Crunchy plus more crunchy equals a parade on your palate.
I love the kind of math that doesn’t include any numbers!
This recipe showcases sweet, sturdy chard tangled with tomatoes, onions, and a warm bacon and honey mustard dressing. If that doesn’t get your drool glands going, the fact that it’s all hanging out on top of a homemade whole wheat flatbread certainly will.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of setting salad on top of flatbreads and pizza, you might think this whole thing sounds a bit wacky. But hear me out.
Though I wish I did, I did not invent the grand idea of garnishing a crunchy flatbread-type vehicle with cold dressed greens. Many culinary masterminds before me ventured into that territory first, scattering arugula here and there, or perhaps more notably where I’m concerned, when they placed gloriously garlicky Caesar-dressed greens atop baked dough.
I discovered Caesar salad pizza in my adolescence, but even today, I still come across it on many-a-menu. Thank goodness, because it brings one of my most favorite food memories back to life.
Many moons ago, around the same time that texting was invented and I was failing high school chemistry, an eclectic little cafe called Portobello’s was slinging delicious, ahead-of-its-time delicacies just down the street from my parents’ house in north Raleigh.
It was in our go-to rotation of restaurants, and if you know my picky parents, you know this was a tough bracket to get into.
I never needed to hear the specials. Like clockwork, it was the Caesar salad pizza for me.
The dish consisted of a smoky, chewy flatbread smeared with creamy white sauce and mounded with crunchy Romaine lettuce laced with parmesan and anchovy dressing. The cool salad contrasted perfectly with the rich crust.
My taste buds were in heaven.
Sadly, Portobello’s didn’t last long on this earth, and also ended up in heaven, I suppose. At least I’d like to think so.
This salad-topped flatbread recipe is somewhat of a tribute to that childhood favorite of mine, and while it’s the textures (not the flavors) that parallel each other here, it certainly scratches that itch.
And trust me when I tell you putting this carby base together is a piece of cake. Er, flatbread. It’s a flat bread after all, so no leavening agent is required. Just a quick knead, a 30-minute rest, and some stretching.
Sounds like Sunday afternoon to me.
Made with just a few ingredients, the dough comes together in no time. Also, it calls upon whole wheat flour, so I like to think that healthy choice negates the fact that the dressing starts with bacon fat.
Once it’s baked until crispy, chewy, and slightly crackly around the edges, the foundation is complete.
On to the salad.
Since the leaves are actually tasty when wilted, spinach is often adorned with a warm or hot dressing. I reached for rainbow chard instead as I love that the earthy greens offer a big crunch without too much bitterness, and a pop of color.
Tomatoes bring a bright pop, while onions add a crisp, zesty bite.
As delicious as all of the above details sound, there’s no trying to hide it – the warm bacon honey mustard dressing is the key that takes this meal from just “yum” to yowza!
Though it’s a fact that tangy and sweet honey mustard dressing is delicious as is, packing a punch without being overwhelming, bringing bacon fat (and ultimately, chopped bacon too!) into the mix is as genius as decorating a salad with pizza.
Once you drizzle the warm bacon honey mustard dressing over the chard, every bite becomes smoky, sweet, and beyond blissful.
Pile that crunchy masterpiece on your crunchy whole wheat flatbread, and you don’t need a mathematician to tell you that you’ve just solved an equation that’s nothing short of delicious.Print
If you love layering greens on a carby counterpart, you’ll flip for this whole wheat flatbread topped with salad and warm bacon dressing.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 5 ounces bacon
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- Coarse salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces rainbow or Swiss chard (about 1 medium bunch), chopped
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and coat a half-size sheet pan and a large mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil each.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the flour with 2 tablespoons of oil, the water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix with a fork. Use your hands to knead in the rest of the flour a little at a time, until a sticky dough forms. Knead for an additional 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and less sticky.
- Lightly coating your hands with more flour as necessary, form the dough into a ball. Place in the greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Roll until it’s about 1/2-inch thick and the approximate size of the sheet pan. Transfer the dough to the prepared sheet pan and then trim, pat, and stretch the dough until it covers the pan.
- Bake until light golden-brown and crisp, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the flatbread to a cooling rack.
- While the flatbread is baking, place the bacon in a large skillet. Cook on medium-low heat, flipping once, until the bacon is browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set the cooked bacon aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and reserve the fat in the pan. Dice the bacon after it has cooled slightly.
- In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, stir to combine 2 tablespoons of the hot bacon fat with the mustard, vinegar, and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk in the remaining oil until the dressing has emulsified. Stir in the bacon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chard, tomatoes, and onions. Pour the warm bacon dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Slice the flatbread into 6 pieces, divide among plates, and top with the dressed salad. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Whole Wheat
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Flatbread
Keywords: whole wheat, flatbread, salad, bacon, dressing, honey, mustard
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather and Measure Ingredients
Measure the olive oil, flour, water, salt, mustard, vinegar, and honey. Get out your bacon and vegetables.Rinse the chard well under cool running water to remove any sand or dirt, and dry it in your salad spinner if you like. This will help the dressing to cling, and prevents the flatbread from becoming soggy.
Feel free to swap in baby spinach leaves instead of the chard, which is more tender with less prep work required.
If you’d prefer to not make the flatbread from scratch, a store-bought option like naan or whole wheat pita would also work.
Drizzle both sides with olive oil, and place the bread on a sheet pan. Toast it in a 400°F oven, flipping once halfway through, until golden-brown and crisp. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and drizzle a half-size sheet pan and a large mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil each. Use your fingers to spread the oil and grease the surfaces of both.
Step 2 – Prep the Dough and Salad Ingredients
Add half of the flour to a large mixing bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until combined with a fork and then use your hands to knead in the remaining flour, adding it a little at a time.
Once a sticky dough has formed, knead for an additional 3 to 5 minutes to help stretch and develop the gluten strands in the dough.
Adding more flour to your hands as necessary, shape the dough into a ball and then transfer it to the greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prep the chard.
Trim off any dry, woody stems and discard them. Separate the stems and any thick ribs from the leaves by using a sharp knife to slice along the edge of the ribs. Set the stems aside and finely chop them. Roughly chop the leaves by stacking and running a knife through them to create bite-size pieces.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and thinly slice the onion.
Step 3 – Bake the Flatbread and Cook the Bacon
Dust a clean work surface with flour and then turn out the dough. Using a floured rolling pin (or a wine bottle wrapped in plastic wrap, in a pinch), roll out the dough until it’s oblong, about 1/2-inch thick, and a similar size to the sheet pan.
Carefully slide the dough onto the prepared sheet pan by rolling it up loosely on the rolling pin and then unrolling it onto the pan. Use a paring knife to trim it to the exact size of the pan. While patting and stretching the dough to cover the pan, you can mold any excess dough scraps back into the corners or discard them.
Bake the flatbread until the edges are light golden-brown and crisp, for about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the flatbread to a wire rack to cool.
While the flatbread is baking, cook the bacon. Add the strips to a large skillet and prepare a paper towel-lined plate nearby.
Cook the bacon on medium heat until it’s browned and crispy, flipping it once. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the cooked strips to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the fat in the pan to use to make the dressing.
Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, dice it into small pieces.
Step 4 – Make the Dressing
Pour 2 tablespoons of the hot bacon fat into a small saucepot over medium-high heat and add the mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Whisk until combined.
Bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly drizzle in the remaining oil, whisking as you pour, until the dressing has thickened and emulsified.
Stir in the bacon, or reserve some for an extra crunchy garnish before you stir in the rest.
When the dressing is cool enough to sample, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Assemble the Salad, Top the Flatbread, and Serve
Add the chard leaves and stems, tomatoes, and onions to a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot bacon dressing over the salad a few tablespoons at a time and toss until the greens are dressed to your liking. The greens will wilt slightly.
Using a pizza cutter or a large knife, slice the flatbread into 6 pieces. It’s okay if they’re a bit uneven or the top is a little crackly – we’re going to cover that up with salad!
Divide among plates and top with even portions of the dressed salad, and additional bacon if you reserved some for garnish.
The flatbread can be served alongside the salad as well, if you prefer.
If you didn’t use all of the dressing, serve any extra on the side for dipping the flatbread. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Flaking Out on the Flatbread?
I don’t blame you if you don’t feel like making dough on a busy weeknight. This whole wheat flatbread comes together quickly, but cleaning flour off the floor may not be in the cards for you today. And that’s cool.
With plenty of store-bought options on the shelves, just pick up a package of whole wheat naan or pita and give it 8 to 10 minutes of toasting time in a 400°F oven.
Want another shortcut secret? I tossed my leftover salad with baked pita chips and the crunch factor was just as fabulous.
Will you whip up this flatbread from scratch or get a little help from the market? Share how you made this dish your own in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
And if you’re looking for more bacon-centric ideas, give these smoky recipes a spin next:
- Bacon, Tomato, and Cheddar Breakfast Bake
- Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Frosting and Bacon
- Mac and Cheese with Crispy Bacon
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on July 10, 2015. Last updated on July 26, 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.”