Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini – Recipe

Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini
Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini

Good pita bread (usually from Basson Bakery) is a staple in our house, which sometimes means we end up with a few stale loaves. I’ve gotten in the habit of tearing them into bite sized pieces, fry-toasting them in olive oil, then garnishing them with whatever is to hand for one of those late night snacks that an uncharitable person might call a good-sized meal.

This dish is infinitely malleable. Change the beans to chickpeas if you like, or change the vegetable to cauliflower. Heck, change the pita bread to corn tortillas and you are well on your way towards chilaquiles. Speaking of which, a fried egg on top is a completely valid option.

If you don’t have harissa on hand, let me commend Mustapha’s harissa to you. It is hot, yes, but also has a fantastic citrusy complexity to it. I use it constantly.

And from the way-back machine, here’s a very different take on pan-fried pita, with warm grapes and ricotta salata.

Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini
Vegetarian and vegan
Serves 1 as a hearty one-pot meal, multiply as needed

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 1 pita bread (slightly stale is fine), torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced marinated green olives, preferably a Middle eastern style
  • 1/2 cup cooked fava or garbanzo beans
  • 2 teaspoons harissa (less if you aren’t into heat)
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Minced parsley
  • Zucchini blossoms, chiffonade (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in, say, an 8″ skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the torn bread and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the bread is browned in a fair number of spots. Remove to a plate. 
  2. Add a bit more oil if needed, then add the garlic and zucchini and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is browning in spots. Add the marinated olives, fava beans, harissa, and a bit of water (so it is just slightly saucy). Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and integrated, maybe 3 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Loosen with a bit more water if needed but you are about to add the bread back, and you don’t want to make it soggy.
  3. Return the bread to the skillet and toss through. Transfer to serving bowl.
  4. Garnish with plenty of additional good olive oil, the cherry tomatoes, parsley, and the zucchini blossoms if using.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 in Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

12 Responses to “Fried Pita Bread with Fava Beans and Zucchini – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    August 20, 2013 at 8:12 am #


    I’ll definitely try the fava beans with fried pita. Do you have any Tanzanian recipes? I’ll be traveling there in the fall and would like to prepare my taste buds! I’ve found East African recipes, but not too much luck with Tanzania.

    Thanks a lot, Nancy

    • Reply
      August 20, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      I wish I did! Totally ignorant of Tanzanian food.

  2. Reply
    August 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    This looks so amazing. I don’t use fava beans nearly enough

  3. Reply
    August 26, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Great recipe!! I tried to do it this weekend, It definitely didn’t look as the one in the picture, but it tasted delicious!!

  4. Reply
    August 27, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Always good to know that I’m not the only one whose late-night snacks border on good-sized meals! 😀 And, yes – this would be excellent late-night noshing. In truth, I’d be overjoyed to eat this anytime, breakfast included! Amazing combination of flavors – just gorgeous! Lucky me – I have some stale pita bread and a zucchini in my fridge at this very moment!

  5. Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe! I love zucchini!

  6. Reply
    Anne Campbell
    September 3, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    Tried this over the weekend, and it was FABULOUS. I used chickpeas, and instead of plain water, I used about half a cup of tomato water that I had on hand from draining some chopped, roasted fresh tomatoes. The extra tomato flavor married everything together. What a great quick dinner!

    • Reply
      September 3, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      I love your additions, they sound perfect!

  7. Reply
    September 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I love this Fava Beans and Zucchini. Looks very yummy to taste. thanks for sharing.

    Christina Morales

  8. Reply
    September 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    I’ve been itching to make this since you first posted the recipe. Finally got around to it tonight and it was amazing! The dish came together really quickly and was incredibly satisfying. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks so much!

  9. Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Michael, Love the fact that you mentioned Basson Bakery pita! My husband owns the bakery and I thought I had tried every way possible to prepare pita. You gave me a new idea! Kudos to you.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      Well that’s pretty cool! If you try it, let me know what you think.

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