This is the fourth dish in my week-long series of WFPB recipes. So far, my “A Grain, a Bean, a Veggie, a Green, and a Seed” recipes have been very cozy and comforting, and so I decided to lighten and freshen things up a bit. Not only is this Avocado and Edamame Flatbread with Pickled Radish and Pea Shoots vibrant with beautiful shades of pink and green, it’s also bright and balanced in terms of flavor and texture. But don’t worry if you don’t have the exact ingredients on hand, this dish is just an outline, and its various components and pieces can be easily varied or swapped.
As you know, I’ve been on a weight loss journey, and instead of telling myself what I can’t eat, I’ve made a list of items that I want to make sure that I get in every meal: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, greens, and whole-plant fats. I’ve “abbreviated” or short-handed this paradigm or checklist to “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. It’s not perfect, but It’s helping me crowd out the foods I don’t want to eat with the foods that I do want to eat.
“A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”
I came up with a paradigm, or a checklist to help me plan my WFPB meals. The not-so-catchy name of which is “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. Admittedly, the name needs work, but the practice of using it has been working great.
My goal is to plan meals that have each of these components:
- A “Grain” can be any type of whole grain or starchy vegetable that adds fiber and substance to your meals. For my purposes, a “grain” can be anything from whole wheat used to make bread, to brown rice, to even quinoa, and sweet potato.
- A “Bean” can be any type of bean, legume, or pulse. Although most plant-based foods do contain some amount of protein, a “bean” represents an overt source that is both fiber and protein dense. Ideally the “bean” is in its whole form, but tofu and bean pastas check this box as well.
- A “Veggie” can be any non-starchy vegetable that adds bulk, flavor, and nutrition to the dish. Think broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, and peppers. Although starchy veggies are great, in terms of their function in the meal, they tend to fit better into the “grain” box. Mushrooms are also a great addition to meals, and for what I’m trying to accomplish, mushrooms fit into the “veggie” box as well.
- A “Green” can be any type of leafy green, added to the dish either during or after cooking, or left raw. Not only are greens great for adding nutrition to the dish, they are also great for flavor and texture. Greens can be the bulk of a meal like in the case of kale salads, or an accent to the dish in the case of spinach or arugula added to soups and curries just before serving.
- A “Seed” represents a whole-food source of overt fat. Avocados, smashed, sliced, or guac’d are great. As are various types of nuts, seeds, and their derived butters. Coconut products like milk, flakes, and butter also add a ton of flavor and body to various dishes
Now that you know the system, let’s look at what foods in this dish check which boxes:
- The “Grain” – For this dish, I’ve made a 100% whole flatbread dough to be used as base. If you didn’t want to put in the effort to make the dough, you could easily use your favorite whole wheat or Ezekiel bread, or even Ezekiel tortillas.
- The “Bean” – Instead of using a cooked bean like a chickpea or a black bean, I decided to use a fresh bean like edamame instead. In terms of protein, it’s right on par with the others. If you weren’t a fan of edamame for some reason, you could easily use peas or even white beans in their place.
- The “Veggie” – The richness of this dish really screams for some bright acidity. That’s where the pickled radishes come in. They add a great spice and crunch, but most of all, they add a bit of sharpness to the flatbread. You could pretty much pickle any other vegetable in the same manner if you weren’t a fan of radishes, or you could just use whatever veggies you have on hand, and add a squeeze of lemon juice to the flatbread before serving.
- The “Green” – When I first created this recipe, I had pea shoots on hand, so that’s what I used. I’ve since made this flatbread again, not having pea shoots on hand, and I’ve found that very thinly sliced kale, massaged with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice, makes a great green topping for this dish.
- The “Seed” – My favorite form of plant-based fat is avocado. Not only does it add some good fat to the dish, it also functions as a “matrix” to hold everything together. If you aren’t a fan of avocado, then you could use your favorite hummus instead.
Avocado and Edamame Flatbread
A fun take on the omnipotent avocado toast, but made with homemade whole wheat flatbread.
- 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup rice or white vinegar
- ¼ cup filtered water
- salt to taste
- ¼ portion 100% whole wheat flatbread dough (recipe below)
- ½ medium-sized avocado
- ½ cup frozen shelled edamame. thawed
- ½ cup pea shoots or sprouts
- salt and pepper to taste
Thinly slice the radishes and onions, and find a jar or lidded container big enough to fit both. Stuff the sliced radishes and onions into the jar, and then fill it ¾ of the way with vinegar; topping the rest off with water. Add salt to taste. Gently shake to mix. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (24 is better) before serving.
Roll out the flatbread dough until it’s the desired thickness, between ¼ and ½ inch. Heat your pan to medium-high heat, and lightly oil it if you are afraid your dough might stick. Make sure your pan is fully heated before adding your flatbread dough. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side, flipping as needed to make sure it cooks evenly. It's done when there are golden brown spots, and the edges are no longer raw.
- In a bowl, mash avocado with a fork, and add a teaspoon of the pickled radish vinegar or lemon juice. Stir in thawed edamame, and season to taste.
- Top your flatbread with the avocado and edamame mixture. Add pickled radishes and onion on top of the avocado mixture, and then top the entire flatbread with pea shoots. Serve immediately.
- The “Grain” – Instead of the flatbread, you could use whole wheat bread, or Ezekiel bread, or even Ezekiel tortillas.
- The “Bean” – Edamame is great, but so are peas, and even cooked and drained white beans or black beans.
- The “Veggie” – You can literally soak anything in vinegar overnight and have a pickle.
- The “Green” – Any thinly sliced or chiffonade green will work. Stemmed and thinly slice kale, and then massage it with a bit of the radish marinade for a great green topping.
- The “Seed” – Honestly, avocado is pretty much it, although you could maybe use hummus, which would theoretically contain a bit of tahini.
100% Whole Wheat Flatbread Dough
A versatile whole wheat dough that's easy to store, and perfect for turning into pizzas, flatbread, or pastries.
- 1 ¼ cup (295g) lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon 913g) olive oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon (6g) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (4g) coconut sugar or agave nectar
- 2 ¾ cup (330g) whole wheat flour plus more for dusting.
- 1 tablespoon (7g) vital wheat gluten (optional for a better rise)
- 1 teaspoon (3g) instant or active dry yeast
Add all ingredients in order, and use your machine’s dough setting. Remove from machine and divide into four portions. Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Combine the water, coconut sugar, and yeast in the mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to proof or “bloom” for 10 minutes. It should be foamy. Add the oil to the wet mixture.
- In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, salt, and gluten. With your stand mixer on low, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in 3 batches. If stirring by hand, stir with a wooden spoon until you cannot stir any longer, and then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Allow the machine to knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium speed, or knead the dough dough by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be firm yet soft, and not sticky.
- Return the kneaded dough to the cleaned mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Allow the dough to rise and double in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Use the dough immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to a month.