When my friend Jenny first moved to Portland, I took her to Ken’s Artisan Pizza where we enjoyed some truly amazing pies.
My favorite was a perfectly seasonal summer pizza sprinkled with toppings of zucchini, corn, and pickled peppers. While Ken’s was topped with ricotta salata, I went with a creamy, salty, and cheese pull-tastic blend of fresh ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella.
My flatbread recipe is loosely inspired by Ken’s pizza and uses similar primary ingredients, but you don’t need a wood fired oven or expert pizzaiolo skills to put them together for an easy weeknight dinner.
The dough our Easy No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe, and it bakes up wonderfully chewy and bubbly. It’s actually even better if you can let it rest in the fridge for a day or two before making your flatbread.
I enjoy this flatbread on its own as an appetizer, or paired with a simple green salad for lunch or dinner. It pairs well with a glass of dry white wine or a crisp pilsner, too.
Pizza vs. Flatbread
In the debate of what makes a flatbread vs. a pizza you’ll sometimes see the explanation that flatbreads are made with unleavened dough, while pizzas are made with yeasted dough. This doesn’t always hold true, though.
Another “known” difference is that pizzas are often round, while flatbreads tend to be oblong in shape, but this is also not always true. I’ve seen plenty of flatbreads made on pizza dough, and they can vary in shape (as can pizzas).
One thing that tends to distinguish flatbreads more often than not is that they’re not made with your typical pizza combination of red sauce + cheese + toppings. Usually, flatbreads are lighter on the toppings, and lack a layer of sauce or are drizzled with olive oil.
How to Shape Flatbreads
Shaping pizza dough for these oval-shaped flatbreads is much more forgiving than trying to create a perfect round for pizza. The more irregular they are in shape, the more charming and rustic they’ll end up looking. It’s a fun activity for kids to get involved in the kitchen, too.
- Use lots of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the board or your hands as you shape and stretch it.
- To shape the dough, alternate between tossing it and using a rolling pin, until it relaxes and stretches to your desired size.
What’s in this Flatbread!
Consider this recipe a base recipe. You can use it as a jumping off point for other ingredients. Here are the flavor combos I enjoy using when making summertime flatbreads.
Cheese: I like to mix up a blend of cheeses to top my flatbreads—combining mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan makes for a nice balance. I also add garlic and basil to the cheese mixture, for an even more flavorful base.
Toppings: In the summertime, the vegetarian topping combination of zucchini, corn, and peppers can’t be beat.
Peppers: The oil-packed pickled peppers I sprinkle on are a local-to-me, Pacific Northwest brand called Mama Lil’s. Any pickled peppers will work well—just go with whatever spice level you enjoy. Widely available Mezzetta sliced jalapeño peppers come in spicy and “tame” varieties, and you can find mild and hot versions of other pickled peppers, too.
Flatbread Swaps and Substitutions
This flatbread recipe is prime for Summer, but of course, it can be made with other combinations of seasonal ingredients. Get creative and use a combination of your favorite in-season produce, and it’s hard to go wrong.
- For Fall: Swap in chopped sage for the basil and use toppings of cubed roasted butternut squash and sliced mushrooms.
- For Spring: Top your flatbreads with asparagus, peas, and green onions.
- For Winter: Try a topping of thinly sliced gold potatoes, gruyere cheese, and thyme, then arrange slices of prosciutto on top of the flatbread after baking.
How to Store Leftover Flatbread
Just like leftover pizza, you can easily reheat leftover flatbread for lunch the next day. Refrigerate any leftovers in a tightly lidded container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. I wouldn’t keep it around for more than an extra day or two, as the crust can start to dry out when it’s stored longer than that.
To reheat, I place a few slices in the toaster oven for five minutes or so, until hot. You can also reheat leftover flatbread on the stovetop in a skillet over medium-low heat, covered, until heated through.
Summer Flatbread with Corn, Zucchini, and Pickled Peppers
This recipe uses our No Knead Pizza Dough. You can make it the morning of or up to 48 hours in advance.
- 2 pounds of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 basil leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
- 4 tablespoons sliced pickled peppers
Make the dough, preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet:
If making the pizza dough from scratch do that first. You can make it up to two days ahead of time or in the morning, if you want to have the pizza for dinner the same day.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Shape the flatbreads:
Transfer the prepared pizza dough to a floured work surface and divide it into four pieces.
Working with one dough ball at a time, using a rolling pin and your hands, stretch and shape the dough, shape it into a rough oval, about 6 inches wide by 12 inches long. Place the dough onto a lined baking sheet, then repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, to make four flatbreads.
You should be able to fit two flat breads on each baking sheet.
Make the cheese mixture:
In a medium bowl, combine the mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, basil, and salt. Set aside.
Assemble the flatbreads:
Use your hands to evenly distribute the cheese mixture over the flatbreads, then top them with the zucchini, corn, and pickled peppers.
Bake the flatbreads:
Bake the flatbreads, until the cheese is bubbly and browned and the crust is browned on the bottom and around the edges, about 20 minutes. Rotate your baking sheets halfway through baking so that the flatbreads bake evenly.
Garnish flatbreads, cut into slices and serve:
Remove the flatbreads from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Cut each flatbread into four slices and serve right away.