Quick meals with flatbread

Author: Emma Knowles
Photography: Ben Dearnley

Leftover flatbread is smartly turned into a meal or snack when unexpected guests pop by or you want a quick party trick.

We're all acquainted with ways to use up leftover bread (think panzanella, crostini, pappa al pomodoro, bread sauce and breadcrumbs), but we're perhaps less familiar with uses for flatbread. Just like its fuller-figured relative, leftover flatbread can be put to good use as the basis of many a meal and snack. There's a host of flatbreads available; the flatbread used in these recipes is the Middle Eastern-style or Lebanese bread. Its versatility continues even after it's past its best-before date.

Bake flatbreads unadorned and crumble them through salads in the fashion of the classic Lebanese fattoush of mixed vegetables and fried pita - a great warm-weather go-to. This approach works well in all manner of salads; just be sure to serve the salad straight away so the flatbread remains crisp. To make simple crackers, meanwhile, cut flatbread into rough pieces, toss them with olive oil and spices such as cumin or paprika, then toast them in a hot oven. They'll keep well for a couple of days in an airtight container.

Labne and eggplant pizza
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 200C. Combine 2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl with 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1 tsp dukkah and finely grated rind of 1 lemon. Spread 4 large flatbreads with labne, scatter with 1 diced eggplant, drizzle with olive oil mixture and season to taste. Bake until eggplant is browned and tender (10-15 minutes), scatter with rocket and flat-leaf parsley and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Flatbread crisps with chickpea dip
Serves 6-8 as a snack
Preheat oven to 180C. Combine 1½ tbsp za'atar and finely grated rind of 1 lemon in a bowl. Brush 2 large flatbread lightly on both sides with olive oil and cut into 3cm x 6cm pieces. Place on a large baking tray, scatter generously with za'atar mixture, season to taste and bake until golden brown and crisp (5-6 minutes) and set aside to cool. Drain 400gm canned chickpeas and combine in a food processor with 2 tbsp hulled tahini, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 100ml olive oil. Season to taste, pulse to a rough texture, check seasoning and serve with flatbread crisps.

Tomato, feta and toasted flatbread salad
Serves 4 as a light meal
Preheat oven to 180C. Drizzle 2 large flatbreads with 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste, place on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake until golden brown and toasted (4-5 minutes). Cool, then break into shards. Combine 3 thickly sliced large oxheart tomatoes in a large bowl with 200gm halved mixed cherry tomatoes, ½ cup each chopped mint and flat-leaf parsley, 2 thinly sliced spring onions and 120gm crumbled feta. Drizzle with 50ml extra-virgin olive oil, ½ tbsp red wine vinegar and lemon juice to taste, toss to combine, then add half the flatbread and toss again. Scatter with sumac and serve with remaining flatbread.

Lamb, mint and sumac-stuffed flatbreads
Serves 4-6 as a snack or light meal
Preheat oven to 220C. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add ½ finely chopped Spanish onion and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and sauté until tender (3-4 minutes), then add 350gm minced lamb, 2 tsp sumac, 1 tsp dukkah, 1 tsp dried mint, ½ tsp dried chilli flakes and sauté until fragrant and lamb is well browned (3-4 minutes). Tip into a bowl to cool slightly, then stir in 1 lightly beaten egg and the finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, season to taste and mix well. Place 6 flatbreads on a work surface and spread half of each with lamb mixture, leaving a 1cm border, then fold over to enclose and form a half-moon shape. Place on lightly oiled oven trays, cover with a sheet of baking paper, then top with another baking tray. Bake, swapping trays partway through cooking, until crisp (7-8 minutes). Cut into wedges and scatter with extra mint and extra sumac and serve with thick natural yoghurt and lemon wedges.

Hot tip
+ Flatbread comes up a treat thrown on the barbecue. Its charry goodness works particularly well with haloumi hot from the grill.







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