What is flatbread? Flatbread is leavened dough which is flattened out with your bare hands or rolling pins and then pan-fried or oven-baked. Great on its own, or with your favorite dips.
Flatbread is also used as pizza crust, welcoming any combination of toppings to enjoy it with. Flatbread has a soft texture and can be fluffy when yeast is included in the mix.
To learn how to make my flatbread from scratch, check out my quick and easy flatbread recipe! It doesn’t contain any yeast, so that means it requires no overnight proofing and saves time.
For this recipe, I’m baking a Caprese flatbread, which is essentially a Caprese salad on dough. Caprese is a simple Italian salad which features the colors of the Italian flag: red, white and green.
You don’t need to book a flight ticket to Italy to try Caprese (though it’s a smart excuse to travel!). It’s a staple menu item in many Italian restaurants. Better yet, make it yourself at home.
A simple Caprese topping has a creamy base of fresh mozzarella cheese, followed by layers of sliced red tomatoes and sprigs of fresh basil. Italian seasoning brings it all together with olive oil and garlic. I like to grate parmesan cheese at the end just to enhance the flavor.
Keep reading to learn how to make a truly Italian Caprese flatbread step-by-step, as well as a variety of toppings to get creative with.
- Flatbread – If you want to get really hands-on and knead your own flatbread, visit this blog post for my easy flatbread recipe. Otherwise, skip this step and get 2 pieces of store-bought flatbread crust.
- Olive oil and garlic – Brushed generously over flatbread, olive oil and garlic will infuse the flatbread with loads of flavor and keep it from losing moisture in the oven.
- Pesto – Pesto doesn’t appear in traditional Caprese salad, but it makes for such a great add-in!
- Cherry tomatoes – These bright red tomatoes are juicy and promise a mildly sweet flavor. Alternatively, use a regular tomato or a beefsteak tomato, sliced about ½ inch thick.
- Fresh mozzarella – The traditional cheese used in Caprese flatbreads.
- Grated parmesan – Garnish over the flatbread for extra flavor. This is optional.
- Fresh basil – Rinse basil leaves and julienne (cut into long thin strips). Sometimes I skip this step, using sprigs of whole basil leaves instead.
- Balsamic reduction – Also known as balsamic glaze, this is available in supermarkets. It has a thicker consistency and is darker than balsamic vinegar.
Step One: Make my quick and easy flatbread recipe and par-bake as instructed. You can also just purchase two store-bought flatbread crusts.
Step Two: Heat the oven to 500˚F. Dust 2 baking sheets with cornmeal and place flatbread on top.
Step Three: In a small bowl, mix olive oil and minced garlic. Using a brush, cover the entire flatbread all the way to the edges with the olive oil and garlic mixture. This ensures the crust gets nice and crispy and tastes amazing.
Step Four: Spread the pesto evenly on the two flatbread crusts.
Step Five: Layer the toppings on the flatbread. Arrange mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes (you can decorate them going around the flatbread, or randomly place them as you like).
Step Six: Bake the flatbread for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. The edges of the crust should gradually turn a dark golden brown.
Step Seven: Remove the flatbread from the oven and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Finally, drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Other Toppings & Variations
Flatbread is very versatile, essentially being an alternative to pizza dough. Get creative with the toppings and see what you make! I’d love to try these toppings and variations next time:
Make it vegan:
Instead of mozzarella cheese, use a plant-based stracchino cheese. This is creamier and has a liquid-like texture, but is a great substitute for dairy cheese.
Make it Greek:
To make it Greek (and vegan!), spread sundried tomato pesto on the flatbread, load up with a handful of salad leaves, pitted olives, and finish off with plain Greek yogurt.
Top it off with steak salad:
I have a recipe for a steak salad, and I think spooning some of that onto a flatbread will make for a pretty good pizza, too!
A hot pastrami variation:
Imagine biting into a flatbread drizzled with caesar salad dressing, pastrami, pickles, onion, and swiss cheese. Yum!
If you’re like me and can’t get enough of Italian food, here are some recipes you might like:
- Cauliflower Pizza Bianco
Caprese Flatbread Recipe
- 2 flatbreads from my flatbread recipe or store-bought flatbread
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3/4 cup pesto
- 1 ½ cups fresh mozzarella sliced
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes halved
- balsamic glaze drizzled
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil julienned
- parmesan freshly grated
- Make my quick and easy flatbread recipe and par-bake as instructed. Or purchase two store-bought flatbread crusts.
- Heat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust 2 baking sheets with cornmeal and place flatbread on top.
- In a small bowl, mix olive oil and minced garlic. Brush flatbreads with the olive oil garlic mixture all the way to edges covering the entire flatbread. This ensures the crust gets nice and crispy.
- Divide pesto between the two crusts into an even layer.
- Top with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Spread halved cherry tomatoes evenly overtop.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of crust start to get dark golden brown.
- Remove from oven and top with sprinkle of parmesan cheese, fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.