Once and a while I like to make a vegetarian meal but it has to be satisfying. Roasted vegetables seasoned with a smokey spice blend on a comforting chickpea pancake with a cool yogurt sauce, ticks all of the major craving boxes for me. The chickpea pancake which is gluten and wheat free satisfies my unceasing carb cravings 😉 and it’s amazing how raw cauliflower transforms when it is fried or roasted. It softens and caramelizes, sweetens then all of a sudden, it’s full of flavour. The refreshing lemony lettuce offers a crisp texture contrast while the cool yogurt sauce lightens and brings everything together. My husband is a huge fan of this recipe and really looks forward to the evenings that I make it.
Healthy eating anecdote:
I don’t know about you but when I only have a salad for lunch, I feel like I’ve something important! lol Even if it’s the first time in 6 months, I think “ok, I am a healthy eater, I feel lighter already”. Then, I tell people, with a tone that resembles one of someone who climbed a mountain. “yeah… yeah… I only ate a salad today…” Then, I proudly log this into my calorie calculator. Wow! I only consumed 250 calories! Then, I feel as though I am dying of starvation for the rest of the day, dreaming of the sandwich I should have made and that I’ll definitely make tomorrow. (but I actually make it when I get home from work) Or what about when someone at the office brings doughnuts, I’ll have one because I “only had a salad” Thankfully, this recipe ain’t nothin’ like that and hopefully you won’t feel like reaching for a doughnut after eating this 😉
Chickpea Pancakes, also known as Farinata and Socca, is a popular street food served in parts of Italy and France. It’s usually served lightly seasoned with fresh herbs. The first time I tried making these (got the recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook at the time), I was really perplexed as to why anyone would eat this. It was thick, heavy and tasteless. So, intrigued, I read up on it and found that many people online thought of them as “delicious” , “a favourite snack” and one described them as “crispy with a custardy interior” I realized that I must have done something very wrong. Then I stumbled upon the recipe below and now I understand the allure 😉
Parchment paper (optional but very useful)
Chickpea Pancake Batter
Good things come to those who wait. To ensure proper moisture absorption, the ideal waiting time for a good farinata batter is 4 – 8 hours. Although, I have been strapped for time (Because I was unprepared and hate waiting) and used the batter after only 1 hour. The pancakes turned out well anyway. I recommend prepping your batter in the morning before work so that it’s ready when you get home and that way, it doesn’t really feel like you’re waiting 😉
- 1/2 pound (or 226 g or 2.5 cups) finely ground chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Whisk ingredients together, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
This recipe is not an exact science. Just make sure you have approximately as much carrot and cauliflower stated below, otherwise it’ll mess with the flavour balance. When adding your spice blend, lemon and salt, give it a taste and adjust to your liking.
500-600g Multicoloured Carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2″ long pieces at an angle. (You can use orange Nantes carrots, which tend to be slimmer than regular carrots but the multicoloured ones are prettier )
Mixed baby lettuce (I like baby gem lettuces when available because they are small and crispy)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large lemon
1 large head of cauliflower or 2 smaller ones cut into bite-sized florets
Bunch of fresh chives, chopped
200g of Plain Greek yogurt
Spice blend: 10 g or about 2 tbsp equal parts Smoked paprika, ground cumin. Adjust to your liking.
Additional salt, as needed
Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare your mise en place. Peel and cut your carrots and cauliflower as described in the ingredients list, zest and juice the lemon, Thinly slice the chives and mince the garlic.
Combine the yogurt, 1/2 of the spice blend (or to taste), 1/2 of the garlic and 1/2 of the lemon juice and add as much of the lemon zest as you like. (Start with half and go from there) Season with salt, to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator. The garlic flavour will intensify as it sits, which is what you want.
On a lined sheet pan, toss the carrots, cauliflower and the remaining garlic with a generous drizzle of olive oil, the remaining spice blend and additional salt, if needed. Arrange in a single layer. Bake until softened and caramelized, with browning around the edges. Check on it out at about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning at this point and return to the oven. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, it can take another 30 minutes. Keep your eye on it.
Getting it just right: If the cauliflower looks like it’s steaming and not caramelizing, stir to coat with pan oil again and cook for a little longer. This can happen if there’s extra water in your veggies from washing. Sometimes I turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes until I see that the cauliflower is becoming slightly golden and browned around the edges.
While the vegetables are roasting, make your chickpea pancakes. Drizzle olive oil into your non-stick pan, heated to medium or medium high. Working in batches , spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown and transfer to a warm dish. Cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
See pics and video at the end of this post to see how to cook your chickpea pancakes in a pan, like a pro 😉
In a bowl combine lettuces, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, 1/2 of the chives, salt and pepper.
Plating time! Top each pancake with some yogurt sauce, the roasted vegetables and dressed lettuce. Garnish with remaining chives, drizzle more lemon if desired and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!
Tips and Tricks
Making Pan Fried Chickpea Pancakes
So after making this recipe a few times, I learned a few tricks!
The pan needs to be hot at first, but keep it at med-low for the majority of the time. Gas and electric stove tops vary and your pans conduct heat differently as well.
I’m not skimpy on the oil. I put a silver dollar sized drop of olive oil into the pan.
Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter and swirl around. When bubbles or tiny pockets form that means that it will be soon time to flip it but wait just a little longer until the top sets (no more runny batter), then flip!
After I’ve flipped it, I know I’ve got my temperature right when I can slide it around in the pan as shown below.
These are best enjoyed right away while they’re warm and crisp around the edges. Season with more salt if necessary.