BBQ Chickpea Flatbread
INTERRUPTING MY CITRUS BINGE FOR JUST A SECOND...
To talk about BBQ pizza. If you're in/from/ever visited Boston, have you ever tried a slice of pizza from New York Pizza? I know, it seems the restaurant suffers from a small bought of geographical amnesia, but the point is, I consider myself a good eater, undistracted by trivial things like misleading names, and I make it a point to drop into this pizza parlor with anyone new in town to give them a fun show. Pizza pies stretched so wide, they hang out and over the industrial-grade pizza racks like my hips do in my skinny jeans. Of course the pizza only impresses those friends who like the New York style of pizza--oversized wedges big enough to feed two. Bigger than the paper plate it's shoveled onto. The pizza that, as soon as it's shoveled onto said supporting, flimsy, paper plate, saturates it with orange grease forcing you to toss the weary thing out and fold the pizza in half like any sane human. That pizza. The one with minimal toppings for maximum, city-life portability. Well NYP's version, smack dab in the center of Bean-town, is currently, in the words of Drake, "the best I ever had."
Like I was saying, BBQ Pizza. I was around to see it get ordered 2 times last week from people in my social circle, only days apart, and one time was at NYP. It inspired me to bring some of those flavors to the blog and test them out. Except today, I'm skipping the traditional, yeast-risen pizza dough base (which I recommend you do also, unless you have a pizza stone or pizza oven that gets your oven to such high temperatures) and building my toppings on my flatbread recipe, which is super crunchy and packed with fiber. I've always been a simple baby-bella-mushroom-pizza kinda girl. Nothing else. But, I think this recipe might make me a real BBQ believer.
Goodbye Chicken! Hello Chick...peas? : That's right instead of drenching shreds of poultry meat in BBQ sauce, we're turning our devotion and attention toward a good ole' golden can of protein-packed chickpeas! Hearty, nutty, starchy. Perfect little bites of bliss. The rundown is, I'm topping my favorite flatbread with sauteed red onions, cilantro, and of course, these BBQ-soaked legumes.
Our Flatbread: Is super crunchy and full of fiber. So if you like your flatbread this way, give ours a go.
Here's How I made it:
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp of your favorite BBQ sauce (Or try our Bourbon Beet BBQ Sauce)
Our Gluten-Free Flatbread Recipe, or other pre-cooked crust
6 ounces shredded cheese (I used a mix of part-skim mozzarella and 3 types of cheddar, you can also sub with Vegan Daiya cheese)
1 small red onion, cut into thin slices
handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, toss together the drained chickpeas with the 3 Tbsp of the BBQ sauce. Spread out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chickpeas soften and absorb all the BBQ sauce Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the flatbread. Turn the oven temperature up to broil.
WHY I BAKE THE TOPPINGS FIRST: I like to roast the chickpeas (and sometimes the onions) before I start assembling my pizza because it intensifies the flavors. The chickpeas get a chance to absorb all the the chili spices, tomatoes, vinegar, and tamarind from the BBQ sauce without a marinating step. It also helps bring out the starchy, potato-like texture of the beans, making the bite just that much more rich. If you're short on time though, you can definitely skip this step, and you'll still have a bomb-A flavor profile.
Spread the remaining BBQ sauce over the cooked flatbread crust. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over sauce, and top with the sliced red onions and the BBQ chickpeas. Place the flatbread back into the oven and broil until the cheese melts and begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes. Remove, slice, and serve immediately.
Not Pizza or Food Talk, but life talk: I'm trying to create some structure in my life. Not because I think structure is absolutely important to achieving success--I'm one of those spiritual hippies who don't--but because sometimes planning and structure can alleviate anxiety, which I've had uncontrollable surges of lately, and I've noticed can momentarily derail me from being in my ZONE. Even just loose planning, holding myself accountable (to myself) offers a strange feeling of freedom since I've started handling it like a casual conversation with myself. "Yes Jerrelle. You should probably do this already because then you can free your mind of the thought of whether or not it will get done." This encourages me, makes me feel more efficient, and still gives me options (in a way). Sometimes you just need to make action-based decisions when you find yourself being swallowed and imprisoned by the inability to DECIDE for fear of making the incorrect choice.
Truthfully, my "business" organically blossomed as a result of my passion, inspiration, and my stream of consciousness (which has no true structure but made me feel the most alive). It materialized under me with an intention to eventually turn into a business, but never the official decision to. I was just playing in the sand, so to speak, having fun, and trying to figure out how I wanted to go about turning it into something solid. For a few months, I didn't even answer to myself sometimes. Just running around, working off of spurts of inspiration, then other times making excuses and backing out of promises to myself when there was no inspiration, procrastinating, living with no real short short term goals (only long term), and feeling slightly lousy afterwards when no real progress was made. I soon grew tired of the extremities of the latest phase, and realized that taking away a little bit of my freedom of choice by finally deciding to decide, ultimately made me so much happier. Deciding to finally define my business by drawing a line between my rebellious and free-spirited personality and the responsibilities of a business, adds the right amount of structure to help me not get overwhelmed everyday, and I'm so happy I went through those phases to finally wake up to the beauty of planning.