Today’s recipe is a party in the mouth. There are so many great flavors coming together for a dish that can stand alone. Before I get to this delicious recipe, I’d like to briefly discuss carbs as they are the target of many health and diet debates lately. I have personally followed diets both high in simple carbs and very low in simple carbs; white rice, bread, even low in whole grains. Until now, where I practice a very high, mostly plant based diet and don’t think twice about adding a little bread, pizza or pasta in moderation, hence the pita in today’s recipe.
My message is to find your balance. I can’t stress the word “balance” enough here. Anyone who is active can and should have carbs of some sort in their diet. That includes, dare I say, even the processed kind. You have to look at your meals as a whole and make sure you are getting a variety of nutrient dense foods. A slice of bread or a cup of pasta isn’t going to cancel that out. Simple carbs are actually great quick fuel for your body. The problem lies in overdoing them. If you are going to go back for seconds of something, have some more protein or veggies. Whatever you do, don’t live your life thinking, “I can’t have that”, or you will end up overeating that very food later and even get anxiety when in social situations where these foods are in abundance.
Carbs or whatever foods you are avoiding are always going to be tempting and the key is to not put them in the tempting category. Let’s say you are craving pasta for dinner, make a big bowl of pasta topped with lots of fresh vegetables, some protein, even a little cheese- and enjoy it, damnit! The following day, lay off the simple carbs and opt for a large salad instead for dinner. I know my tag line for Fresh and Fit is “Eating Clean in a Dirty World”, but I’m here to tell you that even clean eaters need a dose of the dirty now and then. We aren’t robots. We should be practicing moderation and mindfulness instead of practicing complete avoidance.
Once you are freed from the cycle of constantly avoiding certain foods, you don’t have to look at eating as a “diet.” I know it is easier said than done, but try to look at eating as nutrient packed nourishment for your health and include the not-so-nutritious stuff within reason. This recipe is a good example of balance with a fresh tapenade, grilled chicken and a dollop of Greek yogurt sauce, all served on a pita. Get your balance on!
4 pita bread
2 chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 c artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 c pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 tsp garlic, minced, divided
1/4 c fresh dill, chopped
1/3, c cucumber, thinly sliced
1/3 c red onion, diced
4 small wooden skewers
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat grill to 400. Season chicken with oregano, onion powder and black pepper. Slide chunks onto skewers.
Grill chicken for 20 minutes, turning once.
While chicken cooks, combine sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke, olives and 1/2 of the minced garlic in a food processor, pulse until combined but still chunky. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, dill and the remaining garlic. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Spread tapenade over pita, top with chicken, cucumber slices and diced onion, top with yogurt sauce.