Flatbread Sandwiches: Cool Kitchen, Hot Summer Meal

Here in Minneapolis we have been having a heat wave, and while grilling out can be a great way to keep the kitchen cool, some days it’s just too hot to even do that. So we came up with a quick and easy meal to help beat the heat, a dinner that just requires some stove top time and easy prep.

This simple sandwich is made by using our naan flatbread recipe (click for recipe), which doesn’t require turning on the oven.  It can be filled or served with anything, but this summer my family has enjoyed stuffing it with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, caramelized onions, and then topping it off with our cucumber-yogurt sauce. Rotisserie chicken picked up at the grocery store will make this extra easy, and caramelized onions can be switched out for sliced, raw ones, if you don’t want to take the extra step there. The yogurt sauce is as easy as mixing 1 large yogurt container, 1 shredded cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, and salt to taste.

To make this flatbread ‘sandwich sized’, I used 1/4 pound dough instead of 1/2, and used 1 tablespoon butter to fry the bread instead of 2. I prepped all the sandwich fillings before hand, and then served with the warm, fresh flatbread. It’s a delicious, easy, summer meal.

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43 thoughts on “Flatbread Sandwiches: Cool Kitchen, Hot Summer Meal

  1. It appears that you “blind bake” the small pizzas first to get the brown baked spots on the top side. Then you remvove them from the oven and apply the toppings to the side that is baked and bake them again. Is that what you are doing or did I miss something? Your instructions did not include the blind baking step.
    Your photos for browning the onions was stellar! Thank you for such a gastronomic photo trip!
    Art

    • Art: Not baked blind, the confusion is the order of the pictures. Those are finished pizzettes. It’s not necessary.

  2. We’ve been making naan in our cast iron dutch oven (on the grate) whenever we have our fire pit going. It is marvelous!

  3. This sounds like a timely & delicious idea! I am wondering, tho, is it possible to make bread by this method without the fat/butter/oil?

      • Thanks a bunch, Jeff! I don’t mind a tiny bit of oil when necessary – I just try to minimize it as much as possible. Appreciate the help : )

    • Another option is to opt for peanut oil, palm kernel oil, almond oil, walnut oil or another healthy oil that adds to your dietary needs for the day!

  4. If you are concerned about no fat/butter/oil, you must be concerned about calories of your bread. I have chosen to make Pita Bread instead of flat bread for that reason. Pita bread makes a great sandwich at half the calories of flatbread (because you only need half of a round to make the same sandwich). Besides being lower calories per bite, the bread stores well and nothing falls out of the end of the sandwich when you pick it up.
    Zoe and Jeff have some great recipes in their book ARTISAN PIZZA & FLATBREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY.

    • Actually, my concern is not calories, but heart health – we have had too many strokes & heart attacks in our family. I try to follow the advice of Drs. Campbell & Esselstyn (Forks over Knives, The China Study) as much as I can.

      I love pita in winter, but in summer we try not to use the oven, so this bread sounds like a great option if I can get it to work with little or no oil : )

      • Thanks for the suggestion, Jeff. Unfortunately, grilling is forbidden in our community (fire code), and I have an extreme medical sensitivity to sun – so outdoor cooking isn’t for me. If I experiment and find a great indoor solution, I hope to post it : )

      • Wow! I did it! It worked!

        I used a light spray of olive oil (from a pump-style sprayer), and prepared it in my non-stick skillet with a glass lid. It was fun to watch it bake. It is totally delicious- we’re having it for an evening snack even as I type.

        Too often we end up buying bread in the summer so as to avoid turning on the oven in hot weather- this recipe will improve our summer dining a lot!

        Thanks for another phenomenal recipe to add to our summer bread repertoire : )

      • Today, for lunch I made this bread in a nonstick (teflon) pan with a glass lid and NO OIL! It worked great : )

        And, I discovered that if I leave it in the pan about a minute extra before turning, a nice pocket devlops! Kinda like an extra-chewy, stovetop pita : )

        With a glass lid, it’s easy to watch and decide if you want a naan or a pocket-bread.

      • If you are concerned about heart health use cold pressed olive oil. The older Italians are known for shooting back a shot glass of olive oil daily and they have the lowest rate of heart disease in the world!
        You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg either- stay away from the pricey name brands and look for an oil that is dark in colour and says ‘extra virgin cold pressed’.
        Our bodies need good fats and if you restrict those that is more harmful to your heart.
        We cook everything in olive oil.

    • Naan can be made with any yeast bread recipe, I have found. I have used the basic recipe from ABin5 and I have had equal success using the sourdough starter I have on hand AND I have used just a plain old bread dough recipe I got years ago. I “fry”/cook the rolled out dough rounds on a DRY (no cover) cast iron frying pan, turning, when brown areas appear on the bottom side, to finish the cooking. I have made various sizes depending on the need. Beats “store bought” hands down!!!

      • Doreen: I’ve done that too, with little or no oil in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.

  5. Love your site! Are there any recipes that you have that could be sent in a college care package? The kid is a bread lover and ate every loaf I’ve made from your books! It needs to survive a two day mailing!
    Thanks again!

    • Shelley: Stuff doesn’t hold well for two days, but the more sourdough-character, the better (older dough). And staying away from pure white loaves will help. No pita.

      But I’m not super-hopeful.

    • Depending on the kid’s refrigerater situaton…..how about the care package be a lesson in AB5 baking? Or give the lesson over Thanksgiving or Winter Break….and send him/her back w/ supplies.

      Do I sense an interactive Holiday gift?

      • Helen is right! We gave lessons to a young college friend & a copy of the book. Her parents were so delighted when she made them bread when they visited! It’s a perfect college-student gift : )

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I saw it on-line in the morning, headed straight for the kitchen and made a batch of dough because I wanted it to be ready by lunchtime. Luckily I had all the ingredients for the sandwich filling on hand too. My kids (3 and 5 years old) loved it!

  7. If I am understanding this and the other post about Naan – its about the cooking technique that should work with lots of doughs?

    I have 7 grain (instead of the 10 grain due to allergies) dough I would like to try. This I would use for sandwiches.

    I have the maple cinnamon oatmeal dough as well. I was considering this for breakfast with fruit. Or with cinamon sugar for snacks or dessert.

    How do you think these would turn out? Do you think I could make smaller ones with more than one in the pan?

      • Jeff,

        Made my fist naan with the 100% whole wheat oatmeal maple dough. I use European butter and when I turned it used cinnamon & sugar light dusting.

        It was a yummy dessert. I will make it again. The ease and speed of this technique is almost magical. Easy for last minute for any meal.

        Tomorrow I want to try the 7 grain to use with a spinach pesto shrimp salad.

        Thank you and Zoe for the wonderful books and this blog.

        Angela

  8. Traditionally in Tandoor ovens,one side of the roti or naan (raw flattened dough) is applied with water…to make it stick to oven walls,so just pat your wet fingers on the dough couple of times…it should not be dripping wet….then press it on to hot pan….or whatever utensil you are using…but it should be hot….then cover for about a minute or two….let it cook….then loosen it with steel spatula or flipper…flip it over or broil the bread under the broiler for a minute….

    This will result in Naan with the flat surface with crisp bottom and brown spots on top…..usually when it comes out piping hot out of oven, I brush it with butter or garlic butter….yummmmm!

  9. I wondered if I can keep a non enriched dough for longer than 2 weeks. When is a sough dough not desirable?

    I sort of feel like if it doesn’t have mold it should be fine since people keep starters for years.

    • Angela: for my own use, I’ve tried longer. Won’t have as much rising power at that point. It’s a matter of taste as far as how far to go, but I’m not crazy about it beyond four weeks.

      • Jeff,

        I had some 7 grain (10 grain recipe but due to allergies had to skip the Bobs and use Hodgson Mills). It was about 19 days.

        Following your knowledge about the low rise, I used it for a pizza. It was wonderful with a slight sourdough taste. I also did some naans with it and froze those to see how that goes. I liked how both turned out.

      • Hi Angela,

        I love the idea of using the dough for pizza! Thanks for the idea.

        Cheers, Zoë

  10. I bought your book just yesterday and made these yesterday – AMAZING! So excited to try out loads of different variations and recipes!!

    • Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much for trying the recipes, we’re thrilled that you are already baking after just one day with the book! :)

      Enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  11. Made this flatbread tonight and it was amazing. I used the Olive Oil Dough – very tasty and the perfect meal for a warm evening.

  12. Is there any reason I couldn’t use a good commercial gluten-free ap flour (like C4C or Better Batter) in this recipe? I’ve had really good luck with these in other recipes (even chicken & dumplings!). It’s so cool having more gf options now than there were five years ago. Thanks!

  13. I have your AB in five book and have enjoyed the recipes. I’ve made several recipes, all with great success. Last week, I prepared the dough to make your Naan recipe. I must say that the dough was very difficult to work. I could not stretch without the dough recoiling. I let it sit for 5 min or so thinking it would make it easier but it didn’t.
    Any idea what would cause this problem?

    • Using bread flour? Otherwise consider a 40 to 60 minute rest after shaping the ball you’ll use for the naan. That usually relaxes it. Your 5 min-rest idea is good, consider repeating a couple of times as you stretch. Use a rolling pin…

      • I did use bread flour and also a rolling pin. With each pass with the rolling pin, the dough recoiled.
        Next time, I’ll try using just AP flour and allow for a 60 min rest.
        Thanks for the info.

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