Mindful Buffalo Chicken Pita Pockets

There seems to be a misconception out there that healthy versions of meals never taste as good as the original. I beg to differ. I say my Mindful Buffalo Chicken Pita Pockets rival their fried chicken component in terms of flavor. It will absolutely satisfy that craving for spicy buffalo chicken and creamy dressing and even better, has a fraction of the calories and fat. One of my favorite lunches to get at my work’s cafeteria was this Buffalo Chicken Wrap. Crispy Fried Chicken with buffalo sauce and creamy ranch or blue cheese dressing in a soft wrap. I love spicy food and every time this was a special on the menu I’d order it. You’d think because it was a wrap, it would be somewhat of a healthy lunch, but the stats are staggering: Calories: 490, Fat: 25g, Carbs: 48g.

My version has only 300 calories, has less than 6g of fat, 27 carbs, and actually has twice the protein (31g vs 17g) than that Fried Buffalo Chicken Wrap. And to be completely honest, I actually prefer this version.

To make this recipe healthier we have to get rid of the fried chicken and the traditional high calorie and fat dressing. But don’t despair; those are getting swapped out with something just as good.

The cafeteria did offer a grilled version of the wrap, but I never found it as satisfying. For some reason, grilled chicken always comes out dry and unpleasant. For this recipe, instead of grilling chicken, I roast it, which leaves it tender and juicy.

If you are trying to start eating healthier, one thing that helps is to plan some of your meals in advance. For me, Sundays are a great day for this. You can roast a few pounds of chicken breast, shred and store in the fridge about 4 days to have over the course of the week. Chicken is so versatile you can use it in several different meals, or make the same ones over again. (I’m having this Buffalo Chicken Pita Pocket a 2nd day in a row its so good!)

With the roasted shredded chicken made ahead of time, this lunch comes together in a pinch! I roast mine with salt, pepper, a little bit of grapeseed or olive oil for about 30 mins in a 400° oven. Every oven is a little different and the cook time can vary depending on how big your chicken breasts are, so just keep an eye on it and pull it out when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°.

Next comes the dressing. Whether you are on Team Ranch or Blue Cheese, you can easily adapt this creamy dressing to your taste. I start off by mixing 2 heaping tablespoons of non-fat greek yogurt with about 1 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. You can adjust the amount of hot sauce you use, based on your personal preference. I found these to be just the right amount of dressing, but if you want to add a few extra tbs of the non-fat yogurt feel free… each tbs is only about 15 calories. Next I added .05oz of crumbled goat cheese (about 1 tbs). Blue cheese would work too if you prefer, but I happened to have goat cheese on hand. Finally, I diced up some green onions I had on hand to add some color and crunch. Chopped celery is another alternative, but I like the mild onion flavor from the green onion.

I’ve found people to be very polarized about greek-style yogurts. They either love it or hate it. I’ll admit I defiantly didn’t not like greek yogurt for a long time. However, because it can be a great addition to a healthy diet, I started to try different brands and flavors and eventually started to enjoy it. It's still unlikely that I’d eat plain greek  yogurt by the spoonfuls, but as a base for a dipping sauce it is excellent and has made its way as a staple in my refrigerator. If you are on the fence, I urge you to give it another shot with this recipe.  

Back to the recipe… When its time for lunch, heat up 4oz (about a cup) of the shredded chicken and then mix it with your buffalo yogurt dressing and shredded carrots. Fill half a pita pocket and enjoy!

The recipe below is for 2 servings so you can share with another or enjoy it again later in the week!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted shredded chicken
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 large pita pocket, cut in half

Dressing

  • ¼ cup non-fat greek style yogurt
  • 2 tbs your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 oz of crumbled goat or blue cheese (about 2 tbs)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Warm shredded chicken in microwave or oven.
  • Mix yogurt, hot sauce, crumbled cheese and green onions in small bowl.
  • Add warmed chicken and shredded carrots to dressing to evenly coat.
  • Divide chicken and dressing mixture into two halves of the pita bread (or save half for another meal)

Nutritional Information*

Per Serving: Calories: 300, Fat: 5.5g, Carbs: 27g, Protien: 31.6g

*Calculated with MyFitnessPal