Escalivada in Pita Bread


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, each cut in half (not through stem side)
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • ½ tsp.coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste 
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley 
  • 4-6 pita breads, 1-inch cut off top of each one
  • 1 ¼ c. crumbled feta cheese


Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven broiler. (Alternatively, eggplant can be roasted on a very hot outdoor grill.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set eggplant in center. Broil eggplant, (or grill it), turning occasionally until all sides are charred and eggplant is soft and collapsing; set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, place eggplant in a colander set over the sink. Pull stem and seeds from eggplant and let it drain until needed.

Combine onion slices and tomato halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil and char either under the broiler or on the grill until just tender; set aside. 

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Roast the pepper on your stovetop burner, turning occasionally until charred on all sides. Using tongs, transfer pepper to a deep bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Carefully pull out stem and seeds from pepper and discard. 

On a large cutting board, coarsely chop red onions, tomatoes, and minced garlic together. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Set warm eggplant flesh on cutting board and coarsely chop or shred it. Fold eggplant into bowl with above vegetables. Cover bowl with foil paper while making vinaigrette.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, ½ tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper and parsley. 

Drizzle vinaigrette over vegetables and toss to evenly coat. Taste, adding more salt or pepper, as needed.

Cut off 1 ½ inches from the top of each pita pocket. Coarsely chop the cut pieces and toss them, along with the feta crumbles, into the vegetable mixture. Taste, adding more salt and pepper, as needed

Fill each pita pocket about two-thirds full; serve.

Makes enough to fill 5-6 pita breads.