Welcome to another day of VeganMoFo 2013, the month-long celebration of vegan food.
Today you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck because I’m giving you two…count ’em, two…recipes for flatbread. One uses gluten flours and the other is gluten-free. So pretty much, most people are covered. And I know I promised a dessert every Friday this month and this isn’t really a dessert but it is baking and baking and desserts is one chapter in The “V” Word Cookbook….so please just go with me on this, ok? Thanks.
Breakfast is the reason I’m so into flatbreads. The evolution of my favorite breakfast is an interesting one. To me, anyway. As a child, I ate breakfast mostly in restaurants and diners. My father worked the night shift as a cab driver. When he got home in the morning, he would drive me to school but first we would stop for breakfast. I don’t even remember what I ate but I do remember I always had chocolate milk with it.
When I got older, I did what many teens do. I stopped eating breakfast. Unless it was out at a diner. I loved diner breakfasts. But if it wasn’t the full big breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns or home fries and toast, it was just coffee. When I got serious about losing weight, I forced myself to eat breakfast every day. But when I became vegan and would no longer eat eggs, I was at a loss again. I just don’t like most breakfast foods.
Eventually, I found these artisanal whole-wheat crackers that I loved. They were thin and crispy and the perfect foundation for my new favorite breakfast: hummus topped with tomatoes, spinach and marinated cucumbers and red onions. I loved this breakfast so much, I sometimes ate it for dinner. But then I became gluten-free (mostly). Back to square one.
Out of all the gluten-free, vegan breads out there, I like one. Just one. Food for Life Bhutanese Red Rice Bread. So I was having my hummus on toasted red rice bread but I kept talking about those darned whole-wheat crackers. So you know what comes next, I had to make my own. I have to say, it’s fun to be able to make your own food and not worry about finding it in a store or online.
So I set about making flatbread. First I made it with whole-wheat and white flour. So good! Then I attempted it gluten-free. Also good! There is a flatbread recipe dominating the internet and it’s from a gourmet magazine. Everyone has their own version of it so I joined that club. Everyone has some version of gluten-free flatbread too. Some are thick and some are thin. I like thin. And crunchy.
The Herbed Flatbread is crispy, flavored with fresh and/or dried herbs and fruity olive oil. I may eat it for breakfast but it would be delicious as a snack or a vehicle for any dip. They are also great for pizza!! The Gluten-Free Herbed Flatbread can be made crispy or not, depending how you cook it. If you bake it, it can be crispy though it’s a little chewier than the gluten flatbreads. If you fry them, they are softer but also so delicious! The consistency is somewhere between a strong crepe and a pita.
They are both fast and easy to make. You can switch up the herbs and spices to your liking. I just did garlic and herbs. For the gluten-free flatbreads, you can use whatever gluten-free flour you like. Chickpea is always a great choice but I used amaranth flour. It has a nutty taste and I love it. You can experiment with all the different gluten-free flours like millet, quinoa, chickpea, amaranth, fava bean, etc. You can also choose what size to make the flatbread – make large ones that you tear apart to eat or like I do, make individual ones. Store them in an air-tight container or storage bag. They can last the whole week.
Now I’m back to the breakfast I love: hummus with tomatoes, spinach and marinated cucumbers and red onions – all on top of a crispy, tasty flatbread. I look forward to breakfast with my Herbed Flatbread so much, it’s become my favorite meal of the day. Enjoy!
Herbed Crispy Flatbread
THIS RECIPE CONTAINS GLUTEN!
Makes about 9 individual flatbreads
2 cups sifted flour (white, whole-wheat or a combination)
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
1/2 cup water
Fresh herbs, chopped, for topping
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a large baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and dried herbs and spices. Mix well. Add the oil and water to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough has formed. Spread some flour on the work surface and knead the dough for a minute or two. The dough should feel soft and smooth.
Divide the dough into 3 pieces and then divide each of the 3 pieces into 3 pieces. Place a piece of parchment paper on the table and roll each piece of dough on the parchment paper. Roll it as thin as you can, starting in the center and rolling outwards. Brush each flatbread with some oil and sprinkle some fresh herbs on top.
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Place the parchment paper with the flatbreads onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the flatbreads are browned and crisp and the centers are golden. You may have to bake the flatbreads in batches. When they are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on wire racks. They will continue to crisp while they cool. Store in an airtight container.
Gluten-Free Herbed Flatbread
Makes about 10 flatbreads
2 tsp. egg replacer + 6 Tbs. warm water
2 ¼ cups amaranth flour (or GF flour of your choice)
¾ cup tapioca starch
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. guar gum
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbs. herbs, chopped
¾ cup water
3 Tbs. olive oil plus more for frying
In a mug or small bowl, combine the egg replacer with the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, starch, baking powder, salt, guar gum and garlic powder. Mix to combine. Fold in the herbs. Make a well with a spatula. Add the water and oil and mix until you have dough. It will be stiff. If it feels too dry and crumbly, add water by the teaspoon until it feels smoother. Shape the dough into a log.
Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Cut the dough in half, and then cut each half into 5 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a thin circle.
Heat a small (8 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Spray some oil into the pan and cook one flatbread at a time. Cook the first side for 4 minutes. You want it to get browned with some dark blackened spots. Spray the top side of the flatbread with more oil and flip. Cook the 2nd side for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Alternatively, if you want these crispier, you could bake these flatbreads in a 450 degree oven. Preheat the baking sheet for 5 minutes in the oven. Lay the flatbreads on a large piece of parchment paper. Spray them with oil and top with some more chopped herbs and salt, if desired. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the parchment paper on it. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the flatbreads are browned on the edges and golden in the middle. They will harden more as they cool. Let cool completely on wire racks.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.