We’re shining a spotlight on flatbread this summer—you should do the same! Let our chef show you how flatbreads freshen up your same old sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and appetizers.
Flatbread, says chef and Panera Bread® Food Team member Tom Sadler, is more than merely an ingredient—it’s a carrier. “With flatbread, you can turn any food into a handheld food,” he says. “Just about every culture has its own version of flatbread, and it’s often used in rustic fare. But it can also be dressed up and elegant.” Grill it, toast it, roll it, fold it, press it, stack it, pack it—flatbread is as versatile as it is delicious!
Which is exactly why we’re featuring it in some of our new creations at Panera. Our Mediterranean Chicken, Thai Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, and BBQ Chicken Flatbread Sandwiches take their flavor inspiration from around the world, with bold ingredients layered on our freshly baked flatbread.
So what can you do with flatbread this summer? We asked Tom for a few ideas.
Pizza: Set up a pizza bar with bowls of your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings. Let everyone create an individual masterpiece. Flatbread pizzas are delicious grilled over a low flame or baked right on the rack in a hot oven. For an extra-crispy “crust,” toast the flatbread for a minute or two before adding toppings.
Panini: Layer grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, garden tomatoes, and basil leaves on one half of a flatbread. Fold the other half over to cover the filling. Toast the sandwich in a panini press until it is warmed through and the cheese melts.
Chip and dip: Cut flatbread into small triangles with a pair of kitchen shears and dunk pieces into hummus, tzatziki, eggplant dip, or fresh-fruit salsa. You can also brush flatbread with olive oil, add a sprinkle of coarse salt, and toast it before breaking it into smaller pieces for dipping.
Wrap star: Take a tip from Middle Eastern cultures and stuff your flatbread with falafel; grilled veggies; or chicken, beef, or lamb that you’ve grilled on kebabs. Add crisp red onion slices and dress with either tahini or tzatziki sauce.
Salad starter: “I like the idea of using flatbread as a ‘plate’ for summer salads,” says Tom. “Whether you go with crisp greens or a crunchy grain and garden vegetables, there’s no wrong approach.” Try layering ingredients on warm flatbread and finishing with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
“Remember, it doesn’t have to be complex to be good,” Tom says. “The idea behind flatbread is simplicity. Add three or four fresh, flavorful ingredients, and you have an easy and delicious summertime meal.” Having trouble finding flatbread at your local grocer? Flatbread is available by special request at your local Panera Bread bakery-cafe. And on those days when cooking up even the easiest fare is not possible, stop by your local Panera Bread bakery-cafe and try one of our Flatbread Sandwiches.