Tex Mex Pitas with Heart Healthy Pistachios


Not one, but two studies from researchers at Penn State found health benefits related to pistachio consumption. As reported at the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C., this nutritional powerhouse has the ability to tackle heart disease from two angles: cholesterol and blood pressure.

Studies Show Pistachios Boost Hearth Health + Tex Mex Pitas Recipe with Pistachios (Vegetarian and Chicken versions!)

In one study, it was reported that eating roughly one to two handfuls of pistachios per day reduced the risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL cholesterol levels. And the most beneficial results were seen at the higher end of pistachio intake. In just four weeks, 3 ounces of pistachios reduced the total cholesterol in the blood by an average of 8.4 percent and the LDL (“bad cholesterol) by 11.6 percent. The study also found that non-HDL (considered reliable predictors of heart disease risk) decreased by 11.2 percent.

In the second report, the research team examined the effects of pistachios on reducing the body’s response to everyday stress. The 1.5 ounce dosage had the greatest effect on blood pressure reduction. However, those who followed the 3 ounce pistachio diet experienced a greater relaxation of the arteries overall.

It was suggested that other foods, which are high in unsaturated fat and antioxidants may have a similar effect on cardiovascular health. But why not incorporate some pistachios into your daily routine? We’ve got three pistachio-rich, dairy-free recipes for you to enjoy: Chocolate Pistachio Coffee CakeHealthy Pistachio Fig Bites, and the Tex Mex Pitas below.

Tex Mex Pitas with Heart Healthy Pistachios (includes recipes for Vegetarian/Vegan Filling and Chicken Filling)

Special Diet Notes: Tex Mex Pitas

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based, and optionally vegetarian.

Tex Mex Pitas with Chicken or Vegetarian Filling
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This entree can be made vegan or omnivorous depending upon the filling you choose.
Serves: 8 servings
Vegetarian Filling
  • 1 11-ounce can Mexicorn, drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced (1/2 pound)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canned diced green chilies (or jalapenos, if preferred)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped California pistachios
  • Cumin Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup canned black beans or red kidney beans
Chicken Filling
  • 2 cups shredded cooked or canned chicken
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped California pistachios
  • Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1 cup julienned jicama or seeded cucumber
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • ½ cup bottled roasted red pepper or pimiento, cut into strips
  1. Warm pita rounds in a 350ºF oven for about 3 minutes, while you prepare one of the following fillings.
Vegetarian Filling
  1. Toss the Mexicorn, zucchini, chilies and ¾ cup of the pistachios together with half the Cumin Vinaigrette.
  2. Half each pita and fill each half with lettuce, tomato slices and ⅓ cup of the corn mixture. Add a spoonful of beans to each.
  3. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the filling and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.
Chicken Filling
  1. Toss the chicken with half of the pistachios and enough Lime Vinaigrette to moisten.
  2. Half each pita and fill each half with the chicken mixture. Add the jicama, avocado and red pepper.
  3. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the filling and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.
Cumin Vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together ¼ cup grapessed or rice bran oil, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

Lime Vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup dairy-free Italian salad dressing, 1 tablespoon grated lime peel, and 2 tablespoons lime juice.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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