Meat Free Mondays – Spinach Artichoke Flatbread

Flatbreads are like pizza in the same way paninis are like grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s pretty much the same thing, except a little classier.

I like flatbreads on a number of different levels. For one, they are a lighter alternative to heavy pizza, making them perfect for outdoor dining or a light appetizer.

For two, they are really inexpensive to make, but people are willing to spend money on them. In some restaurants I’ve worked, flat breads were a popular seller and they only had about a 12% food cost. Compare that to the industry average of 27% and you can see why they are an appealing item to put on a menu.

Plus they are very simple to make because you usually don’t make the flatbread yourself. In most places, I’ve bought lavash bread, which is a Middle Eastern bread that is sort of like a cross between a pita and a tortilla.

In this recipe, however, I found these wonderful spinach tortillas. They gave just the right flavor to this flatbread, plus they crisped up wonderfully in the oven. It was like eating off of giant spinach-flavored crackers.

One of my favorite appetizers of all time is spinach and artichoke dip. The flavor of this flatbread reminded me of that dish, with its tart artichoke, iron-rich spinach and sweet grated parmesan.

But the beautiful thing about flatbreads is that you can make them with anything. I’ve used pulled barbequed chicken, beans and corn, even flaky fish. They are pretty much fool-proof and a consistent crowd pleaser.

So now that the weather’s warming up and soon we will be able to dine outdoors occasionally, start thinking about what kinds of flatbreads you can make for your family. They are fast, easy, inexpensive and, most of all, delicious.

Spinach Artichoke Flatbread

2 spinach tortillas

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rough chop

4 oz crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup fat free blue cheese dressing

1/2 cup fat free ranch dressing

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay tortillas out on sheet pan and spray with pan spray. Flip and spray other side. Bake in oven until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. This can be done up to a day ahead of time.

2. Combine ranch and blue cheese dressings in a mixing bowl, then brush mixture on the bottom of both tortillas. Arrange spinach, green onions and chopped artichoke hearts in an even layer, then sprinkle with blue cheese. Finally, sprinkle with parmesan.

3. Return to oven and bake until slightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cut into four large peices for an entree, or eight smaller peices for an appetizer and serve immediately.

What kinds of dishes do you make when the weather starts to get warmer? Share your ideas in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!