Vegan Flatbread

[christine eating flatbread photo]Hi everybody, it’s Christine here with a special edition of Sweet-Tooth Friday.  Today we’re going to look at the flipside of the baking world and make our own bread.

Don’t  panic though — in this foolproof recipe there’s no yeast, no kneading, and no lengthy rising times.  And I promise, this flatbread recipe will bring just as many cheers to the table as any dessert!

Even though Sweet-Tooth Friday is supposed to be, well, sweet, this week I wanted to instead share a staple recipe in my repertoire, something I bake probably twice a month at home.  When I was making a batch of flatbread this week to go with some homemade hummus, I realized that if I found this recipe to be so useful, maybe you guys would appreciate it too.  Then I couldn’t believe I kept it to myself for so long!

It all started with the quest to make authentic naan at home.  Over the past two years I have tried recipes with yeast, both quick rises and overnight.  I tried recipes made with yogurt, made with eggs, and made with ghee.  I tried recipes cooked on a stovetop skillet, I played with focaccia recipes, and I even tried passing plain pizza dough off as the Indian classic.

[flatbread photo 3]

All of these were pretty time-consuming and deep down I wanted something weeknight-whip-up-able.  I might have been willing to compromise if any of the tastes had been a real homerun, but I was starting to think I needed to build a clay tandoor oven to actually get it right.

On top of all this, I was searching for a recipe without animal products.  The prices of pita and naan at the grocery store are appalling — I knew it would be possible to bake these at home for just pennies as long as there were no eggs and dairy.

I finally found the simplicity I was looking for without sacrificing a light texture and a nice chew.  I’ve been using this formula for awhile and can’t remember where I stumbled on the original.  However it’s been through several rounds of my tweeks by now so probably isn’t too recognizable anymore.

Even though it’s not exactly authentic naan, I use some whole wheat flour to let myself be more comfortable eating the bread on a regular basis.  I also use canola oil as a healthy alternative to shortening or ghee.  I bake mine in a cast-iron skillet in the oven.  If you don’t have cast iron I would suggest a baking stone first, and finally a cookie sheet.

[flatbread on plate photo]

Vegan Flatbread Recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 3 tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Optional: chopped fresh cilantro, 1 clove chopped garlic

Preheat the oven with pan inside to 400 degrees.
Put ice in the water to really get it cold while you prepare the ingredients.
Mix together the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Stir in the canola oil until uniformly distributed.  If you want, stir in garlic or handful of chopped cilantro to taste, but it is just fine served plain.
Measure one cup of water (don’t use the ice) and stir into mixture until the dough becomes one ball.

On a clean countertop or smooth cutting board, spread out a nice handful of flour.  Coat your hands with the flour and place the dough on floured surface.  Fold it in half just a few times so it is easy to work with and not sticky.  Divide the dough into 8 roughly equal balls.  (Divide the dough in half, then each half in half, then each of those halves in half.)  Add some more flour to the surface if you need to, then take one ball and smoosh it with your palm.  Rub some flour on your rolling pin, then roll the dough until it is about a 6 to 8 inch circle.  Usually half way during rolling, I pick the circle up and flip it over to make sure it isn’t sticking.  If the dough is snapping right back, just put the circle to the side and start with a new ball.

[flatbread photo 1]

When all the balls are rolled into flat discs, redust your surface with flour and further roll out the ones that were not cooperating.  They should behave after their time-out.  I like to roll them all a second time to get them pretty thin, to almost 9-10 inches in diameter.

[flatbread photo 2]

Carefully place a disk of dough into the pan in the oven.  I didn’t have to grease my cast-iron pan because it is seasoned.  Bake for 3 minutes, then remove with tongs.  It should have several blistery bubbles.  If you are using a ridged pan, the ridges should be indented and the rest of the dough slightly puffy.  If you want a very flat bread like the triangles pictured, flip the disk over using tongs after a minute and a half of baking.

[flatbread in pan photo]

Repeat with the remaining disks.

So that’s it!  Easy-peezy, cheap, and quick!  Once you get the hang of it, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to mix the dough and roll out the circles.  The total baking time for all 8 pieces is 24 minutes (unless you have two pans going), so I try to plan and use that time for chopping veggies or cleaning up the dishes.

This recipe is super versatile.  I’ve served it as naan to go with Matt’s sweet-potato and chickpea curry, as the pita-like dipping vehicle for black bean hummus, and even as a Taco Bell “Gordita” style tortilla with bean tacos.  It’s also an excellent addition to “peasant” themed meals.

I hope you find this recipe as useful as I do!  There is nothing like being able to bring freshly baked bread to the dinner table.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I promise next week I’ll put the SWEET back in Sweet-Tooth Friday!

xoxo, Christine

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  1. Looks good, I don’t know why I never think to make my own.
    Do you think spelt flour would work?

  2. This looks wonderful! I love making my own bread and it’s amazing how many little ingredients it has 🙂
    .-= EatingRD´s last blog ..amazing experience =-.

  3. AWESOME! I want to try! I can think of a million uses for this bread. Thanks for the recipe

  4. Can’t wait to try this! Sounds delicious. Will have to go dig out the cast iron pan.

  5. Great recipe! Like Megan, I’m interested in trying it with spelt flour so I’ll report back to see if it works just as well.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..happy love your body day! =-.

  6. This is definitely link-worthy–thank you for sharing your secrets. I can’t wait to share this with my readers!

    Casual Kitchen
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..CK Friday Links–Friday October 23, 2009 =-.

  7. Hey Megan and Heather,
    I’ve never tried this recipe with spelt flour. Spelt is cool because it has higher protein, vitamins and minerals than normal wheat. However, subbing spelt can be a problem with breads because it has a lower gluten content, but since this is flatbread we don’t have to worry about the rising, though it may not be as chewy. Spelt is pretty soluble in liquid which can make the dough too wet, so start with just 3/4 cup of the water and then add more tablespoon by tablespoon as needed. I think using spelt in combination with whole wheat or all-purpose will bring the best results. Let me know how it goes!!

    • Hi Christine, I tried to make this today using spelt flour and following this guide. It was rather salty for my taste so next time I’ll cut the salt. Also it tasted more like a biscuit. 😀
      I was actually looking for no-yeast bread recipe and no baking soda or powder, either. I know it’s kinda chewy but my husband wants me to make it and I can’t seem to find a recipe for it. Shall I just omit the yeast in my normal bread recipe?

  8. Ahhh! I love homemade bread…can’t wait to try!!
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Hail Mary: 14 Mile Training Run =-.

  9. Vegan flat bread looks great, easy enough for me to try out too.
    .-= Nicci@NiftyEats´s last blog ..Hello Mates, It’s Monday =-.

  10. Yuuum! I just pulled these out of the oven and they are fantastic! I can’t stop eating them. My first attempt at bread – very exciting! Thank you so much!

  11. Hi Flannery,
    THANKS for trying out my recipe and commenting! It really makes my day to hear that you enjoyed it!

  12. Saw your link from the flatbread recipe page. I really need to make my own bread more often. The less preservatives we all eat the better. You’ve inspired me!

  13. Dear all Vegans,
    I would like to apologize, for the several years I have been anti vegeterian and anti vegan due to it getting pounded into my head by old school chefs. After a couple months of research, wishing to rejuvenate a restaurant I stumbled on the wonderful and delicious world of vegan cuisine. Thanks to mother nature I am able to put out some of the healthiest and flavorful meals of my life which has been a great help in rebuilding the restaurant.

  14. Christine,

    Thanks for your Vegan Flatbread recipe. I just finished making a batch and it came out great. I am not a big fan of white flour so I wonder how this recipe would be with all whole wheat flour. Have you ever tried it? What changes would you make to amounts if any?

  15. This recipe rocks! I did a little tweeking though. I use 2c whole wheat flour with 1c brown rice four instead of the white and I use olive or sesame oil instead of canola. My whole family loves it. I put a little vegan spread on and it tastes like a homemade biscuit.YUM!!!

  16. I’m really excited to try this, but as a single girl, I doubt I can eat the entire batch before it goes stale. Has anyone tried freezing this bread (pre- or post-bake)?

  17. Thanks SO much for this recipe!! I am in the process of converting our home to vegan, and this is definitely going to be a go-to recipe for a lot of dinners! I altered it a bit, I added 1/2 cup of rice protein powder (for the kids’ needs), so I had to add 1/2 – 3/4 cup of extra water, and then I also added a tablespoon or so of oil – I used olive oil instead of canola. I also don’t have any whole wheat flour on hand, so I used all purpose for all 3 cups. And I tried the oven for the first piece, and it didn’t turn out right, so I heated up a skillet on the stop top instead and it came out perfect! We paired it as a sandwich with some eggplant that I cooked up! It was so filling and delicious! Thanks again!

  18. Great recipe! I added garlic as suggested but substituted sage for the cilantro and it was really nice with bean burgers. I’m sure we will use this a lot, so thanks 🙂

  19. Very much looking forward to trying this recipe this evening, to go with chickpea curry and brown basmati rice! <3

  20. Mariah says:

    I tried these today and they went great with my hummus, “they were sooo good” –my boyfriend’s words! I am a newbie-vegan and still trying to find easy, cheap recipes. This is a deliciously affordable pita recipe.

  21. I just made these and they turned out awesome! Thanks for the recipe. I substituted pureed apples (applesauce) for the oil along with 1/2 cup flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of oat flour for the 1 cup of all purpose flour.

  22. This was delicious! We used these to make vegan flatbread pizzas, and they worked perfectly. Thanks so much for the recipe! 🙂

  23. This is so amazing. Usually whole wheat is dense and lacks that soft pliableness of it’s white counterpart…..BUT THIS! I used all wheat and voilaaaaaaa. It stores well in the refrigerator and is delicious reheated (with hummus!). Made it last week and am making it again today.

    Thank you SO much!

  24. Matt S. says:

    Very easy and Very Yummy. I cooked them stove top with my cast iron skillet. I found I got more of the bubbles that way. I triples the garlic and cut the salt by half. Perfect!

  25. Does it work with rye flour instead of whole wheat?

  26. Just want to thank you the recipe. It has become a sort of staple. Also wanted to mention that you can use a regular stainless steel oven proof frying pan (with no plastic handle) instead of cast iron, or you can use a regular baking dish as well. Both worked really well for me. I’ve been making pizza with these as the dough. Amazing.

  27. I’ve looking for a crust recipe for vegy pot pie, Do you think this will work?

  28. Thank you for this. A quick and simple no-yeast pita bread is just what I need to stop buying store bread without removing PB&J and garlic dip from my life!

    I think there may be an error with the salt, I used only 2 tsp instead of a tbsp (3 tsp) and still found the finished product to be aggressively salty. Personally I also found they required slightly more than 3 minutes to cook, but I was using a cookie sheet not a warm cast-iron which I believe explains that.

    EXCELLENT recipe though, so easy and good. Use olive oil instead of canola for a mediterranean flavor (goes great with the original salt value)

  29. Nia Lorre says:

    I made this as written and I am very sad to say, I am going to have to throw it out. It is insanely salty as written. Also, it was unpleasantly dry. I wish I had seen the other comments about the salt error or had not second guessed myself. I should have known that was at least 3 times too much salt.

  30. Thanks for reminding me how easy a flat bread is to make. Onward towards our journey!

  31. I have been using this recipe for upwards of 6 years now as a great pizza crust. I half the recipe and add things such as chia seeds, hemp hearts. I then bake it for 5 mins before I put toppings on. Such a great recipe, and I feel somewhat healthy when I make pizza now!

  32. Try this one…
    1 cup mashed sweet potato
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    Divide into 6 – 8 pieces. Roll out flat. Cook on a hot griddle 1 minute each side.

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