the summer, you can certainly grill the vegetables in true shish kebab style, if you prefer; I live in a grill-less condo. Once the vegetables start roasting, your house will be redolent of olive oil, garlic, and oregano, the warm flavors of Greek cooking.

3. Prepare tzatziki, the wonderful yogurt sauce that is the other central component to the authenticity and taste of this dish; here’s the recipe.

4. Assemble on whole grain pita of your choice. I’ve always loved the thicker, flat bread pita that I fold in my hand or eat with a knife and fork: slather some on the pita and then mound veggies directly on the bread, serving with extra sauce on the side (pictured above) or drizzled on top (pictured below). Another option is stuffing the veggies into a pocket pita, which would be fun for kids or a smaller portion.

Not much else to say other than dig in! It’s time to start making these crazy healthy sandwiches at home, and your kids will love eating them just as much as you will.

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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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