{Gluten-Free + Vegan} Soaked-Grain Flatbreads for a Fresh Start

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It seems to me that January is a month of minimalism. We happily pack away the tinsel and ribbons in carefully-labeled boxes, vowing to be more organized in other aspects of life, too. An unofficial month-long hiatus from events and meetings ensues. Clear-headed for the first time after a month of eggnog lattes, we scribble down focal points for the year: resolutions. After the excesses of November and December, a “life cleanse” to focus on the important stuff seems only natural.

I’m sure you’ve noticed minimalism in January’s food, too. It’s a relief to be freed from the holidays’ food obligations and just cook again. You know, because you’re hungry, not because tradition stipulates that it’s time for spritz cookies or a big glazed ham.

So this month, I’m not going to ruin your diet. Around here, we’ll be cooking lots of whole grains and roasted vegetables. My husband submitted a request for salad with creamy dressing. I want to cook through Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty (again) and many of 101 Cookbooks’ soup recipes, so don’t be surprised to see tahini, coconut milk, and bales of fresh herbs pop up here.

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The name of the game this month is slowing down and allowing yourself to play in the kitchen again. Your sandbox has more than butter, sugar, and nutmeg in it this month, so get creative and make something fun.

After all, the pressure is off. Presentation be damned, you can make quesadillas and fried eggs, and even truly ugly foods like green smoothies and sausage and lentil soup. No one’s judging. Even if you take really ugly photos like this one:

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Meh. You get the idea re: batter consistency.

In true minimalist spirit, today’s recipe radiates simplicity: gluten free flatbread made from soaked grains from Ali over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. I’ve kept this recipe secret for far too long–no weird flours to buy, no yeast or rising time, no dough rolling, and a beautiful texture for dipping in hummus or using as a pizza base. As long as you don’t smother it in cheese, it’s also vegan (yay!).

Happy new year, dear readers.

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Soaked Grain Flatbreads
Choose whatever grains you've got on hand. The original recipe calls for brown rice and millet, but you can also use other kinds of rice, quinoa, buckwheat, gluten-free steel-cut oats, amaranth, or whatever else is floating around your pantry. This works best (I'm told) with a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec. If the idea of a $600 blender makes you swoon (I've owned cars in that price range!), give your standard blender a break every few minutes to rest the motor.
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  1. 2 cups whole grains, uncooked
  2. 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  3. water to cover
  4. 1 1/2 -1 3/4 cup water
  5. 2 teaspoons honey, agave, or maple syrup
  6. 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  7. 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  8. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling skillet
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  10. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Cover grains and sesame seeds with about 2" of water in a large bowl. Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F. Toss in your favorite 10" cast-iron skillet to warm it up.
  3. Drain and rinse grains in a fine-mesh colander so they don't escape through the holes. Pour into the blender and add the remaining ingredients. (Start with 1 1/2 c. water; you can add more if needed.)
  4. Blend 2-5 minutes, depending on your blender's stamina, and give it a few rest periods so you can stir the mixture a bit. Once it resembles pancake batter and no longer has large chunks of unground grains, you're done.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and brush with a little olive oil. Pour on 1/3 of the batter and smooth with a spatula to distribute evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the underside is golden and the center is cooked through. Remove and repeat with remaining batter to make three flatbreads.
  6. Eat and enjoy! If you have any left over, it freezes well for future pizzas and dipping.
Adapted from from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Wooden Spoon Baking http://www.woodenspoonbaking.com/