Sponsored Post: We’ve teamed up with Farm Promise to bring you versatile recipes featuring their wholesome, delicious pork raised to not only sustain us, but the land too.
These grilled pork pitas with garlic-y toum sauce make an awesome and unexpected weeknight dinner, and the leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day.
This recipe for pork kebab pitas with toum is a mashup of a few similar sandwiches that hail from various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. All throughout the region you can find different versions of grilled, marinated meats wrapped in pitas and slathered with a pungent garlicky sauce. There are gyros, souvlaki, doner, shawarma kofta, and kebab just to name a few. They’re all very similar, but each has its own unique qualities, and more importantly, they’re all incredibly delicious.
Here I’ve combined a few different techniques and ingredients to create a pita sandwich that tastes even better than it looks. Let’s break it down:
First let’s talk about the star of the show – the meat. I chose to use pork here for a few different reasons. Pork is actually the most traditional meat used on a gyro (contrary to what we see here in the states), but I chose it for it’s flavor. Recently I started buying a new brand of pork called Farm Promise at my local Shoprite, and it’s some of the best pork I’ve had in a long time.
Farm Promise pork is raised by family farmers that pride themselves on humanely raising healthy pork without ever using antibiotics, hormones, or growth promotants. Farm Promise makes cleaner food not only accessible in my area, but they also make it affordable, and that’s something to really be happy about.
I cut a Farm Promise pork loin into big chunks, then let them marinate in lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, red onion, garlic, oregano, and a touch of cumin. After a long, slow marinade, the pork gets skewered and grilled to perfection. The meat will taste best grilled over charcoal, but a gas grill or even an indoor grill will do ya just fine.
Next up is the sauce. For years I’ve been making a similar version of this recipe with a classic tzatziki sauce. I love tzatziki – the garlicky Greek yogurt sauce dotted with cucumbers and dill, but I’ve become a bit bored with it. Enter: toum, a naturally vegan, intensely flavored Lebanese garlic sauce that has quickly become my favorite thing ever. Be warned – this sauce is no joke. Plan to make it and eat it on a day when you don’t have to be anywhere after dinner, because you will reek of garlic in the best way possible (although others may not agree).
Making toum is very simple and only requires five ingredients: garlic – lots of it, lemon juice, neutral oil (I like grapeseed), water, and salt. But don’t let the humble ingredient list fool you. The magic of this sauce all comes down to using proper technique. Toum is an emulsion, which means that you need to take your time and practice patience while making it. You cannot rush this recipe like I did the first time I made it, or it will break into a sad oily mess that can only be saved by the addition of an egg yolk, which will essentially turn it into mayonnaise. You want to avoid that if you can, but it’s better than throwing it all away.
Garlic, lemon juice, ice cold water, salt and a little bit of chilled oil are added to a blender and blended on high. Then the rest of the oil gets streamed in very, very, very slowly. I can’t stress enough not to rush this step. It should take between 5-10 minutes to stream all the oil in, and your sauce will turn into a thick, creamy, cloud-like emulsion. It will have a smooth texture and will taste lemony, intensely garlicky, and you will want to slather it on everything immediately. Take your time, and you’ll have no problems.
I first learned about toum from this recipe in Bon Appetit, which is why I opted to put sweet potato fries in the pita. French fries are a super common ingredient in gyros all throughout Greece, but I found that the salty, garlicky toum becomes even more addictive when paired with sweet potatoes instead. I make easy oven fries that can roast while the rest of the dish is being assembled.
A simple salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and fresh oregano dressed with just a bit of olive oil and lemon adds freshness and crunch. The final touch is a little bit of crumbled feta cheese to add a salty bite, but you can totally skip this if keeping dairy free.
Lay down a piece of pocketless pita or flatbread (store bought is totally fine), then spread it with plenty of toum. Throw on some chunks of pork (without the skewer, obviously), then top with a few sweet potato fries, a little tomato cucumber salad, then finish with some crumbled feta. Wrap it up, then dive in.
These pork kebab pitas with toum are easily one of the tastiest things I’ve made in recent memory, and I cannot wait to make it again. I hope you give it a try!Print