Pita chips are cracker-like snacks made from dried pita bread. They are often eaten with a variety of dips, or are served topped with hummus as an appetizer. Homemade pita chips are relatively easy to make, though commercial varieties exist as well. Some chips are pre-packaged as crackers, while others are marketed more as potato chips might be — that is to say, seasoned, salted, and individually bagged. Pita chips, like the bread from which they derive, are a very versatile food.
Most pita chips start out as pita bread. Pita bread is a type of baked flatbread, usually round in shape, that is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Making chips from pita bread is usually as simple as slicing the bread into wedges or squares, then toasting, baking, or lightly frying it.
The flavor of the chips is usually dictated first by the flavor of the underlying baked bread. Whole wheat pitas, for instance, will yield whole wheat pita chips; the same is true for garlic pitas, or roasted pepper pitas. It is also possible to add flavors to the flatbreads as they are toasting.
Cooks will often sprinkle pitas with oil and herbs before cutting them into chips in order to infuse flavor. The heat of the toasting or frying will cause the herb essences to sink into the bread. This creates a more robustly flavored chip, without a lot of effort.
Pita chips are frequently served with dips, which is another way of adding unique flavor. One of the most traditional accompaniments to the chips is hummus, a Middle Eastern spread made from garbanzo beans and spices. Almost any dip or spread can be added to pita bread, however, from bean dips to vegetable relishes.
Commercially prepared pita chips are often sold alongside other snack foods, such as potato chips and corn chips. Although the pita varieties might include some of the same spices and flavorings as other nearby chips, they are almost always a healthier option. Many health food experts recommend substituting pita-style chips for other more caloric chips in order to manage weight and keep in better health.
Most of the time, a pita chip is lower in cholesterol than other chip varieties, and many are free of saturated fats. They are often lower in calories, as well. Depending on the brand and the flavor, they may also contain less sodium.
Just because the chips contain fewer bad ingredients and lower percentages of undesirable additives does not necessarily make them healthy, however. They may a better choice than other kinds of chips, but this does not automatically make them a good choice. Many of the health benefits of homemade pita chips are lost with extensive processing. A diet that recommends pita chips likely means pita chips that are either unprocessed, or minimally processed.