Pita bread is a vegetarian favorite. Pita bread is a yeast-leavened round flatbread made from wheat flour. Pita bread is often served with hummus and is a delicious Mediterranean treat. But is pita bread vegan?
The short answer…Yes! Most pita is vegan. Typical pita bread ingredients include flour, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt. And that’s it. No animal-derived ingredients there! Most pita bread is vegan friendly, but some recipes might include non-vegan ingredients such as milk, eggs, yogurt, or other animal products.
Is Pita Gluten-Free?
Most pita bread is not gluten-free as it is made with whole wheat flour. But not to fear, there are gluten-free brands on the market! Also, several homemade recipes use teff flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, or amaranth flour. These are all gluten-free options that would allow you to make your very own gluten-free pita bread that also fits within your vegan diet! Win, win!
Pita bread can also be found in snack sizes in the form of pita chips, pita crackers, and pita bread crisps. Many of these are vegan, although some pita chips brands use cheese on some of their flavors. For example, Stacy’s pita chips, which are a fan favorite, do have a “garlic parmesan” flavor of pita chips that is unfortunately not vegan. So while Stacy’s brand overall is usually vegan friendly, some of their varieties are not considered vegan, so make sure to check the ingredients carefully.
What Is The Difference Between Pita Bead and Naan?
Pita bread often gets confused with its cousin, Indian naan bread. It’s understandable; both are flat, often served with dips or hummus, and similar colors.
Naan recipes often include yogurt or egg, which you obviously need to avoid. They even have similar base ingredients of flour, active dry yeast, water, and salt. But if you are wondering if naan bread is vegan, we are sorry to report it most often is not.
Some flatbread recipes also call for sour cream powder, a dry version of sour cream made from dairy.
Pita bread is also similar to other types of bread and leavened flatbread, such as Syrian bread, Arabic bread, Greek pita, and other pita bread from the middle east. While these middle east breads are primarily similar in ingredients and generally vegan, some recipes add yogurt and egg. So it is always important to check labels and recipes when trying a new bread or brand to ensure it fits within your vegan diet.
When Is Pita Bread Not Vegan?
Is pita bread vegan seems like a relatively straightforward question, but unfortunately, as with many food items, the answer is not so simple.
Manufactured pita bread contains binding agents such as guar gum, cellulose gum, or xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is produced by bacterial fermentation and is used as a thickener and a binding agent. This is used to make the pita thicker and more cohesive, and all of these are vegan.
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There has been some question of cross-contamination in the xanthan gum manufacturing process, but many do consider it vegan. While all these components are vegan, some companies use the cheaper thickener/cohesive option of animal fats. Yikes. Obviously, animal fat is not vegan, so a good label check for the vegan label is essential.
Vegan Pita Bread Recipe
One way to ensure that your pita bread is completely vegan…is to make your own pita bread! It’s actually quite simple, with just 4-5 essential ingredients. There are plenty of delicious recipes out there, and homemade pita bread allows you to enjoy fewer ingredients than most manufactured brands.
Vegan Pita Bread Ingredients:
- 2½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups of lukewarm water,
- 1½ teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of canola or olive oil
- First, add the warm water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1 cup of flour. You can also choose to mix by hand with a fork. Whisk everything together until blended and set it aside for 15 minutes.
- Cover with a small towel and ferment for 30 minutes until thick, bubbly, and frothy.
- Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour, ½ cup of lukewarm water, and salt. Fork or blend the mix.
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, gradually adding ½ cup of flour and a teaspoon of olive oil. The dough will become smooth and springy to the touch.
- Shape dough into a ball and place it into a mixing bowl. Cover with a small towel and rise for 1 hour or until it is double its original size.
- Tip the risen dough onto a pre- floured surface and knead the dough for 1 minute. Use a knife to cut the sought into 8-10 equal pieces and form each into a rounded ball with your hands.
- Cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes; keep an eye out while the dough heats to ensure it is rising.
- Roll each ball into flat, thin circles, cover, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Plan a thin layer of oil in the skillet, then heat over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Cook the pitas in the hot skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are puffy.
Allow to cool and serve! Feel free to top with a squirt of lemon juice for additional zesty flavor.
Pro Tip: Pita bread served with hummus and fresh veggies is always a crowd pleaser!
Once again, the answer to the “Is pita vegan?” question is maybe not as straightforward as it would initially appear. But one way to always know the solution is to make it yourself! The recipe above is just one of many. However, most are pretty similar as the ingredients and making pita are relatively uniform and straightforward. But you, of course, can always spice up your at-home recipe since you are in charge of it!
Does Pita Bread Have Egg?
Generally no. But some pita bread recipes do include additional ingredients such as milk, eggs, etc. So make sure to always do a label check for vegan certification before buying to ensure your favorite pita bread brands are vegan-friendly.
Is Pita Bread Dairy-Free?
Yes. Most pita bread is simply flour, yeast, salt, and olive oil. But some recipes do include yogurt or milk, although that is not common. So while most pita is dairy-free, there are a few brands and varieties that may contain dairy. Always check the label to be sure.
Is Pita Bread Gluten-Free?
No. Typical pita bread is not gluten-free because it is made from wheat flour. However, there are gluten-free pita bread options that are made from gluten-free flour. Just check the label to ensure the pita bread brands are made from gluten-free flour and fit into your gluten-free diet! Or, better yet, make it yourself at home with a vegan and gluten-free recipe of your choosing!
What Makes Pita Bread Not Vegan?
Are most pita breads vegan? Yes, most pita bread is vegan since most pita breads do not contain animal products. But unfortunately, some varieties, recipes, and brands do have yogurt, egg, dairy, or other additive ingredients that make them vegan-friendly.
Some recipes even use whey protein to give the bread extra cohesion, thickness, and protein, but whey protein is not vegan. Some manufactured pita bread companies also use animal fat as a thickener or cohesive substance so finding pita bread with the vegan certification is essential to ensure it fits your vegan lifestyle.