Pita Chips: The Crunchy New Snack with Deep Mediterranean Roots

Pita Chips

Pita chips have become a beloved snack around the world, offering a satisfying crunch and endless possibilities for flavor pairings. These golden, crispy triangles are made from pita bread that has been cut into wedges, brushed with olive oil, and baked until delightfully toasty. Their popularity has soared in recent years, with the global pita chips market projected to grow steadily.

The origins of pita chips can be traced back to the Middle East, where pita bread has been a staple for thousands of years. Evidence suggests that flatbreads similar to pita were made as early as the Stone Age, around 14,500 years ago. The word “pita” itself comes from Greek, simply meaning “flatbread”. As pita bread spread throughout the Mediterranean region, so did its culinary offspring, the pita chip.

In the United States, pita chips gained widespread popularity in the 1990s, thanks in large part to Stacy Madison. Madison owned a pita sandwich cart in Boston and started baking leftover pita bread to avoid waste. The chips were a hit, and soon her pita chip business took off, eventually being acquired by food giant PepsiCo.

Part of the appeal of pita chips lies in their versatility. They can be made from white or whole wheat pita bread and seasoned with an array of herbs and spices to create unique flavor profiles. Popular variations include sea salt, garlic parmesan, za’atar, and cinnamon sugar. Pita chips can also be made thinner and crispier by separating the two layers of the pita bread before baking.

But the real magic happens when pita chips are paired with dips, spreads, and other foods. They are a natural match for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dips like hummus, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki. The sturdy texture of pita chips makes them perfect for scooping up thick, creamy dips without breaking.

Pita chips also play well with a variety of other flavors and cuisines. They can be served alongside fresh salsas, guacamole, spinach and artichoke dip, or even sweet dessert dips. Crushing pita chips to use as a crunchy topping for salads or soups is another delicious option.

For a fun twist, try using pita chips as the base for Mediterranean-inspired nachos, loaded with feta cheese, olives, and roasted red peppers. Or pair them with a cheese board, letting the subtle flavor of the chips complement the richness of the cheeses.

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to this crunchy, adaptable snack. So the next time you’re looking for something to satisfy your craving for a crispy, flavorful bite, reach for a bag of pita chips and let your culinary creativity run wild. With their rich history, numerous variations, and incredible versatility, pita chips are sure to remain a beloved snack for years to come.