plant protein

5 Ingredient Delicious Chickpea Crepes

Socca

These are the most delicious, filling, easy and protein rich crepes ever! They're naturally gluten free, high in iron, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. These are all magnificent vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function well. Iron produces collagen which keeps your skin looking young & fresh, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, and Vitamin B-6 aids in regulating your mood and appetite.

I first became familiar with them a couple of years ago through Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty  but was living in the UK at the time and couldn't find chickpea flour very easily, so I quickly forgot about them. It was only recently when I read through my copy of Sarah Britton's cookbook Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season that I immediately put the chickpea flour which had been sitting in my cupboard for a few months, to good use! They are traditionally called Socca, in France or Farinata in Italy, and are made with olive oil, however olive oil has a very low burning point so coconut oil is used as an amazingly delicious and nutritious substitute. The toppings are very versatile, so you can use what you've got in the fridge, which is what I tend to do, and wrap them up into a simple and nourishing meal. They also freeze very well, so you can make up a big batch, freeze, then heat them up in the oven quickly when you need them.

As I've been hosting more group cooking classes recently, I'm very aware of using ingredients which are readily available in Doha. And chickpea flour happens to be available in almost all supermarkets here, it's really cheap too, which means you have more money to spend on other whole food items or perhaps a little present for yourself! So Doha people, this one is dedicated to you :)

Ingredients

(makes 4 large  crepes)

Chickpea Crepes (recipe from Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season) 

1 cup chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour)

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Pinch fresh cracked black pepper

1 1/4 cup warm water

3 tablespoons coconut oil + more for cooking

Topping Suggestions

Beetroot hummus (regular hummus is also fine)

Carrots

Baby spinach leaves

Goats cheese

Guacamole

Cherry tomato salsa

Pesto

Method:

Sift the flour over a large bowl, then add salt & pepper, mix to combine.

Whisk in warm water and melted coconut oil and let sit for at least 30 mins. This will ensure the crepes hold together well.

Then heat up 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in large pan over medium heat, once hot pour 1/4 of the mixture to coat the pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes on one side, until bubbles start to form and the crepe holds together well (patience is key here) then flip and cook for 2 mins on the other side, and repeat.

Add your toppings of choice and enjoy!

Lemony Swiss Chard Soup

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Sometimes all you need is a big hearty bowl of soup, especially during the winter, and this is the one to try. Well it's not exactly freezing in Doha, it's about 20 degrees Celsius, which is cold compared to the scorching 50+ degrees in the summer months!

A lovely friend of mine, Lana, introduced me to a supermarket which stocks some pretty fresh produce from the Levant region, so I've been quite lucky recently with finding fruits and veggies I wouldn't normally have over here. The other day I came across some beautiful Lebanese Swiss Chard stalks just waiting for me to scoop them up! I bought them and they sat in the vegetable bowl on my kitchen counter for a few days as I debated between making dolma (stuffing them with a herbed rice) or soup. I finally decided soup would be the best option given the minimal prep required, and so I tried to recreate a recipe an old colleague had told me about a while back which sounded delicious. I didn't have all the ingredients but decided to work with what I had at home, I replaced potatoes with butternut squash and green lentils with black-eye peas, also fresh coriander with coriander powder. So work with which ever ingredients are easier to get your hands on. Either way, you will have a lovely warming bowl of soup to savour!

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eye peas, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups swiss chard, sliced
  • 2 tsp sumac powder himalayan pink salt (sea salt is fine too) & black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs ghee (can be replaced with coconut oil for Vegans)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs coriander powder

Method:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot on medium - high heat. Then add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly. Stir in the black-eye peas and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the broth to a boil and add the butternut squash, swiss chard. Season with sumac, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down and let simmer, covered, until the squash and peas are cooked, approximately 20-25 mins. While you're waiting for the soup to cook, heat the ghee in a small pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about a minute, then stir in the coriander powder, and remove from heat once the aromas start being released, about 30/40 seconds. Once the peas and squash are nearly done, add the garlic and coriander,and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash and peas have cooked through. Just before serving add the juice of one lemon, and taste to check seasoning, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Cut up the left over lemon into wedges to serve on the side and enjoy!