From herbed garlic flatbread to a sweet cinnamon-sugar version, these are some of the best ways to spice up an easy flatbread recipe for every meal.
Bread making has been the toast of quarantine these past five months. After this overflow of time to practice, who is ready to switch up their bread game from sourdough to spice-rich, herb-packed, all-around-amazing flatbread? We know we are. (Plus, it’s perfect for summer since it’s made on the stovetop—no turning on the oven to bake and heating up the entire house.)
Below I (Rachel Naar MS, RD, CDN of Rachel Naar Nutrition) and my intern Sarah Johnston share the perfect seasoning combos to add to any basic recipe to change it up, and some examples of what to serve your seasoned flatbread with. We’ll talk you through savory concoctions that will take your home-cooked dinner over the top and include a few sweeter combinations that can serve as a tasty breakfast bread, or end the night as your dessert. We’d love to see what you create. Tag @naartrition and use the hashtag #flatbreadfinesse so we can see your delicious experiments.
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Perfect for cooking any kind of flatbread.
Garlic, Onion, and Lemon Zest
Mince your garlic and dice your onion, the smaller the better. Once your flatbread dough is ready, throw these two in and knead a couple more times to make sure everything is distributed evenly. After baking, grate a small amount of the lemon peel and sprinkle along with a little lemon juice over top for some extra zest. This will create a delectable and refreshing bite that will satisfy all your taste buds. Additionally, garlic promotes heart health and is rich in phytochemicals, compounds that protect our cells from damage.
Thyme and Rosemary
Thyme and rosemary will bring an earthy, citrusy aroma to your entire kitchen that you can relish the rest of the day. Sprinkle these finely minced herbs on top of your flatbread after it’s already baked, or roll one (or both) into the dough before baking and add a small amount for garnish once it’s done. Dip in tzatziki or slather with feta cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes for a Greek-inspired snack. If you have high blood pressure, these two herbs can be an alternative to seasoning with salt while also providing extra flavor.
Fennel and Sichuan Pepper
What’s great about fennel: you can incorporate both the seeds and the leaves in your flatbread. Mix fennel seeds into the dough with a small bit of Sichuan pepper (both of these are often found in Chinese five spice powder, which you can also mix straight into the dough). After baking, sprinkle fennel fronds and a fine dusting of additional pepper over top. This combination will balance your flatbread between a mild anise flavor and a surprising, tingly kick from the Sichuan. Serve with something spicy like these Beef Burgers with Ginger and Cilantro or our Five Spice Roasted Chicken recipe and let all the flavors fuse together.
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar
Dessert time! Rub your warm flatbread with a cinnamon and brown sugar mix to bring a sweet, toasty taste into the arena. Don’t hesitate to scoop vanilla bean ice cream on the side, or cut your cinnamon brown sugar flatbread into long slices and use as dipping agents. You can also top with fruit and yogurt à la the below creation:
Turmeric and Ginger
Ginger will sweeten up the deep bitterness of turmeric, and what will you get? A new zing you hadn’t thought to try. The turmeric will also give your flatbread an alluring orange color that will brighten up your table. This one can be served as a sweeter appetizer with a softer cheese, such as ricotta, with fresh bell pepper slices and a drizzle of balsamic, but they would also pair well with a creamy coconut curry.
Fun fact about these two spices: They both have natural anti-inflammatory compounds that can help protect us against certain diseases, while ginger is known to have anti-nausea effects that can help a stomach ache.
Lavender and Oregano
We can smell this one already. Our last combination will bring the garden to your kitchen. Lavender’s floral taste is similar to rosemary or mint, but be careful not to use too much, or the aroma will overpower the other flavors in this flatbread. Start with just a few fresh lavender buds or a teaspoon of dried lavender as garnish. Add oregano directly into the dough of the flatbread or use this herb as a garnish as well. Enjoy with your favorite tea before bedtime—or when you wake up.
Related Reading: How to Cook and Bake with Lavender
A nutrition note to end on: Before heading straight to the dietary supplement aisle, it’s always best to try and incorporate these herbs and spices into your food first to reap their benefits. Our bodies often don’t need, or can even absorb, all of the compounds in dietary supplements if we are eating a wide variety of whole foods, so it is better to utilize them (to your liking) in cooking and baking. The bonus, of course, is that they help your delicious flatbreads and other nutritious meals taste terrific!
Header image courtesy of Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Moment / Getty Images