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Eric Akis: A flatbread with the taste of Greece

Greek-style pita breads are used as the base for these baked Mediterranean-style flatbreads topped with hummus, vegetables, olives, halloumi cheese and other tasty things.
All-dressed Hummus Pitas Greek-style, a pocketless pita topped and baked with a tasty mix of Mediterranean-style ingredients. ERIC AKIS

If want to make a Mediterranean-style dish that’s full of flavour, but easy to prepare, pick up a package of Greek-style pita bread. With the pitas and a few other complementary ingredients, you’ll soon be baking colourful and ultra savoury flatbreads.

When I say Greek-style pita bread, I mean the pocketless type that are used in restaurants for such things as souvlaki. It is sold in the deli section of many grocery stores and the type I bought came from a Vancouver Island company called Eugene’s (

I called my recipe all-dressed hummus pitas because once one side of each pita was spread with hummus, I adorned them with a range of other tasty toppings. They included such things as sautéed onions and peppers, olives, halloumi cheese, cherry tomatoes and walnuts.

The pitas were then baked until piping hot, wonderfully aromatic and crisp on the bottom. And, just before serving them, were made even more flavourful by topping them with leaves of fresh oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

If you’ve not used it before, halloumi is a brined cheese similar in texture to firm types of mozzarella, except that its brine gives it a pronounced salty flavour. It, too, is sold in the deli section of many grocery stores. Halloumi has a high melting point and holds its shape well when cooked, the latter of which further enhances its umami-rich flavour and reduces its saltiness.

In my recipe, I cooked slices of halloumi in a skillet until deep golden brown, set them on a cutting board, sliced them into strips, and set them on the pitas before they were baked.

If you don’t want to use halloumi, the Eric’s options part of the recipe provides suggestions on other types of cheese you can use.

My recipe yields two servings, but could be doubled or further expanded if feeding a larger group. To make a nice lunch or dinner, serve the all-dressed hummus pitas with a green salad or arugula salad.

All-dressed Hummus Pitas

Greek-style pita breads are used as the base for these baked Mediterranean-style flatbreads topped with hummus, vegetables, olives, halloumi cheese and other tasty things.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 16 minutes

Makes: two servings

3 (about 1/2-inch thick) slices Halloumi cheese (about 75 to 100 grams; see Note and Eric’s options)

1/2 cup store-bought or homemade hummus (divided)

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling

1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

7 kalamata olives, pitted and halved

8 cherry tomatoes, sliced

2 to 3 Tbsp walnut pieces, coarsely chopped

• fresh leaves of oregano, to taste (see Eric’s options)

Set a good quality (not-scratched) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully set the halloumi into the dry pan. Cook until deep golden-brown, about 90 seconds per side. Remove skillet from the heat, and then transfer halloumi to a cutting board. Let it cool a few minutes, and then slice, widthwise, into 3/4-inch strips. Set halloumi aside for now.

Set the skillet over medium, medium-high heat. Pour in the 2 tsp olive oil. Add the bell peppers and onions and sauté until softened, about three minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and then set it aside for now.

Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the top of each pita with 1/4 cup of the hummus. Artfully top the hummus on each pita with some of the sautéed peppers and onions, strips of halloumi, olives, cherry tomatoes and chopped walnuts.

Bake the pitas 10 minutes, or until the bottom of each pita is golden and crispy. Transfer pitas to a cutting board. Top each pita with some fresh oregano leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Cut each pita into wedges, plate and serve.

Note: The leftover halloumi cheese you have after slicing some for this recipe can be tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for many days until you need some again.

It can be used in or on salads, soups, burgers and a range of other dishes.

Eric’s options: For a tangy taste, you could also drizzle each pita with a little balsamic vinegar just before serving them. Instead of halloumi, try using crumbled pieces of feta cheese or soft goat cheese on the pitas. If you don’t want to use fresh oregano, you could also use fresh, torn, basil leaves, or small, whole, leaves of Italian parsley, to taste.

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Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.