You probably already know that chickpeas are delicious on your salad, roasted until crispy, or puréed into hummus. You may have even seen pasta made from chickpeas. But did you know chickpea flour also happens to be a great way to add rich flavor and nutrition to your diet? (See: Creative Chickpea Recipes That Go Beyond Hummus.)
Chickpea flour is a great source of protein and high in fiber, making it a filling option for meat-free meals. A quarter-cup serving contains 110 calories and provides 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, along with 10 percent of your daily iron needs. It also happens to be gluten-free, has a warm, rich taste and a dense, chewy texture. You can find it at your local health-food store or online or, if you're feeling ambitious, you can make your own by grinding dried chickpeas into flour with a blender or food processor.
If you're trying your hand at gluten-free baking, chickpea flour can work in both savory and sweet recipes—just keep in mind that it may not be best if you're looking for an end product that's light and fluffy. Your best bet is to mix it with other flours for things like cupcakes, cookies, or breads, and let it stand alone for baking crackers and pizza crust.
One recipe I love to make with chickpea flour, especially when I have a bunch of random leftover veggies to use: Socca. It's a traditional French flatbread made from chickpea flour, and you can make it in the oven (though I prefer to just cook it in a skillet as though it were a savory pancake). It makes a great blank canvas, so top it with whatever you like: Greens, roasted peppers, sautéed mushrooms, grilled eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese, avocado—the list really goes on and on.
Ready to give it a try? Use this recipe to make Socca, then get ready for your eyes (and stomach) to open up to a whole new world of baking.
Makes 2 large pancakes. (If preferred, you can make 4 smaller ones and cooking time may be shorter.)
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil or cooking spray for skillet
- Whisk together chickpea flour, baking powder, water, and salt and pepper. Add the water a little at a time, whisking well to smooth out lumps as you go.
- Lightly oil or spray a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Turn heat to medium.
- Pour batter into round shape that coats the entire skillet surface. Cook on first side over medium heat until bubbles start to form (about 3 to 4 minutes).
- Flip and cook other side—another 2 or 3 minutes or until cooked through.
- Repeat with remaining batter.
- Transfer each pancake to a plate and top with desired toppings.