Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Jan Gautro
4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita half)

Inspired by the traditional Middle Eastern sandwich of chickpea patties in pita bread, this Southwestern-accented version features cumin-flavored pinto bean patties and a spread that is much like guacamole.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add Monterey Jack cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Form into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.

Step 2

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.

Step 3

To prepare spread, while patties cook, combine the avocado, plum tomato, red onion, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half.

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Ratings & Reviews

Tasty "falafel"

August 11, 2017
Very nice vegetarian meal. I made 8 patties and served them on mixed greens (no pita) to cut some of the calories. Made a couple substitutions because of what I had on hand (panko for tortilla chips, cheddar for Monterrey Jack, plain greek yogurt for sour cream). The patties were very tasty, but for some reason the avocado spread didn't quite hit the mark. I'm not sure why because we like all those ingredients, but I found myself wishing for a nice yogurt sauce.

MindySue72's Review

March 02, 2013
I almost converted my husband to a vegetarian with this recipe. I enjoy trying different combinations of ingredients with this recipe as the basis. Our favorite substitution is pepper jack cheese for a little kick.

vdubdriver's Review

January 14, 2009
I make this with additions and replacements. I found the pita to be dry, so I use Light Flat Out Wraps, the Sun Dried Tomato flavor. In the avocado spread I use extra lime for a kick and I make sure to seed the tomato well so the juices don't make the sauce runny and mix it in a food processor. In the falafel itself, I use black and pinto beans, Hot Habanero Jack cheese in place of the Monterey Jack, Maui Onion chips instead of tortilla and add an additional 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs. When I'm ready to grill them up, I use a George Foreman Grill instead of oil in a pan. The patties need to be kept thin to avoid mush and keep it from falling apart more than necessary. Sour cream on the opposite side of the spread and Lettuce or Clover Sprouts also go well in the wrap. I also enjoy this dish with the spicy sweet potatoes.

bluedaisy's Review

January 20, 2009
This is definitely one of our lunch staples. I double the batch and freeze!

1323kk's Review

January 15, 2010
I love this recipe. It is one of our favorites. Most of the time I throw in some bought fresh salsa into the sauce instead of bothering with the tomato and onion. I also sometimes use plain yogurt for sour cream, depending on what I have on hand. Either way its fabulous

lechenda's Review

January 13, 2009
I really enjoy this recipe with a twist. I use jabanero cheese to spice it up and I add black beans with the pinto beans for kick. In the sauce, I use a whole avocado and extra lime juice. I also make sure to seed the tomato so the sauce isn't too runny. Great stuff. My family enjoys this dish with grilled spicy yams.

tiger1984's Review

December 03, 2010
This is delicious, definitely a make again recipe! The only thing I would do differently next time is double the recipe. It was JUST enough to feed my boyfriend and I. We could have used a little more and if you are making it for more than two people definitely not enough! Also, I left out the cheese and the sour cream and it was still very yummy!

gidget265's Review

July 04, 2014
I really liked this. "Problem" with this recipe - you want to eat more - and it's a healthy recipe - so if you eat 1/2 - split with your hubby you are getting a TON of calories. At the time I was on WW and thought I was being good till I counted it all up. Great recipe - not so light... just so you know ahead of time! Have to have a big healthy salad on the side and only eat one patty...

lizlutz's Review

June 18, 2014
I always make my veggie patties smaller because I prefer the texture. I divide the mixture anywhere between 8-12 patties. I use 1 whole avocado.

photorebel's Review

November 18, 2013
As a newlywed in 2005, I was a subscriber to Cooking Light and we've been enjoying this as a household favorite ever since. The other reviewers' suggestions are excellent. The only change that I make is I NEVER cook with low-fat or fat-free dairy products anymore. Nobody denies that the taste isn't as good, and when manufacturers cut out fat, they've got to add something in, usually sugar (or worse). My mantra: stick to products as close to their natural state as you can get them. Waiting for Cooking Light to get with the times! All in all, a great recipe.