I first discovered farinata flatbread in Italy. As a gluten-free person, I missed out on quite a bit of Italian cuisine, and farinata appeared on the menu at a pizzeria in Torino.
It was unappetizingly described as “chickpea gruel”. But since it was the first time I had actually seen a GF menu item at a restaurant in Italy, I had to try it. Gruel was a poor translation for a dish that was a delicious cross between polenta and pizza.
I love farinata Flatbread
I really do love farinata flatbread. It’s one of my favorite go-to meals for any night when I can’t think of anything else to make. I love it because:
- It literally only takes 20 minutes to bake farinata. Just set up the batter in the morning, and you’ve got your dinner made.
- Farinata is the perfect way to use up whatever vegetables are in your kitchen. (See the next section for a few of my favorite combinations.)
- Best of all, my kids love it and always eat their fill. (Yea for eating beans!)
The key to delicious farinata flatbread is in the toppings. Toppings can be either baked into the farinata or served on top. Here’s how to add toppings to your farinata.
Baked toppings are like pizza toppings. They are added to farinata flatbread prior to baking. Really, any of your favorite pizza toppings will work. Here are some that we particularly enjoy:
- Sauteed mushrooms with rosemary
- Sliced onion and tomato with grated cheddar cheese
- Roasted butternut squash and crumbled blue cheese (this was what I was served in Italy)
Fresh toppings are added AFTER the farinata has finished baking. These are more like sandwich fillings and they don’t cook into the farinata.
- Tomato with basil and goat cheese
- Arugula, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette
- Oven-roasted peppers, zucchini, and eggplant with tofu cheese
Like polenta, farinata can be served as a base for a rich and flavorful sauce. Here are a few delicious combinations:
- Serve with your favourite tomato sauce
- Oven baked ratatouille
- Farinata baked with broccoli florets, served with pesto
- Baked tomato farinata with a creamy cheese sauce
Farinata is a quick and delicious flatbread that is a cross between polenta and a pizza. Since it’s made with chickpea flour, it is also gluten-free and vegan. Serve it with pizza toppings or fresh vegetables and sauces. See the section above for 10 serving suggestions.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 2
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Combine all the batter ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl. Allow the chickpea flour to soak for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours to fully hydrate. To add a sourdough-like flavor add 1 Tbsp of culture to ferment the chickpea flour (see notes). The batter will be quite liquidy, even after soaking.
- Oil a 8″ round ovenproof dish with the olive oil. Pour batter into the pan. The batter should be about 1/4 inch thick.
- Add any toppings you want to bake into the farinata, or leave it plain and add toppings after baking. See the section above for some suggestions.
- Bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
- I often like to add flavor to my farinata by adding a bit of culture to the batter. Adding 1 Tbsp of culture per batch will help the chickpeas ferment. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand: whey, vegetable brine or soured kombucha all work nicely.
- I usually use a cast iron skillet (affiliate link) for a single batch of farinata. For a triple batch of farinata, I use a large cookie sheet with 1″ sides. Just avoid using a springform pan because the batter is runny and may leak.
Keywords: gluten free, grain free, vegan, egg free, dairy free, pizza, bread, pancake, polenta, fall, winter