Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Zucchini & Herbed Ricotta Flatbread

Easy homemade flatbread pizza topped with summery zucchini, herbed ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. So much flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I just got home from a girls weekend at the beach. My dear friend is getting married in September and I’m her matron of honor. We actually met 10 years ago working at Chili’s! How often do I talk about Chili’s? I believe it’s borderline embarrassing at this point. But it was a great weekend in Ocean City MD– although reapplying sunscreen didn’t seem to happen. Ever.

Easy homemade flatbread pizza topped with summery zucchini, herbed ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. So much flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I worked on a few new recipes before I left. One thing I’ve been meaning to share with you is a homemade flatbread dough. Similar to pizza dough, but not quite as springy. Much… flatter. Who woulda thunk?! When I got to work, I decided to bombard this innocent flatbread dough with mountains of zucchini, ricotta, crushed red pepper, some basil, goat cheese, and colorful tomatoes. The red ones, interestingly enough, match the current state of my shoulders.

I feel like this is an awesome round-up of flavors and textures! Both flatbreads didn’t last more than 24 hours in this house and Kevin praised it as one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made. The goat cheese was a sweeter variety, which I’ll tell you about in a sec, the tomatoes were salty and blistered (not like my shoulders, thank you sun gods), and the ricotta was wonderfully salty and herbed.

The homemade flatbread dough, though– that’s the real star of the show here.

How to make flatbread dough from scratch on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade flatbread dough– and pizza dough for that matter– is actually incredibly simple. If you have a fear of yeast, put those scary thoughts aside because it’s just another easy ingredient you’ll add to the mix. There’s very little rise time, so it’s a quick recipe you can make for dinner during the week. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can make the flatbread dough up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge. And I actually find that time gives the dough just a little more flavor. So if you have time today, make the dough and enjoy flatbread for dinner later this week.

I’m not kidding you; this dough is so easy to handle. And convenient for making ahead!

The ingredients are pretty basic: flour, water, yeast, salt, and a touch of sugar. I like to add a quick splash of olive oil to give it all a little richness, but you can leave that out if you’d like. To be honest, Kevin didn’t really notice a difference between both test batches. When I asked him about it, his exact words were “it was the best pizza” and then “I can’t remember” and also “what is ricotta? I like it” and then “you should make Hawaiian flatbread with the ham soon.” He was very chatty about it!

Roasted tomatoes for flatbread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I was inspired to use a zuchcini/ricotta/tomato blend for the topping from a recent issue of Cooking Light. I believe the magazine just used those fabulous toppings for a pizza, but I feel like flatbreads are very summery? Or maybe they’re just very in. And I say “in” knowing I’m not very “in” at all, but who doesn’t love a flatbread. And it’s something new I can teach you anyway. And you kind of feel better eating it because it’s not as much carb-y dough, right? That means we can have bakery-style peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Into the ricotta went a bunch of chopped fresh basil, a squeeze of lemon, sea salt, pepper, and some milk to thin it out a tad. That’s about it. Cooking Light threw some mint in there too, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about all that, so I left it out. This recipe makes 2 flatbreads, so the toppings are enough for both. You can easily halve the toppings if you’re just making 1 flatbread. I will say, however, that the flatbreads aren’t very big at all. And if you have more than 3 people eating, make both. If not, you can always have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Herbed ricotta for flatbread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Easy homemade flatbread pizza topped with summery zucchini, herbed ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. So much flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The whole situation was screaming for some goat cheese, so I used a honey goat cheese I had sitting in the refrigerator. I got it from Wegmans (and how much do I talk about Wegmans now?!!), but any goat cheese works. It’s all so delicious. Feta cheese would also be fantastic on top too. I was going to go with blue cheese, but felt the intense flavor would take over the rest of the lighter ingredients.

A sprinkle of fresh basil on top and we’re all set!

Easy homemade flatbread pizza topped with summery zucchini, herbed ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. So much flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ll be making this again and again this summer. And apparently, a Hawaiian version too!

Zucchini & Herbed Ricotta Flatbread

Ingredients:

Flatbread

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, to thin
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or a few cloves, chopped)
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini (about 1 medium/large)
  • 6-8 ounces goat cheese (depending how much you like!)
  • optional: crushed red pepper flakes and fresh basil to top

Directions:

  1. Make the crust: Place the yeast and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Pour water on top. Give it a light stir with a whisk and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.
  2. If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the flour, olive, oil, and salt. Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick and shaggy. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface, including any loose flour. Knead it with your hands for 3-4 minutes until it all begins to come together and becomes smooth. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-2 more Tablespoons of flour.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl (I use nonstick spray to grease) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit and rest for 35-45 minutes. Once it has rested and slightly risen, you can place it in the fridge for up to 2 days. More instructions in the make ahead tip below.
  4. As the dough is resting and rising, prepare the toppings. Toss the halved cherry tomatoes with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400°F (204°C) oven for about 20 minutes until blistered and roasted. Set aside.
  5. Turn the oven up to 475°F (246°C).
  6. Whisk the ricotta, basil, milk, lemon juice, and garlic together in a medium bowl. You can use a mixer for this if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Shape the dough: Punch the dough down to release any air. Divide the dough into two. On a lightly floured surface with floured hands and working with one dough piece at a time, begin shaping and stretching the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. You can use a floured rolling pin for this too. Don't worry about the shape of the dough! Repeat with the second piece of dough. Carefully transfer both pieces of dough to a parchment paper or silicone-mat lined baking sheet, or use a pizza stone. (You can also shape/roll out the doughs directly on a large sheet of parchment if that is easier for you and then just transfer the whole thing to the baking sheet.)
  8. Using a fork, prick a few holes into the surface of the doughs and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil each. Spread half of the ricotta mixture onto each, then top with zucchini, tomatoes, and finish the tops by crumbling the goat cheese on top of each.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust and toppings are browned to your liking. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with crushed red pepper, fresh basil, and/or freshly ground pepper. Slice and serve warm.

Make ahead tip: The tomatoes can be baked about 2 days in advance; just keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Likewise, the ricotta mixture can be mixed and prepared 2 days in advance. Cover and keep in the refrigerator. The dough can also be prepared through step 3, then after it has risen-- you can cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Continue with step 4. If you'd like to freeze the dough, you can for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Then before making the flatbread, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before stretching out/shaping and topping.

Recipe Notes:

Adapted from June 2016 Cooking Light

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Thank you all so much for your incredible submissions to the comment and bake challenge last week! I’m blown away by your kitchen creativity and also very happy that we share the same tastebuds. Literally everything sounded mouthwatering. We have a randomly chosen winner (I used random.org) and I’m SO EXCITED to make banana cream pie! Thank you, Sara, comment #159. 🙂

Easy homemade flatbread pizza topped with summery zucchini, herbed ricotta, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. So much flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade flatbread with delicious summer flavors from fresh tomatoes and basil to herbed ricotta, zucchini, and more! Easy recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

55 comments

  1. Gorgeous photos, Sally! this flatbread looks delicious . Just bought some fresh zucchini and have some ricotta in the fridge so will try this soon! Do you think brie would be an acceptable replacement for the goat cheese?

    • I honestly think ANY cheese would be great on top– except for a super strong cheese like blue. But I think brie would be perfect.

  2. OMG THE PICTURES!!!!!!!!!! I was literally staring at each picture for like 10 minutes. It looks so mouthwatering and I really can say that cause my mouth is DROOLING LIKE I-NEED-THAT-RIGHT-NOW and did I mention I just ate lunch?
    Quick change of subject. I can’t wait for banana cream pie! My dad absolutely loves it (along with carrot cake) and I will definitely be waiting for it. I’ve been looking at your blog for a year and a half now and can I just say that it gets better and better? It really does. Ive made like a HUNDRED of your recipes and none of them failed (except once, but that was my fault). Can you try making a recipe for bread pudding? And also peach cobbler? I’m doubtful to try any other recipes except yours. Thank you!
    (P.S did your font change? Like the flatbread and topping words in the recipe box. Wasn’t it pink?)

    • Hey Kayla! Thank you so much for the compliment, I really appreciate that! I should post my family’s favorite bread pudding. I only recently started to appreciate bread pudding– I never used to be a big fan of it until now. 

      Good eye! My site is undergoing some design changes and we’re testing some new things out. Hopefully the new design will roll out by the end of the month.

  3. I’m so in love with the freshness and colorfulness of this flatbread! I had ricotta cheese from making lemon ricotta pancakes, but I had no idea what else to do with them. This flatbread would be a perfect use for the rest of the ricotta!

  4. Looks delicious as always!
    xxx

  5. Eeee this looks amazing Sally! I love the colours! Your pizza dough is a go-to recipe in my kitchen so I can’t wait to try this one out too 🙂

  6. I’ve been CRAVING flatbread lately, so thank you for posting this!! That’s so crazy about being your friend’s matron of honor, but you should definitely talk about Chili’s more. 😉 Congrats to her! I’ll celebrate by making this flatbread!

  7. Oh my… oh my oh my oh my…. this looks stunning and SUPER SUMMERY. Since my family does not eat meat on Fridays this will be a great option for dinner then!!

  8. A girls weekend sounds like so much fun, Sally!! It makes me happy to hear that you actually took a break for, wait for it…. FUN. Yay!! So cool that you’re still friends with someone you knew so long ago. And btw, when are you gonna start creating SBA recipes just for Chili’s?? I feel like I’m gonna go to Chili’s one day and see the SBA PB Skillet Cookie on their menu. 😉
    Is that a new marble board I spy??
    This flatbread looks absolutely incredible! And such a clever explanation of it’s… flatness. 😉 Lol. Can’t wait to see the Hawaiian version! Also, I emailed you pics of the cookies and a special message. Don’t know if you got it. <3
    Happy Tuesday Sally! xo

    • I did receive it! I’m sorry I haven’t responded yet, I’ll get caught up on emails tomorrow. 🙂

      Creating recipes for Chili’s would totally be a dream come true. Ha!

  9. So gorgeous! I love this – my husband and I have been out of control lately in our pizza eating so this is speaking straight to our hearts! And the cheeses… oh the cheeses are amazing! Goat cheese is EVERYTHING. Love this, Sally, thanks for sharing! 

  10. This looks terrific. But I was wondering (call me crazy!) …do you think it would be possible to make this completely healthy by skipping the flatbread completely and simply hollowing out zucchinis cut length-wise in half and then putting on the cheese(s), tomatoes and perhaps some sliced summer squash or eggplant? I think they’d be dynamite (so retro!) but would love your thoughts. You are definitely one of my first go-to food bloggers for recipes and thoughts. I love your recipes and website!

    • I think that’d be really good, especially with some grilled or roasted eggplant on top. And the goat cheese too! You’re onto something here.

  11. The flatbreads look very appetizing and I love the choice of ingredients, especially in the summer. Roasting the cherry or grape tomatoes in advance really does amp up the flavour profile. One of the local cheese companies makes a Mediterranean goat cheese which would be a perfect complement.
    Zucchini tends to have a fair bit of water in it and I’ve found in the past it dampens the pizza more than I would have liked. As a result I give it a quick browning in a hot pan or even better, brush with some olive oil and salt, and quickly grill both sides. Put the zucchini on the grill at a 45 degree angle to the cooking grates and then turn it 90 degrees to get perfect crosshatch marks. Just cook enough to get good marks (stripes), about one and a half to two minutes on each side. You want to maintain the shape and not turn it into mush.

  12. Can this flatbread be “baked” on a gas grill? Just wondering if the dough would withstand a grill.

  13. HONEY GOAT CHEESE? I have an unfortunate obsession with goat cheese (and Wegman’s), so now I have to try this. And this flatbread (though Boything and I are more meat-eaters). He’s also crazy about ricotta–and Hawaiian pizza–, so this is PERFECT.

    • I feel like some strips of grilled chicken would be amazing on top of this! In case you want to add some meat 🙂

  14. I love ordering flatbread at restaurants (as a main dish, not an appetizer!) – it’s like a fancier version of pizza, basically. Love the idea of using up some of that excess zucchini infiltrating my garden too. I had a arugula, honey and goat cheese flatbread at a local restaurant recently. I imagine that version would be amazing too 🙂

  15. Hey Sally! Looks incredible! One question—could I substitute whole wheat flour for regular white flour? Or would I have to make any adjustments?

    • I think that’d be just fine. I’ve never tried it, but I have tried 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose. And it was still really good!

  16. This flatbread!!! I need it in my life. I’m a fan of making homemade pizza dough at least once a week so this flatbread will definitely be able to be worked into next week’s menu. Or tomorrow’s menu. Or as soon as I get home from work today 🙂 Loving all the summery flavors and colors and CHEESES!! <3

  17. Definitely making this this weekend! Does the dough freeze well?

    • Yes, for up to about 3 months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge. Then before making the flatbread, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before stretching out/shaping and topping.

      Great question, I will add that to the notes!

  18. Hi Sally! Wow, this flatbread looks SO delicious and pretty! Great photography! I will definitely be trying it soon. 

    I’ve got a Chili’s question for you? Years ago the Chili’s in my area had chicken fajita pitas on their menu. They were my favorite!!! Unfortunately they took it off the menu. Just wondering if the Chilis you worked at had them, and if you would know how to recreate it? I’m currently obsessed with Chili’s onion rings!! They are so perfectly crispy and never greasy. Yum! 

    • Yes yes yes! We had them at my Chili’s. They’re essentially just fajita peppers + onions with grilled chicken. I recall them having a special sauce drizzle on top. I *believe* it was the dipping sauce served with the awesome blossom. Which I found a copycat recipe for here: http://www.copykat.com/2009/02/02/chilis-awesome-blossom-dipping-sauce/

      • Thanks for the link to the sauce Sally! In my attempts to replicate the recipe I had the most difficulty finding the right pita. Pita bread is a pocket bread you cut open and stuff right?! Chili’s pita was not like that. It was just folded like a taco and filled. I’ve tried many brands of pita with no luck. Naan bread was the closest I got, but Chili’s bread was oh so soft and yummy! Maybe I’ll just try making my own bread!
        Thanks for your help Sally!! 

      • They sell pocket-less pitas in the store. I think they are right next to the pocket pitas! Naan works though.

  19. I made this tonight for my sister and brother-in-law and it was sooo good!! I don’t have a Wegmans around here but I loved the idea of honey goat cheese so I added a bit of honey to the ricotta cheese mixture and it was perfect! Will definitely be making again!!

  20. I love everything about this! The fact that I have everything on hand makes me love it even more. I might try it with some pasta instead of the flatbread too. Thanks, Sally!

  21. Hi Sally,
    These look amazing. A couple of questions: did you put the zucchini uncooked? Did you use a pizza stone for yours? Thanks!

  22. We love Flatbread in this house – I think we liked it before it was officially “in” but who knows. I’m never “in” either! But totally loving the flavors and that it’s meatless. 

  23. This is one gorgeous flatbread, Sally! I could live on this all summer long!

  24. Wow. This looks too yummy. Surely gonna try this for my family today, I hope they love it 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  25. I just made this tonight, it turned out perfect! Great recipe, thank you for sharing

  26. I made this for dinner tonight and it was a delicious, easy summer meal! I had something similar at Mario Batali’s Eataly – it was foccacia with ricotta and squash, it was simple yet so amazing! I was excited to see your recipe for flatbread since foccacia is a little more involved and temperamental dough. I loved the burst tomatoes on top. Will definitely be making a lot this summer, yum!

  27. Sally,

    LOVED this. I saw someone’s comment about trying it grilled and I did it this weekend and it was fabulous. Had it on some tin foil over the charcoal grill and it was like a phenomenal wood-burning-oven smelling pizza.
    Also, tried the same dough with green apple, brie, mozzarella on bottom, and spinach on top. Another success!

    Thanks 🙂

    • I’m so glad you reported back about this AND that you tried what sounds like the BEST pizza ever. Apple, brie, spinach, oh my! <3

  28. Made this for dinner last night. So delish! Have the second half of the dough in the freezer and leftovers for lunch today. Perfect serving sizes for one! Not always easy to find. Thanks Sally! 🙂 

  29. Thanks so much for the make ahead steps. Super helpful, and exactly what I was looking for today! I’m planning to make this this weekend, and I really wanted to know what I could start now. Thank you!

  30. Here I am from Germany, browsing your beautiful site and after having been on your top 10 tips page where you state you state both cups and grams on your page I have yet to find a single recipe for which this is true. Which is a shame, because your cookies and this flatbread look really really delicious!

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