There’s nothing better than being able to whip up a homemade pizza, or something pizza adjacent, whenever you want. However, with most pizzas or flatbreads you make at home, there’s a dough that has to be made which then has to be left to rise, which then has to be stretched into shape. Well, stretch no more! This Easy Roasted Elote Lavash Flatbread with Chipotle Cream uses store bought lavash bread as the crust, so the difficult work is already done. Just crip, spread, roast and toss, and you’re on your way to homemade flatbread heaven.
Are Picky Eaters Actually Just Supertasters?
I’m pretty sure I’m dating a super-taster disguised as a picky eater. It makes me question where maybe we need to be giving the folks that only order off the kids menu at restaurants more credit for their palate than we do. Maybe their choice in food isn’t because they don’t have a more refined sense of taste, but instead, a palate that is so highly functioning that frenetic spices or even the slightest amount of sharp sourness or grounding bitterness is an assault on their senses.
Or they might just be picky.
Either way, you’ve probably got at least one of these people in your life who you regularly have to cook for, who inevitably becomes the deciding factor on what we can or cannot cook.
Selfishly, I tend to just cook the stuff that I’m craving or that I love to eat for myself, and then keep the fridge stocked with frozen pizzas, vegan nuggets, and various kinds of chips and chocolate coated granola bars on hand for when he gets hungry. But that’s just how I’ve chosen to deal with things.
Most of the time, when he asks what’s for dinner, I’ll have already cooked and eaten something for myself, and so I just list off the aforementioned pantry and freezer staples, and suggest that he just make something for himself. Inevitably, he bypasses what’s in stock, and winds up eating Chipotle, or something from a nearby veg-friendly drive-thru.
And speaking of hunger, we have very different types of hunger. My hunger is incessant. I’m never not hungry. Sure, I can go for long periods of time, say in the mornings when I prefer to work and work out on an empty stomach, but for the most part, food is never not on my mind. “I could eat something” is my default setting.
But not him. His default setting is more like, “Eating will take me away from what I’m doing so I don’t want to stop what I’m doing to do it” and “Wait. NO. I’m starving! I need food now!” Normally a single cheese pizza Lunchable will resolve the setback of hunger, and then he’s back to doing what he was doing before he was so rudely interrupted.
However, as much as we’re disalike in our eating habits, our cravings, our ideals about food and how and when we should eat, and the emotional connection between ourselves and food, I still highly value his judgement of the meals that I cook, and I know that if he likes something, I’ve truly nailed the dish.
That’s not to say that there aren’t meals that I’ve made that I’ve totally loved, and that he has actually spit out (I’m looking at you Chicken Piccata of 2014), but because of various experiences with him being able to taste something in the dish, or pick some subtleties in flavors, I’ve grown to believe (reluctantly) that he might actually be a supertaster who is, in his disgust, actually tasting the flaws in my dish.
My kitchen is my happy place, and so I spend a lot of time there experimenting or grazing. His happy place is his office/computer room where he watches YouTube and plays video games. Having separate happy places in our home, with common areas in between, has probably been one of the contributing factors to our relationship surviving COVID quarantines and us both working from home.
As I mentioned, I’m pretty selfish when it comes to planning meals for myself, so I don’t normally take him into consideration as I’m playing in the kitchen. I will, however, usually offer him a taste or a sample of whatever it is that I’m working on, and again, if he likes it (sometimes he’ll refuse to even take a bite!) I know I’ve got a hit on my hands.
After a string of visits to Trader Joe’s, after almost a year of not stepping foot in their stores, my kitchen was fully stocked with pretty much every vegan or vegan friendly TJ’s product. Instead of just devouring food out of bags while sitting in front of the TV, I decided to try to develop a recipe using some of the goodies I bought.
Pretty much the only produce I purchased (the good good stuff at TJ’s is NOT in that section of the store…) were a couple of ears of corn. I had also purchased a package of their lavash flatbreads which are always great to have on hand for wraps and various flatbread needs.
The first trip Ben and I took as COVID restrictions started to lift was to Sedona, Arizona. His parents treated us to a weekend away, and it was a much needed break from the shut-in life we had been living for the previous year. I reached out to some folks on Instagram who I knew lived in the greater Arizona area and I asked if they had any recommendations for restaurants.
Funny enough, because Sedona is said to be situated in an energy vortex, the town and its accompanying landscape attracts a number of new age individuals. And lucky for me (and us, since Ben is a vegetarian), those individuals have created a high demand for vegan food. Not only are there a couple fully vegan restaurants in Sedona, but pretty much every restaurant in town has either a dedicated vegan menu, or a number of delicious vegan options.
After our 5ish hour drive from Las Vegas to Sedona, and after getting lucky with finding centralized lodging in a two bedroom condo, we needed a place to eat dinner. A friend on Instagram suggested a place called Picazzos that specializes in pizzas and pastas, and actually has a whole menu devoted to plant-based foods, and it just so happened to be within the same block as our condo.
I ordered an incredible mushroom and truffle pizza that was not only amazing that first night, but was maybe even better cold for lunch the next day. Ben couldn’t decide which pizza to get, and at the last minute decided to be adventurous and order their elote pizza.
With the fist bite of his pizza still being masticated, he managed to get out the words “You have to make this”. Since he chose to get it with dairy cheese instead of the vegan cheese, I couldn’t taste what he was tasting, but from my visual scanning of the dish, I had to agree.
Back to the Future:
Fast forward to me wanting to get creative with my Trader Joe’s finds, and trying to figure out what to do with lavash and corn on the cob, and then I thought of that night in Sedona, that pizza that I couldn’t taste because it had cheese cheese on it, and I said to myself, “It’s time. Let’s do this.”
I started by making a studier version of my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing, using a firm water-packed tofu as opposed to the silken tofu I normally use. I also skipped the mustard that is normally in the dressing because I was going more for a cream cheese experience than a tangy mayo experience.
Lavash gets super crispy, like, matza crispy, after just a couple of minutes in the oven, and so I threw one in while I threw a cob or corn and some discs of red onion on my grill pan.
I removed the kernels of corn from the cob, and tossed them with diced-up jalapeno, green onion, cilantro, the grilled red onion, along with a generous squeeze of lime juice and lots of salt and pepper.
The crisp lavash was generously slathered with what I’m now calling my “Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread”. The grilled corn salsa was distributed all over the top, and I finished it off with a bit more cilantro and green onion.
Looking at it, it seemed like I was on the right track, but I also thought that it was missing something. I pulled up the restaurant menu on my phone to see if there was something else on there that would have contributed to the “You have to make this” statement, and there it was: chipotle cream sauce!
Since I didn’t have any chipotle peppers on had for this test batch, I found some Taco Bell Diablo sauce packets, mixed them with a few tablespoons of my “Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread”, and added a bit of water to thin it out to a drizzle consistency.
One the missing piece was in place, I pressed my knife through the layers, shattering the lavash in a straight line underneath. I continued to cut the flatbread into quarters, and then cut those quarters into triangular halves.
I grabbed a plate and placed half of the flatbread on it for Ben, and delivered it to him in his office. Without saying much other than, “Here, I’m testing a recipe if you wanna try it…”, and left and returned to the kitchen so I could devour the other half.
Within a blink, it was gone, and I was sucking sauce off of my finger. I walked back into Ben’s office, and with a mouth still full of flatbread, he said “Is there any more?”
It was a hit with Ben, which means I truly created, or managed to reverse engineer a really delicious dish.
The next day I picked up some chipotle peppers and a few more ears of corn, and for dinner that night, Ben ate an entire one by himself.
Easy Roasted Elote Lavash Flatbread with Chipotle Cream
- 4 large lavash flatbreads
- 1 batch Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread (recipe below)
- 1 to 2 chipotle pepper in adobo
- ¼ cup Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread (recipe below)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- 4 ears of corn on the cob, shucked and cleaned
- 1 medium-sized red onion, peeled, and sliced into ¼ inch rings
- 1 jalapeno
- 3 to 4 stalks of green onion
- Handful of fresh cilantro
- 1 to 2 limes, juiced
- salt and black pepper to taste
- cilantro, roughly chopped
- vegan-friendly Takis, or spicy corn chips.
- Prepare Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread (recipe below), and refrigerate until ready to use. *Reserve ¼ cup to make the Chipotle Cream:
- Remove all but about ¼ cup of Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread from the food processor. Add chipotle peppers and adobo along with a couple of tablespoons of water; puree until the chipotle peppers are fully incorporated, and the mixture is thin enough to drizzle. Add more water as needed. Note: This could also be done separately in a Bullet-style blender or in a mortar and pestle.
- Heat a large griddle, grill pan, or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn, red onion, and jalapeno until slightly charred on all sides.
- Using a large bowl, with a smaller bowl inverted in the bottom, place the cobs of corn vertically onto the inverted bowl, and remove the kernels from the grilled cob by running your knife down the sides of the cob. (I show how to do this in the accompanying video. It’s easier to do than it is to write.)
- Seed the jalapeno, and dice the flesh. Dice the discs of grilled onion. Thinly slice the white and green parts of your green onions. Roughly chop fresh cilantro. Add diced veggies and cilantro to the bowl with the corn kernels. Salt and pepper liberally, and add the juice of one whole lime. Taste for seasoning and acidity. Add more salt, pepper, or lime juice to taste.
- Preheat oven or grill to 400 F.
- Place lavash flatbreads directly on the middle rack of your oven or on your grill. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, flipping once, until the lavash is rigid and crisp like a cracker.
- Spoon ¼ of the Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread onto each crisped lavash. Top each with ¼ of the Roasted Corn Salsa, spreading it from edge to edge. Drizzle the top of each flatbread with Chipotle Cream Crush Takis or spicy corn chips over the top, and finish them off with a final sprinkle of cilantro.
- Serve immediately.
Universal Vegan Creamy Cheesy Spread
A delicious and high-protein, tofu-based, cream-cheese-like vegan spread that can be used anywhere you would use cream cheese.
- 12 ounces* firm or extra firm tofu (not silken)
- ½ cup raw cashews or cashew pieces (not soaked)
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ lemon. juiced
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, optional, but makes a textural difference
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- black pepper to taste
- Drain the tofu, and gently squeeze out a bit of water with your hands. It’s not that serious, but the dryer it is, the firmer your spread will be.
- In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend for about 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the lids, sides, and bottom often. It’s ok if it warms up a bit. Just keep blending until there are not remaining bits of cashew. If you have a bit more time, blend for 1 minute, allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes, and then continue to blend for another minute. This will allow the cashews to absorb a bit of residual moisture, and make their blending easier.
- Transfer spread to a lidded container, and refrigerate until ready to use.
*I get that it’s obnoxious that I don’t just call for all 14oz of tofu that come in a package. If you don’t have another use for the extra 2oz portion, then just use the whole block to make the sauce. Just be slightly heavy-handed with the other ingredients to compensate for the extra tofu.