Daring Cooks: Gluten-Free Pitas and Hummus

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on February 14, 2010

I was nervous and excited about this month’s Daring Cooks challenge.  Pita.  One of those things you either forget about or lust over on a gluten-free diet (croissants, oreos, graham wafers, doughnuts and many other things are also in that category).  The challenge was for Mezze, a style of eating including hummus and pita.  I did this on a day with lots of food.  Pita, hummus, butternut squash dip, baba ganoush, falafel, as well as a nice breakfast, buns (to come) and cake.  It was busy, but also relaxing.  A good day.

First off, I would like to thank Michele, our host.  She did an amazing job hosting.  Its a lot of work, but also fun and rewarding.

For that reason, I’m sad to say that this wasn’t my favourite challenge.  The flavours just didn’t gel with us.  Maybe I was heavy handed in adding garlic or lemon juice, but in the end it wasn’t a winner.  However, I’m glad I made it and I really want to play with pita in the future.  Wheat balloons up (literally), so if I could get that (even just a teeny tiny bit) it would be wonderful.  Pitas were a very regular bread alternative in my house.  Mini-pitas filled with a bit of peanut butter were weekly (at least) occurrences.  Something I miss?  No doubt.

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Now, I’m going to let the photos do the talking.  Okay, with a touch of commentary =D.

patting out pitas
Pita dough hasn’t been conquered by me yet.  However, they patted out nicely!

cooking pitas

The left one had been in for longer.
They didn’t puff up.  I was secretly hoping they would double and triple like this cake had.
And, I only dropped parts of two (it might have been three) pitas when putting them onto the pizza stone!  Taking them out was the easy part.


Don’t they look nice?  They didn’t taste bad, but not fantastic either.  The ratios I played with weren’t perfect by any means.  I have some ideas though.

my first eggplant
My first eggplant.  That I’ve cooked at least. 

eggplant heart

Look at that tender beautiful meat!  The heart shape is how I’m bringing valentines day into this =D.  If you celebrate, have a great night.  If not, have a great night.

baba ganoush

And, the baba ganoush.  I used this recipe.  

This might be my favourite part.  It was also my first time with butternut squash.  I cubed and boiled it until tender.  Then, drained and mashed it and put in a touch of honey.  Simple as can be.  Delicious too.

butternut squash dip

The colour brings just the right amount of spunk to the mezze.

The hummus.  Will try again with much less lemon juice and less garlic.  That should do the trick for me =D.


Our mezze platter.  Minus the falafel.  It was just coming out of the oven.


See?  Here it is!  I baked the falafel, for ease more than anything.  I was wiped and oil was not gonna happen.  And, it sometimes makes my tummy turn.  Anyways, these looked nice and all but were just too strong.  I think these are things that must be eased into =D.
Yes, I am going to try this again.  Not sure how much, but I really want to play with the flavours, maybe focusing more on the base ingredients than the spices.  Plus, mezze is an entire style of eating so the possibilities are endless!  
Also, for those of you that haven’t got it yet, the Haiti Ebook is still for sale!  It contains over 80 recipes that make the authors feel at home, from over 70 contributors (including some Daring Cooks!).  All proceeds go to the Red Cross.  So far, it has raised over $1400.  Government matching (and the matching from my parents) which are now finished, made that into $4755.  Please continue to buy it, it can cost anything from $10 and up – its completely your decision.
I think thats about it.  

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Elra February 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Well done Lauren, I am especially liking your heart shape eggplant.

Sue February 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Hi Lauren,

Your butternut pumpkin dip looks delicious! Sorry your pita didn't turnout as you had planned. The gluten-free seems like a greater challenge to pull off. They sure look good though.

Amy Lucille February 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Great job on the gluten-free pitas. I still have my flours from our last challenge. You have inspired me to make some bread with them. Cheers!

Wic February 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

to bad this one was just not for you. still I love to read your posts and this one was cute.
if you do the V have a good night, if not have a good night.
a hug and greetings from germany

Junglefrog February 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I agree on the too much lemon and too much garlic in the hummus… I kept eating garlic the entire day afterwards… lol… Still I did love the pita and will for sure make eggplant dip for next time!

gfe--gluten free easily February 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Beautiful photos still and I always love your commentary! :-) Gluten-free pita could be fun if the results were great. I don't really miss much bread as I've shared before, but having that option would be nice. So often the filling of pita offerings is restaurants is gluten free, but of course not the pita. I order sans pita, but occasionally would like some pita. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Woohoo on ebook success so far!


Rosemary & Garlic February 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

My pitas didn't all puff. I love your go Canada cake!

Asha @ FSK February 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Lauren, I came here looking to see what you created since you don't take gluten and i am blown away… what an assortment of dips!! Fabulous!!!

penny aka jeroxie February 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm

The pita bread was definitely hard hard work. And I love your butternut squash! Natural sweetness. YUM!

Dharm February 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm

You did just great Lauren! Love all the flavours especially that butternut squash!

Sarah February 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Your squash dip sounds amazing and was a great touch to your mezze. Congrats on the fundraising!

Jo February 15, 2010 at 12:27 am

Glad you enjoyed your challenge and the dips look great, especially the butternut one.

Teja February 15, 2010 at 1:13 am

Lauren this looks delicious. your photography by the way is getting more amazing every time you post. you go girl! haha =)

Candice February 15, 2010 at 1:49 am

I had the same 'non puffing' problem with my g-f pitas. Fortunately they tasted decent at least. And great idea to bake the falafels – I think next time I might do that. :)

Barbara Bakes February 15, 2010 at 4:18 am

Really nice pics! Sorry it wasn't your favorite!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 15, 2010 at 4:30 am

Great work Lauren! The pitas look really good and I bet you could come up with the ultimate recipe for GF pitas. You did so much work for this challenge! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I'm so impressed!

bake in paris February 15, 2010 at 4:46 am

Ha ha ha my pita bread didn't puff as much either, and it is quite stiff. Maybe because I didn't cover it with large kitchen towel…

Good luck for the e-book! The result has been impressive so far!

Sawadee from Bangkok,

cuppy February 15, 2010 at 6:13 am

Your falafels look like I wanted mine to look. :( I think I put too much oil in my pan…

Butternut squash (all winter squash) are amazing with just a hint of sugar. I like to add a spoonful of brown sugar to mine, but I might try honey next time! ๐Ÿ˜€ What a great color, too!

chef_d February 15, 2010 at 6:18 am

Your pumpkin dip looks so good! Yummy!

Bunnee February 15, 2010 at 6:22 am

Lauren – You are amazing to come up with all the gluten-free ideas. I didn't notice if you roasted the garlic before adding it to the hummus, but it really is a much milder flavor. Maybe next time!

Valรฉrie February 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Mmmm, baba ganoush… I should've thought of that. I'm sorry you didn't love the flavours, but you can definitely play with the spice levels and come up with something that suits you. Good luck with perfecting gluten-free pita! Btw, your pictures looks wonderful!

Maria February 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I love pita and hummus for a snack or even meal. Yours looks great!

Lo February 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Hey! Glad to find someone else who made baba ghanouj! And I love the look of that pumpkin dip!

Sorry to hear that you were disappointed in the flavors this time around. Looks like you gave it a great shot, though. I don't think you're alone… we modified the lemon juice for the hummus a bit, since 2 1/2 lemons seemed like a LOT of juice (especially with DH juicing them). That helped quite a bit on the flavor.

Jenni February 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Fantastic job! Your mezze looks spectacular!

comfycook February 16, 2010 at 2:31 am

I know how busy you are with the cookbooks and life but please stop by my blog and pick up your award.

TaGa_Luto February 16, 2010 at 5:50 am

The hummus was just okay for me too. I like that butternut squash idea did you put anyspices? I used the same variety of eggplant. These Asian eggplants are great for salads.

Lisa Michelle February 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Lauren, youe Mezze look fantastic despite your disappointment with the hummus and the pita problems. I added red pepper flakes, extra garlic, roasted and raw, and cashew paste to my hummus – loved it.

Anyway..I love the butternut squash dip as well as good 'ole baba ganoush! I wish I could taste those!

anjelikuh February 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm

the baked falafels look great! i should've done that to cut down on some calories ๐Ÿ˜‰ And your butternut squash dip is genious! great job on the challenge!

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef February 17, 2010 at 12:50 am

Just checking in with you, love the squash and eggplant mezze. The pita look good, too. I bet you'll find the perfect ratios for them.

Iris February 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Hey Lauren,
Here's an award for all your hard work. :)


Michele February 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

Thank you for cooking with me! I think you did a fantastic job, and though it wasn't your favorite challenge, I think your food looks delicious!

Eat4Fun February 27, 2010 at 4:01 am

You made a great attempt at the Mezze challenge. It all looks good, but the simple stuff like the eggplant and the butternut squash look so delicious. Great Job!

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