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Moroccan Turkey Pita Pockets

Menu PartSandwich/Wrap
Cuisine TypeMediterranean
Moroccan Turkey Pita Pockets

Chef Barbara Alexander
Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, N.Y.

Chef Barbara Alexander grinds spices in-house for the traditional ras al hanout, a fragrant Moroccan seasoning mix that is rubbed on the turkey before grilling. To save time, ras al hanout can be purchased commercially as a spice blend. The Moroccan accent is intensified with the addition of harissa, the fiery paste that shows up frequently in dishes from this North African country. This recipe calls for boneless turkey tenderloins, which make for quick and easy grilling.


Ras al hanout

24 allspice berries

20 green cardamom pods

6 whole cloves

4 black cardamom pods

4 whole nutmegs

10 rose buds

12 mace blades

2 tbsp. chopped gingerroot or ground ginger

1 tbsp. white peppercorns

1 tbsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. anise seed

1 tsp. galingale

2 pieces orrisroot

2 dried red chilies

½ tsp. lavender

Grilled turkey and salad

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 tbsp. harissa paste

2 tsp. salt

12 oz. turkey breast tenderloin

2 Persian cucumbers or 1 long English cucumber

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely sliced

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cup pitted kalamata olives

½ bunch fresh mint leaves

½ bunch fresh cilantro leaves

¼ bunch fresh dill sprigs

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup tahini

2 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. lemon juice

4 pita breads, warmed

2 cups baby red leaf lettuce


  1. For ras al hanout: In spice grinder, combine all spices; grind until fine. Strain through a mesh sieve.
  2. For grilled turkey: Rub 1 to 2 tablespoons ras al hanout on all surfaces of turkey. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat grill. Spread harissa on turkey. Grill turkey over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F. Allow turkey to rest before slicing on diagonal.
  4. In bowl, combine cucumber slices, half the cherry tomatoes, sliced jalapano and 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. Add olives, feta, mint, cilantro, dill and salt and pepper to taste; stir gently to combine.
  5. In small bowl, mix yogurt, tahini, honey and lemon juice until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, split warm pitas and spread yogurt tahini sauce on inside. Add lettuce, sliced turkey and a spoonful of cucumber-feta salad. Serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of National Turkey Federation

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