I don't think it's a secret anymore... I'm a little food obsessed.
There are just few things in the world that I love more than cooking (and then devouring) a good meal. Having spent many years struggling with disordered eating, I'm more than ready to be done with my war with food, and excited to finally have transformed my food focus into something positive. And delicious.
But there is something I enjoy even more than creating a great meal: creating a great menu.
We're talking multiple dishes that all work together to create a comprehensive meal that's balanced, filling, not overwhelming, and consistent. Planning a menu is food + strategy. And anyone who knows me knows that I love strategy.
This past week we had guests over multiple times and I have been dreaming up menus nonstop. Cooking for my family is great because they're so honest and accepting of when my food is not always A+, but cooking for company is a greatly appreciated extra challenge. Today's challenge was a couple with one vegetarian and one hard core carnivore.
As a pseudo vegetarian (read: really bad at actually maintaining vegetarianism, but still trying!), I love vegetarian foods and reject the idea that they must be boring. This dish and the rest of the menu (coming soon) are proof that with bold flavors and contrasting textures, vegetarian food can be anything but dull.
This flatbread is one of three dishes I made as part of my Mediterranean menu. We enjoyed it with bruschetta stuffed portobello mushroom caps, a greek influenced farro salad, and some not at all Mediterranean chocolate banana souffles for dessert just because they're one of my favorite desserts to make for a crowd since they're just so effortless.
You'll get the rest of the recipes soon, but for now let's get back to business. This flatbread recipe.
This flatbread is all types of yums. It's crunchy, creamy, zesty, and full of good for you ingredients.
It's also super easy to make. We enjoyed it with homemade hummus and tapenade, but you can pick up store bought hummus and probably even olive tapenade for a SUPER simplified version. Don't do that though. Homemade is the best, and I promise it will only take you ten minutes.
Seriously, just take the ten minutes. This flatbread is totally worth it.
Hummus and arugula flatbread with zesty sun-dried tomato tapenade
Cook time: 35 minutes
Best homemade hummus (makes 2 batches)
2 15oz can of chickpeas
2 large lemon, juiced
1/2 cup tahini
2 large garlic clove, minced
2-3 tsp salt (add gradually)
1 tsp ground cumin
3-5 tbsp water (or more if too thick)
Zesty kalamata olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade
1/2 cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes, drained and rinsed
3/4 - 1 cup of halved kalamata olives
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (raw works too, but I like them toasted)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
small handful of fresh basil
2 sheets of Trader Joe's lavash flatbread, or any flatbread you prefer
1 cup baby arugula
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Start by making the hummus. Combine tahini and lemon in food processor and blend until mixed.
3. Add cumin and garlic and blend again. This lets the tahini whip to make creamier hummus
4. Rinse chickpeas thoroughly and add to the mixture along with salt and water as necessary. Set aside.
5. Once the hummus is done, lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and place flatbreads on the sheet. Cook in the oven for 6-10 minutes depending on how crispy you like them. This allows them to stay firm when topped with hummus.
6. While the flatbreads cook, combine olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and Parmesan in a food processor.
7. Remove flatbreads from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before spreading a liberal coat of hummus over them. Sprinkle the tapenade mixture on top and place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes
8. Once done cooking, top with arugula and serve.