Falling for Flatbreads

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Flatbreads are great for an easy dinner on—or off—the grill. | Photo by Emily Teel

Fire up the grill as autumn begins to chill

Although I enjoy soups, stews, root vegetables and roasts as much as the next locavore, I try to postpone that kind of cold-weather cooking for as long as possible. These flatbreads are my compromise: a nod toward autumnal flavors cooked on a grill for one last warm weather hurrah.

The flatbread recipe yields six portions, enough for two each of the following flavors, one of which is vegan. Paired with a salad and something sweet, the full recipe will easily feed six. If the evening gets a little too chilly, throw your flatbreads back onto a warm grill to crisp up just before serving.

Flatbread dough

active time: 10 minutes to prep dough,

30 minutes to grill

yields: six 8- to10-inch flatbreads

1 cup whole wheat flour (5 oz.)

4 cups all purpose flour (16 oz.)

2 teaspoons salt

1  cups water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

¼ cup olive oil plus 2 teaspoons

Olive oil, divided

  • In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, 1/4 cup olive oil, flours and salt and stir (or mix on low speed) to combine wet and dry ingredients into a rough dough.
  • Either continue to mix on low speed or turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Using a pastry cutter, divide dough into six equal portions.
  • Spread a baking sheet with one teaspoon of olive oil and evenly space six portions of dough onto the sheet, turning to coat with oil.
  • Cover sheet with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rise for at least 8 hours.
  • Remove tray from refrigerator an hour before grilling to allow dough to come to room temperature.

To grill:

  • Preheat charcoal or gas grill.
  • Spread one teaspoon olive oil on a second baking sheet and, one at a time, gently press and stretch dough into an oblong shape.
  • With a swinging motion, place flatbread dough onto direct heat and cover your grill. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until underside shows light grill marks.
  • Flip flatbread onto indirect heat side of grill and top, spreading toppings evenly. Cover again and cook just until toppings have warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove flatbread, cut and serve.

Pumpkin, Caramelized Onion and Sage Flatbread

active time: 30 minutes to prep toppings,

10 minutes to grill

yields: two 8-10 inch flatbreads

2 portions flatbread dough

2 cups winter squash, peeled and cubed

1 cup Gruyere, or another alpine-style

cheese, grated

1 large yellow onion, sliced into half-circles

2 Tablespoons pepitas

15 leaves fresh sage

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400º F.
  • In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and fry sage leaves, 3 at a time, until crisp, 10 to 15 seconds. Place sage on a paper towel to drain. Reserve oil.
  • On a baking sheet, toss squash with nutmeg, a tablespoon of the remaining sage oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast squash until tender and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • While squash roasts, heat one tablespoon remaining sage oil over medium heat and add onion, sugar and a heavy pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook, without browning, until onions are thoroughly softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • On the grill: Top flatbread with caramelized onion, squash, cheese and pepitas. To serve, arrange fried sage leaves over top and drizzle with remaining sage oil. 

Beet Green, Potato and Garlic Oil Flatbread (vegan)

active time: 20 minutes to prepare toppings, 10 minutes to grill

yields: two 8-10 inch flatbreads

2 portions flatbread dough

1 bunch beet greens stalks included (from 3 to 4 large beets), finely chopped

1 medium-sized gold potato, steamed until tender and sliced

3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

½ teaspoons chili flakes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped roughly

Salt and pepper

  • In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and fry garlic slices until their edges begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, reserving oil.
  • Heat one tablespoon garlic oil in a large frying pan over medium high and sauté beet greens with a pinch of salt and pepper until greens begin to wilt. Add chili flakes and one tablespoon balsamic and continue to cook until vinegar appears mostly evaporated.
  • On the grill: Top flatbread with slices of potato, arrange beet greens over top and scatter with rosemary. To serve, arrange fried garlic slices over top and drizzle with remaining garlic oil and 1/2 tablespoon vinegar. 

Grape, Goat Cheese and Walnut Flatbread

active time: 5-10 minutes to prep toppings, 10 minutes to grill

yields: two 8-10 inch flatbreads

2 portions flatbread dough

¾ cup grapes, seeded if necessary, halved

4 oz. herbed fresh chèvre

2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 Tablespoon honey

1 sprig parsley

Pepper

On the grill: Spread flatbread with goat cheese, arrange grapes over top, and scatter with walnuts. To serve, arrange parsley over top, scatter with a pinch of black pepper and drizzle with honey.

Emily Teel is a food freelancer dedicated to sustainable, delicious food in Philadelphia.

See more of her work at emilyteel.com.