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Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)

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Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas are a Middle Eastern street food that makes a great meal, snack or addition to an appetizer platter. Arayes are stuffed pita with the Mediterranean ground beef mixture along with diced tomatoes and fresh herbs and heat them in a skillet until crispy. You can serve them with hummus or yogurt sauce and garnish with fresh parsley and a Lebanese salad.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas on a white platter.

LEBANESE MEAT STUFFED PITAS 

I am back with my third and final Mediterranean ground beef recipe in partnership with the Ohio Beef Council.

So far I have shared Mediterranean Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers and Mediterranean Ground Beef Zucchini Skillet and today I am sharing Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes). 

All three of these recipes are great for weeknight meals that are protein packed and easy to make. 

They all make enough to have leftovers throughout the week and you can easily meal-prep these recipes too. 

Today’s recipe for Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas are also known as Arayes in Lebanon.

Arayes are a Middle Eastern street food.

They are pita stuffed with a Mediterranean spiced ground beef mixture that is mixed with diced onions, spices and fresh herbs.

They are cooked in a skillet or grilled and served with hummus or a yogurt tahini sauce.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas on a white plater.

MEAL-PREP COOKING TIP:

You can prep the beef for all three recipes by browning the ground beef with the salt, pepper, garlic and spices and cooking until the beef is browned. Optional: you can add in the pine nuts at this step if you want.

Drain the beef and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the diced tomatoes and rice with the beef and stir well. You can then use this beef for all three recipes!

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THESE LEBANESE MEAT STUFFED PITAS

EASY TO MAKE: This recipe is so easy to make! It can be on your plate in under 15 minutes. If you prep the meat ahead of time you can have them ready in about 5 minutes. 

PACKED WITH PROTEIN: The ground beef in these stuffed pitas make this recipe a protein packed meal option. One 3 oz cooked serving of beef provides half your Daily Value of protein (25 grams), for under 200 calories.

GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMLY: My kids love these meat stuffed pitas. They would be great to put in lunchboxes, to freeze for later or serve for a quick healthy dinner or lunch. I have also served these as an appetizer with hummus on the side or on a mezze platter.

WORKS GREAT WITH A VARIETY OF LEBANESE SIDES: I love serving these with Fattoush, Tabbouleh, Lebanese Salata, Lebanese Green Beans or these Spicy Lebanese Potatoes

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas ingredients.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS 

GROUND BEEF: I like to use 80/20 ground beef in this recipe because the fat adds flavor and creates a juicy stuffing for the stuffed meat pita. For a more lean arayes you can use a 90/10. Make sure to drain the fat from the ground beef before making the mixture.

GARLIC: Garlic adds a nice flavor to the beef but can be skipped. 

ONION: Finely minced onion is added to the beef mixture. If you are prepping the 3 pounds of beef you can either add the onion to add three recipes or just leave it out.

SPICES: This recipes uses cinnamon, allspice, cayenne red pepper, paprika and cloves. I love the warm, rich spices mixed together with the beef. If those spices aren’t your favorite try Italian seasoning, Greek seasoning or oregano. 

PARSLEY: I love adding fresh parsley to Lebanese recipes and it works nicely in this recipe. Make sure to mince the parsley well before mixing into the beef mixture. 

PINE NUTS: The pine nuts are optional but I like to add them for added flavor and texture. 

TOMATO PASTE: The tomato paste is an ingredient that helps bind together the beef mixture before you add it to each pita.  It also adds that rich tomato flavor paired with the beef that we all love. 

PITA: I like to try and buy thicker pita for this recipe because it holds up better with the beef in it and holds up better on a skillet when you heat it. If you can only find thing pita that is fine too, just be more careful when handling it. 

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas with tomatoes and parsley

HOW TO MAKE ARAYES 

COOK THE BEEF: In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and spices and cook until the beef is browned. Optional: you can add in the pine nuts at this step if you want.

Drain the beef and add to a large mixing bowl.

Mix in the parsley, pine nuts {optional} and tomato paste with the ground beef and mix well.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas ground beef cooked in a bowl.

STUFF THE PITA: Lay the pita out on a cutting board and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture into each pita. Rub olive oil on each side of the pita. Heat in the skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy and warmed through. 

HEAT THE STUFFED PITA: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brush each side of the pita with olive oil.

Put the pita in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side until the pita is just crisp and the beef is heated.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas pita stuffed with beef.

SERVE WARM: Serve warm with Lebanese salad and parsley for garnish and hummus or tahini sauce on the side.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas pita on a white platter.

RECIPE TIPS

TYPES OF PITA: I have seen these made with raw beef that you add into the pita and cook on the skillet instead of precooking the beef. If you want to do this I suggest using a thinner pita so the beef cooks quickly. Otherwise if you precook the beef like I did you can use a thicker pita since it is already cooked. 

BEEF MIXTURE: The beef mixture is rich with warm spices but you can add whatever spices you like. Some other ingredients you can add to the ground beef is chopped fresh mint, feta cheese, finely minced bell pepper or zucchini.

I have also seen people add pomegranate molasses which adds a nice sweet flavor to the beef. 

OTHER METHODS OF COOKING: Other than a skillet you can cook these in an air fryer or oven. To air fry heat the air fryer to 350 degrees F and cook for about 10-12 minutes.

BAKE IN THE OVEN: You can bake this in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.

 
 

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas beef in a bowl.

BEEF FARMING IN OHIO

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Columbus, Ohio and learn more about beef.

I loved learning more about the nutrition of beef, how to cook with it and even got to visit a farm to see beef farming in person.

Did you  know that in Ohio there are more than 17,000 families own and operate beef farms?

Beef cattle can be found in every county across the state! Meet Ohio beef farmers who may live in communities near you at www.OhioBeef.org.

Although many believe that industrial farming has taken the place of family farms and ranches, 97 percent of beef farms are family-owned and operated. 

I have been on many of these farms and the families are so passionate and dedicated to beef farming and their animals. 

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas pita on a cutting board.

OTHER LEBANESE BEEF RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

MEDITERRANEAN BAKED BEEF MEATBALLS

HUMMUS WITH SPICED BEEF

BEEF KAFTA MEATBALLS

SKILLET BEEF LASAGNA

SPICED BEEF HUMMUS PITA

GREEK BEEF PITA PITZA

GRILLED BEEF KAFTA

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas with logo.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas on a white plater.

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pitas are a Middle Eastern street food that makes a great meal, snack or addition to an appetizer platter. Arayes are stuffed pita with the Mediterranean ground beef mixture along with diced tomatoes and fresh herbs and heat them in a skillet until crispy. You can serve them with hummus or yogurt sauce and garnish with fresh parsley and a Lebanese salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 1/4 cup parsley, packed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts {optional}
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 pita pockets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more
  • Hummus or tahini yogurt sauce

Instructions

    1. In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the grouind beef, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and spices and cook until the beef is browned. Optional: you can add in the pine nuts at this step if you want.
    2. Drain the beef and add to a large mixing bowl.
    3. Mix in the parsley, pine nuts {optional} and tomato paste with the ground beef and mix well.
    4. Cut the pita rounds into triangesl. Lay the pita out on a cutting board and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture into each pita.
    5. Rub olive oil on each side of the pita. Heat in the skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy and warmed through.
    6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
      Brush each side of the pita with olive oil.
    7. Put the pita in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side until the pita is just crisp and the beef is heated.
    8. Serve warm with Lebanese salad and parsley for garnish and hummus or tahini sauce on the side.

Notes

AIR FRY: You can air fry these at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes.

BAKE IN THE OVEN: You can bake this in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.

 Today’s recipe is sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council. As always, opinions are 100% my own. 

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