This easy homemade stuffed flatbread is filled with potato, spinach, green onion and herbs. Fried until crisp and golden, this yeast-free vegan flatbread is inspired by Afghan bolani. Easy to make, vegan stuffed bread is perfect any time whether you are craving a savory breakfast, appetizer, side or light meal.
In a medium sized bowl with a wooden spoon, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, stir the flour and salt together. Pour in the water and oil. If doing by hand, mix with a spoon until it becomes difficult and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until soft and elastic but not sticky or dry. If doing this in a stand-mixer, knead the dough for 3 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover for 30 minutes so it can relax at room temperature.
For the Potato Spinach Filling:
Scrub and peel the potatoes. Chop into medium chunks and boil in water until they can be pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well. OR, you can bake whole potatoes by scrubbing them, leaving the skins on, pricking with a pointed knife all over (to let the steam escape so the potato does not explode) and microwave until soft, about 10-15 minutes depending on your microwave and the size of your potatoes. Some microwaves have a potato preset which is useful. Once baked and cooled enough to handle, scoop out the insides and mash with a fork. OR, use 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes (warm or cold.)
Place the cooked potatoes into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until each piece is broken up but the potatoes are not pureed. Some texture is nice. Add the spinach, green onions, cilantro, cumin, salt, and garam masala. Stir well to combine.
To Assemble the Flatbreads:
Divide the dough evenly into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, dusting the work surface and your hands with a bit of flour if needed. Keep the dough covered as you roll each piece of dough, placing the ball back under the cover to keep them from drying out.
Taking one ball at a time, place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface and roll it into an 8" (20 cm) circle. Spread ⅛ of the filling onto one half of the dough circle, leaving a ½” (1.3 cm) border around the edges. Using a large cookie scoop, which is about ⅓ cup, makes short work of dividing the filling equally. Any filling on the border will prevent the flatbread from sealing and your filling may come out.
Brush the border with a bit of water on your fingertip to help secure a seal and fold the other side of the dough over the filling. Press firmly or pinch around the border to seal the flatbread closed, pressing out any air as you go.
Repeat with the remaining dough balls and filling. I find it easiest to start cooking once the first two flatbreads are ready to fry, assembling the rest of the flatbreads as I cook the first ones.
To Cook the Flatbreads:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat (cast iron is great for flatbread). Add a teaspoon of oil, spread it around and when a drop of water dances in the pan, it is ready and you can add your flatbread. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to fit two in a time but do not overcrowd the pan or the flatbreads can weld together.
Press the flatbread down with a spatula to ensure even cooking, then cover with a lid or baking sheet for 2 minutes, checking the bottom at 1 minute. If the flatbread burns within 1-2 minutes, your heat is too high. When ready, flip the flatbread over, press down again gently and put the lid back on, cooking for another 1-2 minutes. Add a bit more oil to the skillet before cooking each new flatbread.
Place the flatbreads on a wire cooling rack as you continue cooking the rest. The wire rack will help prevent them from becoming soggy on the bottom. Alternatively, you can keep them in a warm oven on a baking sheet.
Serve with your desired dip - chutney, vegan tzatziki, yogurt, sour cream, or guacamole are all great options but the flatbread is also delicious on its own. Makes a great accompaniment to curry or dal.
If you don't have frozen spinach, you can use fresh spinach although you should cook it first so that it releases its moisture otherwise your filling will be wet and gluey. To cook the spinach, you can pan fry it in a small amount of oil, stirring occasionally until it releases it water and the water has evaporated. Otherwise you can steam it or simmer it, then drain. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the liquid out and roughly chop.I like the the vibrant flavors of the green onions – if you would like to dial down the onions, you can sauté them in a bit of oil before adding them to the filling.Fresh chopped basil, or your favorite herb combination, can be used in lieu of cilantro. Make Ahead and Storage Suggestions:Prepare the dough and the filling ahead of time, storing them separately in airtight containers, for up to a few days. Let the dough rest at room temperature before rolling out.Once made and cooked, the stuffed flatbreads are best enjoyed fresh and hot, but can be refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen for a few months in an airtight container. To reheat, first thaw the flatbreads in the fridge and then pan fry in a small amount of oil. Alternatively, the flatbreads can be wrapped in tinfoil and heated in the oven.