CHICKPEA FLOUR FLATBREADS, ROCKET PESTO + VEGGIES – MAIN

I love the beginning of the Rugby Six Nations for the sole reason that it coincides with the coming of Spring!  There’s always a great atmosphere and I know lots of friends and families who gather at home to watch the games.

If you’ve signed up for the Lloyds Pharmacy Change Your Health Direction Programme, or have simply resolved to eat more nutritious, whole-foods for 2017, having friends and family over on match-day (or in general!) can be a challenge and its tempting to reach for the takeaway menus!  But what if you didn’t have to compromise?!

This veggie flatbread tastes like it should be a treat and yet its super-healthy! I used chickpea flour for the flatbread base – an ideal gluten and grain-free alternative to refined, white flour, and you will benefit from a higher protein and fibre content as well.

To keep the nutrient density up I made pesto with rocket leaves and walnuts, and used a variety of colourful vegetables as toppings.  You can add a little parmesan cheese, chilli oil or toasted pine nuts at the end for more flavour.

These are a winner with kids –  they love pizza, and bright colours so if you’re changing your entire family’s health direction, this is the recipe for you!

RECIPE

(makes 2 large flatbreads; serves  6-8)

For the flatbreads:

  • 2 cups of chickpea flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 good pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 6 Tbsp water

For the Rocket Pesto:  (if you really want to save time, use a good quality shop-bought basil or red tomato pesto)

  • 3 large handfuls of rocket leaves, washed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, you will need about 6 tbsp
  • A handful of walnut halves
  • A handful of grated parmesan (optional, you could use nutritional yeast as a dairy-free alternative)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Sea salt + black pepper

Toppings:

  • 1 courgette, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half-moon shapes
  • 1 long red pepper, cut thinly across the horizontal, into rings
  • 1 small golden beetroot, peeled and sliced very finely
  • Optional: shavings of Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese / toasted pine nuts / rocket leaves / chilli oil

Instructions:

For the flatbread:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpea flour, baking powder and sea salt. Pour in the olive oil and use your fingers to combine the mixture until it resembles a coarse crumb.
  2. Add the water by tablespoon, working the water in using your hands until the dough starts to come together. If after adding 6 tablespoons the dough feels too dry, add another tablespoon of water. Similarly, if the dough is sticky and wet, add a little extra chickpea flour. The dough should be pliable!
  3. Shape the dough into a smooth round and brush the surface with olive oil. Cover with a linen tea cloth and leave to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into two even pieces. Dust your worktop with chickpea flour and form one piece of dough into a disc. Flour the top of the dough and using a rolling pin (or a glass water bottle!) roll the dough into a thin 9-inch circle (or rectangular shape). If the edges crack just pinch them together. Repeat with the second piece of dough and don’t worry about creating perfect shapes!!

For the rocket pesto:

  1. Put the rocket into a for processor and add a good glug of olive oil to get it going. Pulse until the rocket is broken down (you might need to scrape the mixture down from the sides and pulse again).
  2. Add the walnuts, parmesan, garlic cloves and lemon juice and pulse again to combine.
  3. Scrape the mixture down from the sides one last time and replace the lid. Then switch on the blender and gradually pour the olive oil into the mixing bowl. You want to achieve a good spreadable consistency.

Prepare the vegetables:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to make courgette ‘ribbons’.
  2. Peel and finely slice the beetroot with a sharp knife or mandoline.
  3. Peel the red onion, cut it in half and then slice into ‘half-moon’ shapes, slice a long, thin red pepper horizontally, shake out the seeds and slice thinly into rings.

Assemble the flatbread:

  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F) with the baking sheets inside (I used one circular and one rectangular sheet)
  • When the oven is hot, carefully remove the baking sheets and set them down onto a heat proof surface. Transfer the flatbreads onto the pre-heated baking sheets.
  • Spread each flatbread with the rocket pesto and arrange the vegetables on top until the dough is covered. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the vegetables with olive oil.  Season with a little sea salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer the flatbreads into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes – 25 minutes until the edges of the dough are crispy and the vegetables are cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and dress with rocket leaves, pine nuts, chilli oil or parmesan shavings. Serve and enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Per 1 whole (plain) flatbread 476 20g 22g 53g 5g 12g
Per 1/6th (plain) flatbread recipe 159 7g 7g 18g 2g 4g
Rocket Pesto (per 1/6th recipe) 179 19g 2g 2g 0.5g 0.6g
Per 1/6th serving flatbread with pesto + toppings (not incl. extra parmesan / pine nuts. 370 26 10g 26g 5g 6g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

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