Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chickpea Farinata Bread

If you are like me and have never heard of or tried Italian farinata before, you are in for a treat.  This is one of the simplest loaves of bread you could hope to make, although I hesitate to lump it into the category of "bread" lest it mislead anyone about what to expect from the texture.  This is dense.  It's just chickpea flour and water, really.  Add a few spices, and it's ready to go in the oven.  Heck, we skipped the mixing bowl entirely and stirred this up right in the pan.  Don't be concerned when it looks....well....soupy when you stick it in the oven.  Ours resembled crepe batter (very thin and runny) and we exchanged dubious looks as we closed the oven door behind it.  It seemed impossible that it would solidify into anything bread-like and/or edible under any amount of heat.  But, seemingly miraculously, we opened the oven door 20 minutes later to find that it had browned on top and settled into the dense bread you see pictured.  Fantastic. 

The whole loaf only has 680 calories if you make it as directed below, and 24 grams of protein.  This makes a really dense loaf, so it can stand on its own as part of a main meal (perhaps served with soup or salad on the side).  But it was also great to have as a power snack during the day.

The great thing about this bread is how versatile it is in terms of flavor.  The original recipe also called for thinly sliced onions to be cooked into the bread, which my friend Lisa had had the first time she ate this (served by friends of hers), but which we omitted.  It also did not call for cumin originally, but we happen to love cumin - a lot - and it just goes so well with chickpeas that we dumped a ton into ours, with wonderful results.  Check out this post about farinata for some great ideas about how to customize it (topped with zucchini and parmesan cheese??  Yes, please!)  Feel free to make it your own.  Play around with it to find the flavor you like.  But if you're a fan of chickpeas like I am, you will find a new addiction in farinata. 

Chickpea Farinata Bread

For a flatter bread:
1 cup warm water
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 - 2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 thinly sliced onion, sautéed (optional - we did not add this into ours)

For a thicker bread (like the picture above):
2 cups warm water
2 cups chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 - 4 tsp. cumin
2 - 4 tbsp. olive oil
1 thinly sliced onion, sautéed (optional - we did not add this into ours)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Spray a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.

In a separate bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.  Pour into the pan and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or just until browned on top (for the thicker bread, you'll need to leave it in for 20 - 30 minutes; start checking for doneness after 20 minutes with a toothpick).  Remove from oven and let settle and cool for 5 - 10 minutes.  Serve warm.  If desired, sprinkle with addition cumin before serving.  


  1. yay, lovely looking cheela/farinata.

  2. Thank you! It tasted lovely, too!

  3. So easy to make, I just tried this out tonight and am in love!

  4. I made this just now with the onions and the onions are way too strong. I didn't even use a half of an onion. I read in another recipe that they sauté them first and then add them.....was that what you meant to say? Or, did you mean for me to add them raw?

  5. Ah, yes - sauteed onions. I truly apologize for the error and the wasted ingredients.

  6. Have you had any luck using canned chickpeas instead of the flour/water combo?

  7. I've never actually tried using canned chickpeas, and so I'm not sure how much you'd need to reduce the water in the recipe given the water content of the canned peas...and I also think that the consistency would be quite different. If you do have the flour available to you, I'd recommend trying it first with the flour/water combo to see the consistency you're looking for. Then you can try it with the canned chickpeas and add water until you get a similar consistency to the flour/water combo. Good luck!!

  8. I tried this recipe today and didn't get the results I was hoping for....flatbread instead of what your picture shows which I am guessing is a few inches thick and quite fluffier.
    Follow exactly as described...what went wrong?
    Thanks for your reply

  9. As Sabrina stared above! mine came out quite flat! not fluffy and golden as the image you've posted. I followed your recipe to the T. What happened?

  10. I'm so sorry that it didn't turn out the way that my picture looks! I updated the recipe above; I think to get that thick of a bread, the recipe needs to be doubled. I apologize for my mistake. I usually make it the way you both did and still find it delicious, so I hope it wasn't too much of a disappointment. Also, I wouldn't really describe the bread pictured above as fluffy, despite how it looks - it's a pretty dense bread (packs a protein punch!)!

  11. I used the thicker recipe last night to make muffins and I just wanted you to know that they are now my favorite muffins of all time. OMG SO GOOD.

    I used the full amount of cumin, but found I only needed 2 tbs of oil. I made some with onions and some without and they're both delicious.

    I'm going to try using this recipe (without the cumin & onions) as a base for other things. I think that they'd make great walnut or pecan muffins and maybe even fruit muffins. (I make pancakes out of garbanzo flour too and they are yummy.)

    Thank you so much for posting & updating this recipe! :)

  12. Hi JoniW, I am thrilled to hear that the thicker recipe worked out so well for you! It's quite an honor that they're your favorites of all time - and I think I'm going to have to try these out in muffin form now, too! I agree that these would be fabulous with nuts/seeds or fruit - and I bet they'd be good with chocolate chips, too. Just saying. (But chocolate chips are a welcome addition to nearly anything, in my book). Thanks again so much for letting us know how this worked for you!!

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