Pita bread tacos with minced beef and beans
From The Hungry Bites
Just know that I’m laughing too as I’m writing these words, but the name pitacos couldn’t describe any better these 30-minute tacos with pita bread, spicy minced beef, beans, and some grated cheese mastelo! And if you’re always wondering what to make for dinner or you’re struggling to have everything ready, especially on the weeknights, know this: These tacos can be made in 30 minutes and will leave no room for complaints because everyone loves them! So make sure you read all the tips and tricks to make these as tasty as they get!
When I was growing up in Crete we didn’t have tacos, but we had some amazing Souvlaki (or Gyros) almost always wrapped with pita bread! Later, when I was introduced to tacos I was hooked. And as you can easilly realise, my love for both pita and tacos gave birth to these awesome pitacos! And just so you know, except for these pitacos there’s also a crizza recipe on the blog
Using pita bread instead of tortillas makes these tacos with beef and beans more filling so if you don’t eat too much, you’ll probably be satisfied with just one. But this recipe makes 10 large pitacos because this is a food worth sharing with friends but also because you can store half of the filling in the fridge and have it ready for another day.
The most difficult part of this recipe is making the spicy minced beef, something which is actually pretty easy so, all in all, this is a very quick and easy dish (yay!)
A quick note on the spicy beef:
Make sure you bring the meat to room temperature or at least let it sit on your counter for 20-30 minutes before cooking. If the meat is too cold it will reduce the temperature of your saucepan and the beef won’t brown as well.
Also, don’t be afraid to brown (caramelize) the meat very well because the dark color means great flavor! Remember that the caramelization will start when all the juices of the meat have evaporated.
After making the tacos you can serve them right away (the cheese will melt a bit by the heat of the filling), but it if you have 10 minutes to spare it’s best to bake them in the oven. This will melt the cheese completely and will crisp up the pita.
- Other types of meat like ground turkey, chicken, or pork will also work.
- Canned red kidney beans are really great with this recipe, but you can choose your favorite type of beans.
- Some thick Greek yogurt balances the flavors and freshens up the taste. Use sour cream instead if you don’t have any yogurt.
- If you don’t fold them you can make mini pizzas.
Pitacos – Pita bread tacos with minced beef and beans
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
No one has ever said no to these delicious 30-minute tacos with pita bread which get filled with spicy minced beef, beans, and some grated cheese.
For the minced beef:
- 1 pound (450 grams) minced beef
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ – 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup dry white wine
For the pitacos:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ¾ cups frozen corn kernels (place on a colander and rinse very well to thaw)
- 1 red sweet pepper, chopped
- 1 green sweet pepper, chopped
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 1 large tomato, chopped [or a little less than 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes]
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped scallions or green onions
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 avocados, chopped (optional)
- 14 oz (400 grams) grated cheese mastelo
- 10 pita bread
- Lemon wedges and extra parsley for serving
- Make the spicy minced beef: Heat a large pan or saucepan over high heat and when it’s hot enough add the minced meat and the olive oil. Cook the beef stirring often with a wooden spatula, breaking up any lumps, until it is browned and all the juices have evaporated (about 10 minutes). Add the spices and stir for 1 more minute, then add the wine and cook for another minute until it’s evaporated. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
- Preheat your oven to 390°F (200°C).
- Make the filling: Reduce heat to medium/high and transfer in the same pan the olive oil, the onion, the corn, the red pepper, and the green pepper. Cook until the onion is soft (about 5 minutes) and then add the minced beef, the beans, the parsley, the green onions, and the tomato. Cook for 2 more minutes and turn off the heat. Add half of the grated cheese, the yogurt and the avocado and mix.
- Make the pitacos: Divide the filling to the pitas, fold them in the middle and transfer them to a pan so that the one is next to the other, in order to retain their shape. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese at the top melts.
Don’t be afraid to brown (caramelize) the meat very well. The dark color means great flavor! Remember that the caramelization will start when all the juices of the meat have evaporated.