Chickpea Flatbreads with Olives, Veggies + Garlicky Tahini Sauce
This is an easy, adaptable flatbread base called socca, made from chickpea flour. It tastes delicious with a variety of toppings, but here I've used olives, chickpeas, and some crunchy vegetables plus a garlicky tahini sauce and a sprinkle of sumac for a perfect gluten-free party food or light dinner. This recipe can be made vegan with a very easy substitution.
First off, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has sent me thoughtful notes, emails, and comments with tips and warm thoughts to help me feel better over the last month. I'm touched, and so grateful. I hate that I end up getting so sick from these sorts of things but I guess I need to come to terms that I am super sensitive and it takes a lot of work to get back to feeling good after a spell like this. All the more need to focus on preventative measures and maintaining good health! Lately, I find myself choosing my meals based on what's in them (iron? probiotics? magnesium?) and seeking out more fermented foods. I tried to make my own sauerkraut a few years ago with disastrous stinky results (Zach was not pleased about it, our house smelled so gross and there were some tea towel casualties). The whole experience scared me off, and I was suspicious of anyone claiming that it was easy! But a friend gave me a few tips on fermenting, and together with this guide by Lacy, I recently embarked on a fermenting adventure. I'm so happy to say that it was a success, my house does NOT smell gross this time, and I now have some homemade sauerkraut tucked away in the fridge. I've been adding it to most of my dinner "bowls" and can't wait to experiment more!
I feel that too much time has passed since my last post here - thank you for sticking around anyways :) Over the past month, I've been playing around a bit with growing my own sprouts (I call them my little sprout babies as I gently rinse them and check up on their progress, and that always seems to get an eye roll from Zach). I've also been experimenting with baking the perfect carrot cake ... and then retesting and retesting the recipe, just to be sure it's right. There's been a bit of dabbling in a few recipes from the newest cookbooks in my collection. In particular, I'm loving Sarah's cookbook, My New Roots. I have to say: I buy a lot of cookbooks. I always get so much enjoyment out of reading the stories, recipes, and gazing at the beautiful photography but I'm being honest, it's pretty unusual for me to actually try many, if any at all, of the recipes. Only a handful of cookbooks actually get me in the kitchen with the intention of following their instructions. Amy's book certainly has, and I love it. Now I can officially add Sarah's book to that very short list and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you're a fellow healthy food lover. It's just lovely and so full of wholesome and beautiful foods.
The recipe I'm sharing today is a spin on her socca. If you have ever tried the chickpea flour-based French flatbread, I'm sure you'll love this one! I have tried to make it several times over the years, always using my oven, and never have really loved the result. But this one... it worked like a dream, completely on the stove top. The toppings sing of the warmer weather we're enjoying, and the whole thing reminds me of the delicious Lebanese, falafel-like flavours I love. As we enjoyed these (two nights in a row!) I couldn't help but think that this would be a perfect party food. Nice timing, since I have a big birthday just a couple weeks away. The other nice party trick here is that you can prepare the socca flatbread and then freeze it, so that all it takes is some oven time to crisp it back up before adding toppings, and serving. They even taste good at room temperature. Win!
Chickpea Flatbreads with Olives, Veggies + Garlicky Tahini Sauce
Note: socca recipe adapted from My New Roots cookbook. I used a 10 inch cast iron skillet for cooking the chickpea flatbreads and would recommend a similar pan, if you have it.
This recipe makes enough for 2 x 10 inch flatbreads, and can be doubled
1 cup (90 g) chickpea flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups (280 ml) warm water
1 tbsp ghee, melted (or 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted for vegan option)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
additional coconut oil for the pan
Sift together the chickpea flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the warm water, melted ghee (if using), and melted coconut oil and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes, or several hours.
Heat a large skillet (cast iron, preferably) over medium high heat. Melt 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in the pan. Add half the batter and tilt the pan so that it spreads evenly across the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface and the batter turns from shiny to opaque. Carefully flip over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the bottom is lightly golden. Remove socca from the pan and cover with a clean tea towel or place on a baking sheet in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
At this point, you can allow the socca to cool and then freeze it in a well-sealed freezer bag. To reheat, place on a baking sheet in a 300 degree F oven until hot. Continue as below to top the flatbreads.
Garlicky Tahini Sauce
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp tahini
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp warm water
a pinch of cayenne pepper
Crush the garlic with a knife and place in a small bowl (or, if you have a mortal and pestle place in this). Sprinkle salt over the garlic, and crush together until a smooth paste forms. Add the lemon juice, tahini, and cayenne pepper. Thin with water and adjust seasoning to taste. Store any remaining sauce in a sealed container in the fridge.
Veggies and assembly:
1/4 cup cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 small radish, cut into matchsticks
a small handful of kalamata or sundried olives, cut into quarters
1/4 cup romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1/8 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/8 cup chickpeas
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sumac
1 - 2 tsp olive oil
To assemble, place warm socca on a flat surface and drizzle with Garlicky Tahini Sauce. Sprinkle cucumber, radish, olives, romaine lettuce, red onion and chickpeas over top. Drizzle with olive oil and a little more Garlicky Tahini Sauce. Sprinkle with sumac, to taste. Slice and enjoy!