Whenever my basil plant needs some trimming, I always use the excess herbs to make pesto. Pesto is such a versatile sauce and can be used for almost anything. Pesto pasta, roasted pesto vegetables, sandwich with pesto, it all works. It even works as a sauce for pizza or in this case, a roasted vegetable pesto flatbread. But this is not any ordinary pesto. Say hello to smoked almond pesto! It'll be your best friend for the next few days to come, I promise.
Roasted Vegetable Pesto Flatbread
Smoked almond pesto
- 1 cup whole almonds skin on
- 1 ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp flour
- ½ cup basil
- ½ cup parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup warm water 100-110 degrees F
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bell peppers sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 1 summer squash sliced
- 5 shallots thinly sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano plus extra for topping
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- salt and pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- reduced balsamic vinegar
- sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the almonds with liquid smoke and spread them on the baking sheet. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil on the almonds, tossing to coat. Combine the 1 tsp flour with ½ tsp salt and sprinkle on the almonds, tossing to coat. Bake the almonds for 40-45 minutes or until deeply browned, stirring the almonds every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Combine ½ cup of the smoked almonds with the basil, parsley, garlic, and parmesan in a food processor or blender until well chopped. Add the olive oil while the machine is running and blend until well combined. Season the pesto with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Make the flatbread dough. Combine the warm water with sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and the yeast is activated. Add the flour, olive oil, and salt, and mix until a rough dough forms. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth, about 6-7 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. Toss the sliced bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and shallots in ¼ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tbsp fresh oregano, garlic, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are blistered and softened, about 5 minutes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In the same pan, saute the marinated vegetables until they are charred and softened. You may have to cook the vegetables in 2 batches. Keep the vegetables warm.
- Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F.
- Dust a clean work counter with flour. Punch down the dough and roll it out on the counter until it's ¼ inch thick. Transfer the dough onto a sheet pan and spread the smoked almond pesto on top. Bake the flatbread for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and top with the cooked vegetables. Drizzle the top with reduced balsamic vinegar, fresh oregano, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Everything about this roasted vegetable pesto flatbread is absolutely delicious from the roasted marinated vegetables to the pesto to the actual flatbread. However, the real star of the show is the smoked almond pesto. The smoked almonds add so much umami to the sauce... it's my new favorite pesto.
To make the pesto, you need smoked almonds. You can always buy smoked almonds but if you want to make them from scratch, the process is pretty simple. First, toss the raw skin on almonds with liquid smoke and let them sit for 10 minutes to absorb the liquid. Then, toss the nuts with olive oil, flour, and salt, and roast them in the oven at 275 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.
Stir the almonds while they're roasting to avoid them from burning. Once they're deeply browned, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.
Blend ½ cup of the almonds (yes, you will have extra smoked almonds but that's not a bad thing!) with the remaining ingredients for the pesto including the herbs, parmesan, and garlic, and add the oil until it's smooth. Season the pesto with salt and pepper and set it aside. You can make the smoked almond pesto up to a week in advance.
The dough for the flatbread is my favorite go-to recipe for flatbreads and pizzas. Knead the dough until it's smooth and let it proof for one hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, toss the sliced vegetables including the zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers, and shallots in the lovely balsamic marinade.
Blister the cherry tomatoes, then cook the marinated vegetables until charred and softened. Keep the vegetables warm since they're going directly on the cooked flatbread.
Now let's go back to the dough. Punch it down and roll it out until it's about ¼ inch thick. Spread that delicious smoked almond pesto evenly on the dough and bake until golden brown. I used a sheet tray to bake the flatbread but you can also cook it on a pizza stone.
Top the baked flatbread with those delicious roasted vegetables and blistered cherry tomatoes, spreading them in an even layer. Finish the roasted vegetable pesto flatbread with fresh oregano, a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
This flatbread was big enough to feed me for several days and every day, I was excited to eat it. The pesto has so much flavor and pairs perfectly with the balsamic marinated roasted vegetables. Hands down, my favorite vegetarian flatbread!
For more pizza inspiration, check out this avocado tomato pizza!