Pita Chip Crust

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I don’t buy many snacks to keep around in our house. No temptation, no snacking. My husband, on the other hand, loves to have a little “crunch” with his sandwiches and always wants to have a side of chips. So as a compromise, one of the few exceptions I’ll make is for Stacy’s Pita Chips.

Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips are a dietitian-approved snack in Stacys Chipsmy house. They’re great on their own or to have with hummus, guacamole, or any hearty dip that needs a strong chip. These low calorie, low sodium chips come in a variety of savory and sweet flavors, but I’m a sucker for their Naked variety so I can dress them up as I please.

Stacey's Chips

One of the downfalls of these delicious chips is that there are often many broken pieces left at the bottom of the bag. And if you like to use your pita chip as a vehicle for a dip like I do, those tiny shards can be a bummer. So one night I got creative and decided to create a crust mixture that can be used in place of breadcrumbs or panko on fish and chicken. To up the nutrient factor, I also added in some raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas). The end result was a crispy crust that gave my husband that “crunch” in his food that he often enjoys. This crust has been tested on various fish, chicken, tempeh, and veggies with tasty results for all.

The first time I made the crust it covered fresh mahi mahi. I like to pan sear my pita-chip crusted protein in macadamia nut oil to enhance the nutty flavor. Macadamia nut oil, like olive oil, has a medium-high smoke point, so you won’t destroy those healthy monounsaturated fats while pan searing or sautéing (not recommended for frying). IMG_3138
Macadamia nuts contain palmitoleic acid (omega-7) which is said to help reduce inflammation, increase satiety, promote weight loss, and lower cholesterol/triglyceride levels. Plus, it adds a nice bold flavor to meals when used as an ingredient.

Make a batch of this crust ahead of time and store in the fridge for future use or when you need to make a quick dinner. Use it in any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs to change up the flavor. You can even sprinkle a spoonful on sautéed veggies or place on top of low-fat mac & cheese and broil for 1 min for added crunch factor.

RECOMMENDED REGISTRY ITEMS: Rolling Pin, meat tenderizer, pie plate, non-stick deep skillet, silicone turner

Let me know how your crusty, crunchy masterpieces come out. Use #NutritionNuptials to share your creations with me and a chance to be featured on my social media sites.

Pita Chip Crust

Servings 3 cups

Ingredients

For Crust

  • Chip bits left at the bottom of a Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips bag
  • ½ C raw shelled pumpkin seeds pepitas OR unsalted shelled pistachios
  • ¼ C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes Optional

For Preparation

  • 2 TB macadamia nut oil plus extra for brushing
  • Protein of choice

Instructions

  1. Place remaining pita chips in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer, break down chips to the size of breadcrumbs. It’s ok to have some slightly larger pieces mixed in for added crunchy texture. Place crumbs in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Place pumpkin seeds or pistachios in a food processor and gently pulse a few times to create a corse crumb texture. Add to mixing bowl. (See Notes)
  3. Add parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, and mix until ingredients are combined. If you like spicy, add the red pepper flakes at this time as well. If you are going to store the crust for use at a later time, place in an airtight container and keep in refrigerator until needed.
  4. When ready to cook, prepare your protein as needed. (See Notes)
  5. Empty your crust mixture into a pie plate and press your protein into the mixture so it sticks on all sides.
  6. Place crusted protein in a non-stick fry pan heated with 2 TB macadamia nut oil.
  7. Cook time will depend on your protein. Flip once with a silicone spatula (tongs can cause crusting to fall off). If cooking a fish with skin, cook the flesh side first till golden brown, then flip and cook longer on the skin side.

Recipe Notes

Either a food processor or blender can be used to breakdown the chips and seeds/pistachios. The key is to do this in small batches and gently pulse a few times. Do the chips and nuts/pistachios separately so they are pulsed to an even texture. The manual method also works for both!

Preparation of your protein will depend on the moisture factor. A fish that is naturally more oily, such as salmon or mahi, can be pressed directly into the crust mixture. A protein that is more “dry” such as chicken, shellfish, or tempeh will need to have a light spray or brush of oil first to make the crumbs stick (I recommend macadamia nut oil for this as well).

Nutrition Info

Per 1/4 C crumb mixture (no protein)= 215 calories, 10g fat (2g sat fat), 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g protein, 393 mg sodium (Source: SELF Nutrition Data)

DISCLAIMER: All opinions are my own and are not influenced or biased by any third parties. I am not compensated for mentioning any specific brands or retailers on this blog.