Lavash Pizzas

We’ve hardly ever met a pizza that we didn’t like — all different kinds — from homemade, to our favorite local joint for NY-style pies, to a different favorite place for Neapolitan-style pizza, to the deep dish without which our trips to Chicago would not be complete.  We eat a lot of pizza, but don’t always have the time to make homemade dough, or the inclination to go out and order pizza from a restaurant.  We’ve used the pre-made pizza crusts available from the grocery store (they work especially well when grilled), but were intrigued when we found a recipe using lavash flatbread as the base of the pizza instead of traditional pizza dough.  The original recipe (found in Cook’s Illustrated’s magazine “30-Minute Suppers”) was for “buffalo chicken lavash pizza,” which was delicious (chicken cooked in buffalo sauce, then shredded for the pizza topping along with blue cheese, mozzarella, celery and green onions), but the main take-away for us was the technique of turning lavash into a thin, crispy pizza crust perfect for delivering whatever delicious toppings you choose into your pie-hole.  Since then, we’ve made several different kinds of lavash pizzas (including a breakfast version), and most recently, we topped the lavash with leftover smoked turkey and other ingredients for a BBQ turkey pizza and our version of a white pizza.  No matter the toppings, using lavash is the fastest, easiest method we know for making really good, flatbread-style pizza at home.


Another great thing about lavash is that different kinds are available, including whole grain, spinach and plain.  It depends on the grocery store, but we can usually find it in the bread/bakery section of most stores.  Lavash also freezes well (and doesn’t take up much freezer space) and doesn’t have to be thawed before you use it.  Frozen or fresh, the first step for lavash pizza is to brush a little bit of olive oil on both sides of the lavash, then place the lavash on a baking sheet and bake in the oven preheated to 425 degrees, turning the lavash over halfway through the cooking time, until it just begins to brown and turn crispy — about 3 minutes per side.  (Frozen lavash may take a bit longer per side.)  Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t get too brown, since it will go back in the oven with the toppings.


On this night, we made 2 different pizzas:  one topped with BBQ sauce, smoked turkey, monterey jack cheese and red onion, then finished with cilantro; and the other topped with a bechamel-style creamy sauce, smoked turkey, monterey jack and mozzarella cheese, and topped with arugula.


Whatever toppings you are using, start with a thin layer of sauce on the barely-browned lavash (it doesn’t matter which side you use.)  For a traditional, tomato-based sauce, we highly recommend the super quick and easy, no-cook version found in this post.


Add a layer of meat, if you’re using any.


Top with a generous layer of cheese and whatever veggies you may be using.


Bake the lavash pizzas at 425 degrees until the edges are browned and crispy, the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the toppings are heated through — about 6-8 minutes.  Depending on what toppings you’re using, you may want to add certain toppings at the halfway mark, so they don’t overcook.  For example, with the buffalo chicken pizza, we added the celery and green onions after the pizza had been cooking for about 4 minutes, then cooked it 4 minutes longer.  That way, the celery and green onions retained a bit of their crunch.


We like to top our pizzas with fresh greens (saves the time and effort of making a separate salad!) — arugula for the white pizza and cilantro for the BBQ pizza.  Keeping a package of lavash in your freezer will allow you to create delicious pizza at almost literally a moment’s notice, with whatever topping ingredients you happen to have on hand, and is an excellent way to transform leftover proteins into a completely different meal.

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