Picnic food: Pita Pockets w/ Lentil Stuffing

Impromptu picnics are so much fun. All you need is good weather, a yummy picnic basket, a nearby park and you can look forward to a sunny afternoon filled with good food and company of the people you love!

There are a bunch of very nice parks near our place, some boasting of lakes and boating, others with tennis courts and huge play structures for kids and yet others with cool redwood coves - so any given weekend morning when the picnic fever sets in, we pack our lunches, grab some toys for the little ones and a cozy book for the older ones and head out the door with our rusty picnic mat.

I have a couple of go-to picnic recipes which rely on ingredients that are always in my pantry or fridge. And these pita pockets with lentil stuffings are one of the family favorite ones. It needs a bit of prep time but it's very filling and the variations of "make-your-own-pita-pocket" always keeps the fun going for the kids and grown-ups alike.

The basic recipe is borrowed from this Mark Bittman classic. Idea is simple: you cook lentils, prepare (or buy) your favorite yogurt dipping sauce and then provide a range of vegetable fillings like sliced avocados, cucumbers, arugula leaves or even some store bought falafels would be great. Then top it all up with your favorite hot-sauce and there you have it! Easy to pack, easy to assemble this is a very good picnic basket stuffer.
To prepare lentil, I usually saute chopped onion, garlic and tomatoes (one by one) in few Tbsp olive oil, then add lentils (1C dried is more than enough for 4-6 people), water, a seasoning like some chopped or dried thyme, salt & pepper and cook per the lentil package direction. Super simple.

Yogurt dipping is mostly yogurt + chopped mint + salt & pepper + dash of red wine vinegar to taste + pinch of chilli flakes. Mix, keep cold.

Then when you are ready to assemble, warm up the pita on a grill if you want, or room temp is fine too. Cut the pita in two half-circles. Gently slide your fingers to tear the two pita halves apart from the diameter side. Take care to not tear the circular side apart. Using a knife spread yogurt sauce, add lentils, veggie stuffing like sliced avocados, top it off with some hot sauce. 

Goes great with a chilled beer and lunch is served!