The No-Cook, 20-Minute Meal I Make At Least Once a Week

The No-Cook, 20-Minute Meal I Make At Least Once a Week

Mediterranean cuisine is my favorite, stemming from memories of gloriously long afternoons spent gossiping about the latest high school drama over huge Greek salads and pita bread.

As soon as I was old enough to drive, I would go to the “Greek restaurant” every weekend with my three closest friends. We would spend hours talking, laughing, and devouring salads. We would douse our salads with extra red wine vinegar, which they kept in little bottles on the table, until our lips turned pink from the acidity.

I often crave those classic Greek flavors: crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, creamy feta cheese, and a hint of red onion. To satisfy those cravings, I make a simple weeknight meal that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and requires no cooking. I return to it at least once a week, and I’m always deeply satisfied when I do.

I mix chickpeas with cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, feta and arugula before adding tzatziki and stuffing it all into a pita pocket. With an extra drizzle of red wine vinegar, it takes me straight back to the “Greek place.”

Sauce options

I use store-bought tzatziki to save time, and my favorite is Trader Joe's Vegan Tzatziki. It's affordable and super flavorful with cucumber chunks, fresh lemon juice, dill, and garlic. It also happens to be dairy-free. You can use hummus in place of tzatziki; I like to thin it with a little lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

If you prefer a more elaborate dressing, you can make a quick vinaigrette by mixing olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a jar. Shake, then pour over the chickpea mixture.

Simple recipes / Julie and Amy Luxemberg

How to make my Greek-inspired pitas

To serve 2 to 3 people, you will need:

  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup chopped arugula
  • 8 ounces store-bought tzatziki
  • 2 to 3 pitas, cut in half

In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, crumbled feta, arugula and tzatziki. Toss to combine.

If desired, heat the pitas in the microwave or toaster for a few minutes until warm. Cut them in half and fill each side with the chickpea mixture.

Store leftover filling in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I often make the filling ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until I'm ready to stuff it into the pitas. If I'm taking them with me (and eating them the same day), I make them from scratch and wrap them in foil. Everything keeps well in the thick pitas!

A riffable recipe

There are so many ways to customize this recipe based on your preferences and what you have in your fridge. Instead of chickpeas, you can use another bean like cannellini or any pre-cooked protein you have on hand—rotisserie chicken would be perfect.

Add vinegary elements like Kalamata olives, pepperoncini slices, or capers. Sometimes I add chopped artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Any lettuce will work in place of the arugula, and you can freshen it up with herbs like parsley or dill.

Simple recipes / Julie and Amy Luxemberg


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