I’ve discovered in my late-20s-ish-ness – which is perhaps due to the same thing that makes me say “BLENDER SALE?!?!!?” and “EARLY BEDTIME!!!!” with the enthusiasm I used to reserve only for Chinese food buffets and Christmas – that I really like hosting dinner parties. Even if it’s just one other couple, I’ve grown to prefer it to going out.
Plus, it’s an awesome excuse to subject unwitting victims to my new recipes and see what works (and what doesn’t).
So far, there haven’t been too many ohmygodicantbelievethishappened moments, and certainly nothing that has been inedible… but it’s always really rewarding when things DO turn out (and then I get to share them with you here!).
This socca has been on my to-make list for quite some time. I first read about it in my initial exploits in food-on-the-internet after I moved into my first super tiny, big-girl apartment after university. I remember coming across a post on Purely Twins – this was when I was researching how to dabble in raw foods – and thought socca sounded like the best thing to plug into my no-carb, no-bread life. Sadly, the Bunson Burner-sized stove in that wee apartment couldn’t properly heat anything enough to make it cook at all. (Oh, how many undercooked chickpeas did I eat that year? Boof.)
Several years and several apartments later, I’ve tried making chickpea pancakes on the stovetop, but for some reason (too much or too little baking powder, too little oil, too much flour), they’ve never turned into the doughy, slightly crispy flatbreads of my dreams.
But hurrah – this batch worked! In fact, I made so much extra batter, we ended up eating socca well into the first week of January, which I suppose isn’t the worst thing. The socca batter recipe itself is an adaptation of this goodie from Oh My Veggies.
The recipe shown here reflects a single batch, one that feeds about 4 people as an appetizer or side, and 2 people if you’re making it the piece de resistance in a meal.
I can’t recommend highly enough investing in a sturdy cast iron pan. Not only are they super versatile and oven-safe, minerals from the metal actually leach into the food and can improve the nutritional quality of your meal. Not kidding (and not as gross as it sounds); in fact, cooking with untreated iron cookware is often recommended by naturopaths for those with low iron. I believe our cast iron skillet came from Home Goods and cost $20. So worth it.
Start to finish, including heating up the oven, this takes about 25 minutes to make. There are three main steps:
1// Preheat skillet in the oven while you make the batter.
2// Cook batter in the skillet.
3// Prepare toppings, including garlic, onion and spinach.
There’s also a little vegan cheese melting that happens during #2 and #3.
Feel free to experiment with your toppings. One night we used chard; another, spinach. Any hearty green that will stand up to sautéing is great. If you want to use a raw green like romaine, go for it. Just skip adding it to the frying pan with your onions.
What’s nice, too, is that this socca makes a great base for homemade gluten-free pizza or even a piecrust (just omit the garlic and salt in the preparation).
As someone who has a love/discomfort relationship with most grains, it’s so nice to have an option that feels carby and delicious but doesn’t end with me being moody and puffy for two days. Know what I mean? Everyone wins!
I’d love to see how you use this! Host a party, spread it around… or you know, just make it for lunch or something.
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil + additional oil for cooking
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Daiya or other vegan cheese
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced into rounds
- 3 large handfuls spinach
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1. Preheat oven to 350F.
- 2. Place 8" cast iron skillet into the oven to heat up, about 5 minutes.
- 3. While you wait, whisk together chickpea flour, water, 2 tsp olive oil, salt and garlic until smooth.
- 4. Remove skillet from the oven add a splash of oil to coat. Swirl it around so it coats the bottom and lower bit of the sides of your skillet.
- 5. Pour in batter and swirl skillet so the batter spreads out evenly.
- 6. Place into the oven and set timer for 8 minutes.
- 7. In the meantime, heat a little oil in a skillet on the stovetop and add onions. Cook on medium until they soften and start to brown slightly, about 7 minutes.
- 8. Add spinach and sautee until spinach wilts, 1-2 minutes.
- 9. Remove socca from the oven and sprinkle Daiya cheese on top. Return it to the oven and bake 2-3 minutes more until Daiya melts.
- 10. Once cheese is melted, remove socca from the oven and place cooked onions and spinach on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.