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Apple Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Arugula Pesto

This apple flatbread is piled high with balsamic caramelized onions, smoked Gouda, sweet bites of apple and topped with a spicy arugula pesto. The crust is crisp and crunchy with just a touch of honey for extra sweetness. I know it seems fancy, but trust me, one’s actually pretty easy to make! Completely vegetarian, optionally vegan and crazy delicious.

[This blog post is in partnership with Yes! Apples]

Apple Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Arugula Pesto

So if you’re a little surprised to see that apples are one of the main players here, I get that. It’s not exactly something you usually see on a flatbread or pizza. I was a little skeptical at first too and decided to just give it a go to see what would happen, and I am SO happy I did. I’m serious— this flatbread is now one of my favorites! The sweetness and crunch from apple pairs so nicely with those balsamic caramelized onions and smokiness from the Gouda. Plus a quick and flavorful arugula pesto for a bit of spice and freshness, a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds, it’s a pretty great deal.

The Toppings…

  • Apples – You’ll want to choose a variety of apple that’s crisp, sweet and holds it’s shape despite the heat of the oven. My favorite types for this recipe have to be either Koru, which are the perfect balance of tart and sweet, or Snapdragon, which are super crunchy and perfect for this flatbread.
  • Caramelized onions: I am absolutely in love with caramelized onions, they add so much flavor and sweetness with so few ingredients. They do take a while to turn that wonderful dark carmel color, but it’s totally worth it. I like to use yellow onions for their natural sweetness. Make sure you slice them lengthwise very thinly to speed up the cook time.
  • Smoked Gouda: Adds a wonderful smoky flavor to the flatbread. To make this dairy free, I used a vegan brand of smoked Gouda, but feel free to use a traditional cheese.
  • Arugula pesto: Probably my favorite pesto recipe, this one is made in a blender or food processor with spicy arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds and fruity olive oil. It can also be made vegan by subbing out the Parmesan for nutritional yeast!
Apple Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Arugula Pesto

Can This Apple Flatbread Recipe be Made Vegan?

Yes! I have made this flatbread completely vegan by using dairy free smoked Gouda and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. I was able to find a dairy free smoked Gouda at Whole Foods, but if you can’t find an exact substitute any nondairy cheese will work. If you choose to use nutritional yeast which is unsalted, just make sure you taste the pesto to ensure sure it’s salted to your liking.

Tips For Making Apple Flatbread

  • Make sure you are using high quality pizza dough for this recipe. I always make my own, my favorite recipe is Roberta’s Pizza Dough over on NYT Cooking. Turns out perfect every time. If using store bought, dough is easiest to work with when it’s at room temperature. Make sure you take it out of the fridge a few hours beforehand.
  • If your pumpkin seeds are not already roasted, you can toast them yourself. Just heat a dry skillet over medium heat and cooking them in an even layer until golden brown and popping.
  • Caramelizing onions can take a while but I like to speed up the process by adding a pinch of salt right at the beginning to make the onions release their moisture. I then turn up the heat to high and allow the water to evaporate, stirring often. After the onions seem a bit drier, I reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook them until deeply caramelized.
  • I like to make the arugula pesto while the onions are cooking, however; you can make it up to three days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Apple Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Arugula Pesto

More Recipes to Try

Made this recipe? Tag @wandering_chickpea on Instagram and follow along on Pinterest for more delicious recipes!

Yield: 9 servings

Apple Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Arugula Pesto

Apple flatbread

Crisp and crunchy flatbread topped with sweet apple slices, balsamic caramelized onions, smoked Gouda and spicy arugula pesto. Fancy, but surprisingly easy to make! Vegetarian with a vegan option.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 lb pizza dough, homemade or store bought
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more as needed
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Koru or Snapdragon apple, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz smoked Gouda (vegan if needed)
  • 1 tbsp honey

Arugula pesto

  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp parmesan or nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt + more to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 475º F and grease a large baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. To make the caramelized onions, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add in the sliced onions plus a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring every so often until deeply caramelized. About 20-25 minutes. Stir in the balsamic and thyme, cook for another three minutes and set aside until ready to use.
  3. While the onions cook, make the arugula pesto. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender, Blend to combine, scraping down the sides as you go. Taste for salt and add more as needed. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. To assemble the flatbread, roll out the dough into a thin circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to the greased baking dish and top with smoked gouda, apple slices, and caramelized onions.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together honey with 2 tbsp water and brush over the outer crust. Bake the flatbread for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the center. Slice and serve fresh out of the oven with dallops of arugula pesto.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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