8 Creative Ways to Use Socca, a Gluten-Free Flatbread

Socca is basically a chickpea crepe, but baked more like a flatbread. Native to the Mediterranean, socca is street food perhaps best eaten in Nice, France, cooked in a wood-fired oven to blister the crust and served hot on a napkin. Because it’s made with chickpea flour, socca is naturally vegan and gluten-free, and has a higher protein content than wheat flours.

Chickpea flour has an equivalent amount of naturally occurring iron and calcium as whole-wheat flour but contains 7.6 times the folate, twice the vitamin A, and 4 times the vitamin K. There’s still plenty of nutritional value in whole wheat flour — it’s much higher in manganese and selenium while being lower in sugar — but chickpea flour is a great addition to your diet. Luckily, socca is an incredibly versatile and delicious way to eat more of it. Here are 8 creative ways to fit more socca into your life.

Source: iStock

1. David Lebovitz’s Socca

Before we can get into fancying up socca, we have to start with the basics. David Lebovitz, our favorite expat living in Paris, has engineered a recipe for the home oven that comes close to the wood-fired oven used in traditional Nice socca cooking. He uses cumin to both complement the flavor of the chickpea flour and add a touch of smokiness to the crepe. This recipe will make three 9- or 10-inch crepes. The batter benefits from a long rest in the fridge before baking, so plan accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste for serving

Directions: Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, and 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil. Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at room temperature.

To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch pan with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan in the oven. David uses a cast-iron skillet, but you can use any ovenproof pan or baking dish.

Once the pan and the oven are blazing hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then put it back in the oven.

Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler.

Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then sprinkle on coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one.

Source: iStock

2. Socca Pizza With Summer Squash and Feta

Socca makes an incredibly easy pizza dough. This recipe from Cookie and Kate uses dried chickpeas to make flour from scratch using a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder, though you could easily use store-bought flour instead. Kate uses Greek flavors here that she normally associates with chickpeas: feta, kalamata olives, summer squash, and thyme. The whole thing bakes up fairly quickly in a cast-iron pan. This recipe yields one 9- to 10-inch pizza, depending on the size of your pan, so scale accordingly if you have more mouths to feed.

Ingredients:

Pizza crust

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Pizza toppings

  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 small zucchini and/or yellow squash, ribboned with a vegetable peeler and tossed lightly in olive oil
  • 5 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Small handful sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 small sprig fresh thyme, optional

Directions: In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic and salt. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Turn on the broiler with a rack positioned 8 inches from heat. Place a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, in the oven to preheat.

Once the skillet is hot, carefully remove it from the oven. Pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl the pan around so the oil is evenly distributed. Pour in the chickpea batter and return the skillet to the broiler. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the socca is set and the edges are browning and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven, turn off broiler, and turn oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of the socca. Top the socca with mozzarella, then distribute the ribboned squash on top. Sprinkle olives and sun-dried tomatoes on top, then sprinkle feta over the pizza.

Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is browning and the socca is crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh thyme on top. Let the pizza cool for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces and serving.

Source: iStock

3. Silver Dollar Socca

These are the cutest little socca pancakes. These aren’t vegan and definitely a departure from traditional socca, but we’re up for an adventure. Heidi from 101 Cookbooks uses mustard seeds and black sesame seeds for added flavor and texture in these socca pancakes. She cooks them in a small sheen of spicy, cold-pressed mustard seed oil, but you could use any cooking oil you have on hand. Her one biggest tip with these is to allow the pancakes to set and crisp up well on the bottom before trying to flip them, so they don’t stick.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups chickpea flour
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

Directions: Combine the chickpea flour, salt, eggs, water, buttermilk, olive oil, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes, so the chickpea flour absorbs the buttermilk, resulting in a more tender pancake. Stir again.

Heat a small splash of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, just enough to coat the pan. Add spoonfuls of batter to the pan, 1 tablespoon at a time. Leave plenty of room between pancakes, as the batter spreads. Cook for approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side or until lightly golden with crisped edges. Transfer from the pan to a paper towel, blotting gently. These are best enjoyed immediately, but you can also place on an oven-proof platter in a low-heat oven while cooking the remaining pancakes.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Socca With Sautéed Chard and Parmesan

This recipe from Oh My Veggies balances the sometimes bitter taste of chard with sweet golden raisins to top this gluten-free flatbread pizza. If you leave all the prep for the recipe until after the socca batter is made and resting, it comes together in perfect tandem. Kiersten recommends this as an appetizer for a casual dinner party, though it would also make a fantastic main course with a side salad.

Ingredients:

Socca

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil, plus additional oil for cooking
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Chard

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions: Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and garlic in a medium bowl. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

While the batter is resting, start the chard. Slice the stems and ribbon the leaves. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the chard stems and garlic slices to the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the chard and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the raisins, pine nuts, and vinegar to the skillet and cook for a minute more, then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the batter is almost ready, preheat the broiler of your oven. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or pie tin in the oven once the broiler is heated. Let the skillet warm up for 5 minutes, then remove it from the oven and pour a little oil in it, swirling to coat. Pour the socca batter into the skillet and return it to the oven.

Bake the socca until it’s beginning to blister on the top and the edges are crispy. Depending on your broiler, this could take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes, so keep an eye on it. If it begins to brown before the center is set, move the skillet to a lower rack.

Use a spatula to loosen the socca from the skillet and carefully transfer it to a cutting board.

Top the prepared socca with the sautéed chard and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the socca with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Source: iStock

5. Kalamata Olive and Herb Socca With Roasted Vegetables

If olive bread exists, why not olive socca? Like focaccia, socca can be plain or it can have toppings pressed and baked into the batter. We’re thinking sun-dried or fresh tomatoes, thin slices of summer squash, and zucchini blossoms. This socca is a bit thicker to account for both the pile of roasted veggies on top and the kalamata olives set into the batter. Beth of Tasty Yummies roasted up asparagus, sliced mushrooms, a poblano pepper, garlic, and halved cherry tomatoes, but you can use whatever vegetables you’d like.

Ingredients:

Socca

  • 1½ cups chickpea flour
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¾ cups lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,
 plus more for the pans
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

Roasted vegetables

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

Directions: In a large bowl, sift in the chickpea flour, then add in the salt, and pepper. Whisk in water and olive oil. Then stir in the basil. The batter should be very thin, much like a crepe batter. Let sit on the counter, covered, for at least 30 minutes. You can also cover and refrigerate it overnight.

While the socca batter is resting, roast the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and spread the veggies out on a lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and herbs and roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

When the vegetables are out of the oven, crank it up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and place two 9-inch cake pans on the center rack. Once the pans are roaring hot, remove them from the oven and add a tablespoon of oil to each, swirling it around to coat. Divide the batter to each pan and split the olives between them, sprinkling over the batter and pressing in gently.

Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set. Then place the pans into the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the top gets some nice browned, almost black spots. Remove from oven and carefully flip out onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and top with roasted vegetables.

Source: iStock

6. Grilled Zucchini Socca Tacos

Alright, Gwyneth Paltrow, let’s see what you’ve got. Rather than the typical flour or corn tortillas, this taco recipe from GOOP uses socca to wrap up grilled zucchini, black beans, and avocado topped with a spiced tahini slaw. The filling in these is infinitely customizable, so feel free to trade it out for grilled chicken or fish or tempeh.

Ingredients:

Tortillas

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt

Taco filling

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 recipe easy black beans
  • ½ an avocado

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Zest of 1 lime, plus the juice for serving
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper

Slaw

  • ¼ head green cabbage
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the socca, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the garnish. Combine the onion, cilantro, lime zest, and jalapeño in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. When the pan is hot but the oil is not smoking, add about ¼ cup socca batter. The batter should immediately spread into a nice 4- to 6-inch pancake, but if it doesn’t, lift and turn the pan to help it spread out.

When the bottom is beginning to brown and you can see tiny bubbles on the surface, flip the socca and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the second side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate when cooked. Continue this process until you have used all the batter, adjusting heat and adding oil as needed. You should have 6 socca.

To make crunchy taco shells, nestle 4 socca in the valleys of a flipped-over muffin tin. Place muffin tin in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until socca are crispy and beginning to brown at the edges.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cut zucchini in half and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and a pinch of cumin.

Place zucchini halves on the grill pan, flat side down, and cook until there are nice grill marks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2 more minutes. Remove and cut each half into 4 pieces.

For the slaw, whisk together the tahini, lime juice, cumin, cayenne, olive oil and salt to taste. Toss with cabbage, cilantro and sliced scallions.

To assemble tacos, spread each socca with black beans, layer in zucchini and avocado, and garnish with onion cilantro mixture. Serve with fresh lime and coleslaw on the side.

Source: iStock

7. Pesto Socca With Greens and Radishes

There is possibly nothing that shouts spring more than this recipe from Choosing Raw, and we’re digging it. For something more late-season inspired, trade the basil pesto for spinach pesto and the radishes for roasted winter squash. This pesto is dairy-free for vegans and lactose-free eaters, but you can use your favorite recipe if you like it with cheese.

Ingredients:

Socca

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1½ cups water

Pesto

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Toppings

  • 1 cup mixed greens or arugula
  • ½ cup pesto

Directions: Start by preparing the socca. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place your cast-iron skillet in the oven.

Whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Allow batter to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. If it’s very thick, add the remaining half cup of water.

Remove the skillet from the oven and coat the pan with the additional tablespoon of olive oil. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake for 20 minutes, or until it’s firm throughout and golden on top.

While the socca is in the oven, make the pesto. Place the basil, walnuts or pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine until the mixture is coarsely ground.

Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast, and pulse a few more times to combine.

When the socca comes out of the oven, spread ½ to ⅔ cup of pesto over it, moving it out to the edges evenly. Top with radishes and greens, cut into segments, and serve.

Source: iStock

8. Socca Waffles

As soon as we start talking about crepes and pancakes and flatbreads, we start asking ourselves a very important question: Will it waffle? When it comes to socca, the answer is yes. It will waffle. This recipe from Food52 is a fun way to prepare socca and great for toppings like the Splendid Table’s candied tomatoes and Oh Holy Basil’s roasted vegetables. It’s also a great base for a poached egg for brunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional herbs or spices, such as fresh rosemary or thyme, smoked paprika, or ground cumin

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Let the batter rest covered for at least an hour, or until you need it.

Preheat a waffle iron on high, brushing it with oil. Spoon out enough batter for it to spread across the waffle iron, then close it and cook until the socca becomes golden and crisp. Eat immediately.

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