Meatless Monday: Flatbread Fiesta

Tonight was my first time making the homemade version of two things: flatbread and hummus. It all turned out pretty well I think.

I started by working on the hummus. I was guided by the recipe for super creamy Israeli hummus by Kenji at Serious Eats at: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/03/israeli-style-extra-smooth-hummus-recipe.html. But, of course, I didn’t really follow his recipe but made it my pirate own.

First of all, I cooked my beans in the Instant Pot for less time (20 minutes instead of 2 hours) and a cooler kitchen (heat index has been brutal lately). I don’t like as much lemon and tahini as Kenji suggests, and I wanted different spaces and flavoring so…pretty much not his recipe.

The part that really interested me was that Kenji says the secret to getting it really creamy is blend the chickpeas with some of their cooking liquid while they are still warm. So that part I kept. And I can report that the hummus was really creamy, even though I only had an immersion blender rather than the powerful blender Kenji recommends for this operation.

What was also great was that I could customize the flavorings as I liked. My family likes lots of garlic and lots of heat, so I added a good amount of garlic I got from Parker Farms and some fresh jalapeños I got from LB Farm. To get the kick I really wanted, though, I ended up adding a large dried chipotle pepper that wasn’t local, but did achieve the burn factor I was looking for.

Next I turned to what I was going to serve with the hummus on my flatbread. I had seen a recipe for zucchini butter that sounded good and I thought would make a nice contrast to the hummus. So first I gently sautéed an onion from Parker Farm, then grated four summer squashes into the pan.

Now, here’s where I made a mistake. I made my squash butter from pattypan and zephyr squashes because I think they are prettier. However, they turn out primarily yellow when grated. That’s fine, but I think the traditional green zucchini would have resulted in a darker green color that would have contrasted better with the hummus. Oh well…I’ll know better next time.

The zucchini butter is really easy because you cook the squash and onions at a low heat for about half an hour until the squash almost kind of disintegrates and everything becomes sort of the consistency of a dip. You just have to keep an eye on it, and if it starts to stick, throw some more water in the pot so things don’t burn. But it’s really easy and a good way to get some squash some people who think they don’t like squash. Once it was done, I had some spices to give it a little lift.

My flatbread dough was basically just whole wheat and yogurt with a little salt and baking powder. For that, I had started on Saturday by turning a quart of Maple View Farm whole milk into yogurt. The recipe says it has to be non-Greek yogurt to keep enough liquid in the dough, so I didn’t drain it on Sunday like I usually do (almost every Saturday when I come back from the Farmers Market, I put on a batch of either plain or chocolate yogurt that cooks all Saturday, chills and solidifies Saturday night, then drains much of Sunday to turn into Greek yogurt deliciousness).

Mixed up the dough, let it rest for 15 or so minutes (during that time was when I mixed up my warm, creamy hummus), and cooked it on the grill. Once they all got crispy, I covered the flatbread first with some hummus and then with some squash butter. I served them with some cherry tomatoes from Sapony Farm.

So it’s not much to look at, but it was a hit with my family. Just imagine it with green zucchini butter and it would look more impressive. But it was all homemade, all organic-ish, all seasonal food except the chickpeas, and all local…except for the chickpeas again. This is a vegan treat that doesn’t leave people feeling unfilled. Oh no, wait a minute, it isn’t vegan…it has milk in the dough. Whoops! But you could make it with non-dairy yogurt, or use a different recipe with non-dairy milk.

While I was working on all this, I got to thinking how flexible making a flatbread dish is. The next five weeks, I’m going to be doing a book study on Monday night, so I would have my usual time to cook and post about my Meatless Mondays. So I thought I would make August a Flatbread Fiesta and feature a different flatbread recipe from a different part of the world each week. This one was from Israel, I guess, but tune in the next several weeks to see other international takes on this universal dish.

PS–The great thing about this dish is that you don’t HAVE to make your own yogurt, hummus, and flatbread. The squash butter takes a little time, but that could be done in advance. If so, it would only take about 5 minutes to heat and construct this meal if you are in a rush.


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