Chickpea flour is one of the darlings of gluten-free baking? Why? Lots of reasons! Firstly, its flavor. Chickpea flour has a certain nuttiness about it that wheat flours just don't bring to the table. Its texture is yet another thing that makes it a coveted gluten-free staple: chickpea flour has binding properties, even devoid of gluten, thanks to other proteins. And of course, it is full of many of the same nutrients as chickpeas, including twice the protein of regular whole-wheat flour.
Convinced? We are! But if you're looking to add chickpea flour to your pantry, you probably want to know how to use it. We've got three fantastic ways to use chickpea flour in tasty chickpea flour recipes that are sure to please the whole family... whether you're avoiding gluten or not!
Perhaps one of the best known ways of using chickpea flour is in socca. These crêpes or pancakes hail from the south of France, in and around Nice. They are traditionally made from chickpea flour and can often be found sold on the streets, either on its own or wrapped around savory fillings. Once you've mastered the base recipe for socca, try using it to make a tomato-basil socca pizza, a socca grilled cheese, or a goat cheese socca pizza. You can even try variations, like a sweet potato socca. These flavorful, filling bases will soon replace breads and wraps for many of your favorite quick and easy meals.
Quite similar to socca, though it hails from the Italian side of the border, is torta di ceci. This thicker version of the bread is perfect for replacing crostini or bruschetta. Top these little chickpea toasts with any one of your favorite toppings for gluten-free bruschetta. We love our seasonal pumpkin pesto, arugula and fava bean purée, gorgonzola or a slow-cooked vidalia onion jam, but once you've mastered the base, the sky's the limit!
Chickpea flour recipes don't have to be savory. Several traditional recipes like Indian mysore pak have used chickpea flour for generations, but you'll see chickpea flour more and more in modern recipes. Why? This flour can have egg-cellent egg-replacing qualities, so vegan bakers, you've found your new best friend! Chocolate cupcakes (with or without roasted chickpea topping) and chocolate-banana muffins are just the beginning. Once you've learned how to use chickpea flour as an egg substitute, you'll be able to integrate it into all of your favorite recipes for gluten-free or egg-free versions of all those tasty treats you crave.
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Image: Charles Haynes