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I have zero shame in admitting that pizza is my favorite food.
Queso comes in at a close second, but if we’re strictly talking about things that fall into the category of being considered a meal, for me, nothing beats a gooey, golden-brown pizza – especially one that’s been tossed on a fiery hot grill.
Lucky for me, I know this isn’t an unpopular opinion.
I don’t necessarily disagree with the saying, “even bad pizza is good pizza,” but the truth is that I’m a sucker for the bougie stuff. Does that mean I deny the delivery chains the ability to fulfill their promise to bring the goods to my doorstep in thirty minutes or less?
Believe me, I’ll get down with a greasy, middle-of-the-road pepperoni pie any day of the week (and some weekdays, I certainly do). But where there are truffled wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, and ricotta… I will always follow.
Or in the case of today’s recipe: intensely sweet sun-dried tomatoes, nutty pesto, and briny feta.
I’ve tried my hand at making homemade dough more times than I can count, but when it comes to a reliable vehicle for my rustic pizza adventures, packaged naan gets the gold every time.
If you prefer pita or even thick lavash, be my guest! As far as the base goes, the choice of flatbread is all yours. But I can’t get enough of chewy, buttery naan. It has just the right density and crisps in all the right places.
It also often comes in a fun oblong form, which I find far more appealing than a standard circle.
I’m a big advocate for making most things from scratch, but today’s flavor escapade (flavorcapade?) calls upon several shortcuts that don’t sacrifice quality in the least.
But the reality is that store-bought items keep things quick, and sometimes you need to take the fast lane to arrive at a delicious dinner.
Tangy feta and parmesan bring sharp, salty notes while sweet basil and peppery oregano add subtle freshness. Feel free to go meat-free, but I reach for juicy chicken to perk up the protein factor. Crushed red pepper flakes add a pop of heat and are a must-have in my book.
Grill on the fritz? No worries. A grill pan is your next best bet. If you’ve got an outdoor setup, however, the smokiness from a charcoal grill is unbeatable. And a smaller format portable option is a very approachable appliance if you’re a little afriad!
I consider myself an amateur BBQ-er and I’m still able to achieve stellar results.
Sneaking a peek at the bottoms of your pizzas while they’re on the grate is the best way to ensure even cooking. Playing around with spots that provide indirect heat is an excellent option for mastering a finished product that lands somewhere between “yum, charred!” and “yikes, burnt.”
Worst case scenario, you can finish things up in the oven to get a good melt going on top without scorching the bottoms.
If all else fails, you can always order delivery. Hey, all pizza is good pizza. Right?Print
Grab your tongs and tackle this smoky grilled flatbread pizza. It’s loaded with rich sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, chicken, and pesto.
- 4 individually-sized flatbreads (naan, pita, lavash, etc.)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- 1/2 cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup cooked chopped chicken
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat (around 325-375°F).
- Brush the naan on both sides with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place the naan face-down on the grill and cook for 1 minute.
- Using tongs, flip the bread over and transfer to a cutting board or clean work surface. Spread with even portions of the pesto, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Evenly top each flatbread with the mozzarella, feta, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, half of the parmesan cheese, and the remaining salt.
- Return the flatbreads to the grill. If you’re working with an outdoor grill, close the lid and grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom is golden-brown and crispy but not too dark, about 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer the pizzas from the grill to a cutting board. Garnish with the basil, and the remaining parmesan and olive oil. Slice and serve.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pizza
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Flatbread
Keywords: flatbread, grill, pizza, pesto, chicken, pita, naan
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat (around 325-375°F).
Instead of using shredded mozzarella, feel free to sub a shredded Italian “blend” of other varieties like parmesan and asiago.
Crumble the feta if you need to, chop up that chicken – a great use for leftovers! – and drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
Measure the oil, salt, pesto, mozzarella, feta, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.
For a more elegant presentation, you can chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves on top of each other, tightly rolling them, then slicing crosswise to cut the roll into very thin ribbons.
And don’t forget your flatbreads! For some added nutrition, you could substitute whole wheat naan. The ones I used were approximately 7 to 8 inches in diameter.
Roasted garlic is also nice to add an extra punch of flavor, if you have some on hand. If you do, peel and roughly chop the cloves.
Step 2 – Grill the First Side of the Flatbread
Place 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl and use a basting brush to brush both sides of the naan with the oil. Sprinkle both sides with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt divided evenly between the flatbreads.
You can use a pizza stone or steel, or even a baking sheet flipped upside down, to conduct more heat and get a golden brown crust with char spots. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to preheat these on the grill for about 20 to 25 minutes before placing the flatbreads on top.
You’ll also need to reduce the cooking time a bit if you use one of these. Keep a close eye on your pizzas by lifting the bottom of one of the flatbreads during the cooking process to check for doneness and make sure it isn’t burning.
I’m a fan of this pizza steel that’s recommended for the grill and known for creating a killer crust. It’s available from Made In.
Place the naan face-down on the grates. You’ll want to lightly toast this side, which will be under the toppings, for about 1 minute so it crisps up a bit.
Step 3 – Build the Pizzas
Using tongs, flip the bread over and transfer to a cutting board or clean work surface so you can add the toppings.
Start by spreading the bread with even portions of the pesto. You’ll want to leave about 1/4 inch from the edge to make the crust.
On top of the pesto, evenly sprinkle the mozzarella, feta, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, half of the parmesan cheese, chopped roasted garlic (if using), and the remaining salt.
Step 4 – Finish Grilling
Carefully transfer the flatbreads back to the grill. If you’re working with an outdoor appliance, close the lid. This allows you to cook using convection as the hot air trapped inside moves around, which helps to evenly cook the pizzas like an oven would. It also imparts even more smoky flavor.
Grill the pizzas until the cheese is melted and the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, for about 5 to 8 minutes.
About halfway through cooking, use tongs to gently lift a corner so you can check the bottoms and make sure they’re not getting too dark.
If the bottoms are a little too crispy but not quite done, transfer them to a spot on the grill that has more indirect heat. Or, if absolutely necessary, bring them inside and finish under the broiler in the oven.
Step 5 – Slice and Serve
Transfer the pizzas from the grill to a cutting board. Allow them to rest for about 1 minute before slicing. Garnish with the remaining parmesan, the basil, and the remaining olive oil.
Slice and serve with additional parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes.
Morphing naked flatbreads into a meal is not only one of my regular dinner staples during the week, but one of my finest party tricks.
Don’t be afraid to get creative once you’ve mastered this basic process. Sometimes I like to drizzle the empty canvas with fruity olive oil, add funky Italian cheese like taleggio, and watch the crowds go wild. I graze the top with a little Nutella and fruit, and ta-da! Dessert.
As long as you can take the flatbreads from flabby to fiercely crunchy, you’ll never be asked to just bring a bag of ice again. Party on, dude.
Sliced jalapenos? Pineapple? Seven sides of ranch? How will you give your personal touch to this smoky flatbread? Share your pizza preferences in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Feta is my friend. If you feel the same way, you’re probably searching for more ways to use up that big block of salty sheep’s milk cheese. Let these recipes lead the way:
- Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta
- Chicken Gyros with Tomato Salad and Feta
- Mini Green Onion Frittatas with Peas and Feta
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on August 19, 2015. Last updated on June 27, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”