Meatless Mondays with Martha Stewart – Homemade Socca

I discovered the most amazing dish the other day; it’s called socca. A traditional delight hailing from the south of France (Nice, to be exact), socca is a chickpea flour pancake, or flatbread, often served informally as street food.

Chickpea flour, sometimes called gram flour, garbanzo flour, or besan, can be found in ethnic grocery stores or health food shops. It is used often in Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi cuisines, and of course French and Italian specialties, respectively. In fact, Italians make a very similar version of socca, called “farinata,” or “made of flour.”

So what’s the big deal? Socca is simply delicious. It boggles my mind how such a few ingredients can come together to make an impressive and insanely tasty treat.

Gluten-free, vegan, and full of fiber, socca is an excellent alternative to white flour tortillas, pizza dough, crepes, or flatbreads. Socca is also incredibly versatile! I made a delicious sandwich by folding my socca in half and filling the inside with my favorite ingredients. I also made a rustic pizza by topping the cooked pancake with avocado, olives, spring lettuce, a drizzle of olive oil, and crushed chilies. Heaven.

If you don’t have chickpea flour in your cupboard, you can easily make it using dried chickpeas and your blender. See my article here.

Chickpeas: awesome support for your digestion!
Between 65 to 75 percent of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble, which means it remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine. Recent studies show that bacteria in the colon can metabolize garbanzo bean fiber and produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acids. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall, lowering your risk of colon problems, including cancer.

If you have the time and the foresight, I highly suggest mixing your socca batter well in advance to aid digestion. Much like soaking beans and legumes before cooking, soaking the flour (especially if it is raw) will undoubtedly help your body break down the complex starches in ground chickpeas, and will aid in mineral absorption. I mixed mine the night before I was planning to cook them. The recipes I have seen suggest at least 30 minutes, but give the batter as much time as you can; your body will thank you!

If you like to do things on the fly, make sure to purchase chickpea flour that has been milled from cooked chickpeas.

After cruising the Internet and flipping through some cookbooks, I discovered that socca is sometimes made with the addition of rosemary and onions. That got me thinking: there must be hundreds of ways to prepare this little pancake! You could make countless savory versions with herbs and spices, infused oils, vegetables, or garlic. How about a sweet version for breakfast or dessert? Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves would be incredible. Add sliced fruit and a drizzle of raw honey and you’ve got a delicious, gluten-free crepe to gobble.

Let me know how your socca experiments work out. I am so excited to share this chickpea pancake, and I look forward to the many variations to come out of my own oven.

Be well. In light,

Sarah B.

Socca
Makes about three seven-inch soccas. 

Ingredients:
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Ghee or coconut oil, for pan

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, sift chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk in warm water and olive oil. Let sit, covered, for as many hours as possible (making this before you leave the house in the morning is perfect for making socca for dinner), but at least 30 minutes.

2. Place heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet in oven and preheat to 450 F.

3. Remove skillet from oven. Add a knob of ghee or coconut oil to the hot pan, and pour batter in a steady stream until it reaches the edges of the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set.

4. At this point, you can flip the socca, or set it a few inches below your broiler for a couple minutes, just long enough for it to brown. Cut into wedges and serve hot, with toppings of your choice.

51 comments

  1. Camila

    So, I have tried to make this in the stovetop, like a pancake, but it turned gooey and not crispy. Is there anything that I am doing wrong?
    Thanks!

  2. MJD

    I make these often — I even used a small non-stick pan and just flip them like flapjacks (no need having to clean an iron skillet). Great with filafel for a healthy chickpea punch — cucumber, tahini, onion, even shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, fresh mint or cilantro, etc. CHOMP!

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  4. Irina

    Hiya! Thank you for your recipe! Lovr it. Wonder how to make it better on digestion? I know you mentioned soaking the flour, but is it ok just to soak it in water overnight without anything acidic?

    Also, wonder if anyone knows how to make this flour from cooked chickpeas at home.

    Many thanks

    • Eva

      Hi Irina,
      I’m not sure about how your tummy works, but I’ve been making a variant of this that might make sense to you.
      I soak 1 cup of whole chickpeas or (even better) split mung beans overnight with salt or cider vinegar. In the morning, I rinse the beans and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients she lists + a tablespoon of flax seeds and blend until smooth.
      Then I let it sit on the counter all day and cook for dinner. James (my guy) is an awesome pancake flipper so we usually split this into two and make it on the stovetop vs. the oven but it’d work with the oven method too.
      Hope that helps 🙂

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  16. Sarah

    I loved this dish! I found your blog by googling top vegetarian blogs. After making the Kaniwa Farewell To Summer Salad for lunch yesterday, we tried the Socca for dinner. It was awesome! Added the leftover quick picked onions from the salad and made the Socca on the stove top. Thanks for the great recipes!

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  18. Lau

    Hi Sarah,
    Made socca today… thank you for the inspiration. I used arugula, strawberries and avocado for toppings- delish! Easy to make and versatile- one of those “mix based on what’s available” dishes.

  19. Jodi Germann

    Wow! I tried these and they were delicious! The first socca we made, we made a thin pancake and it was easy to flip. The second, we made a bit thicker and it was a disaster when I went to flip! I noticed your socca are a bit on the thick side – do you recommend sticking the socca underneath the broiler for that last few minutes to brown the top, versus flipping over? Also, mine stuck a little to the pan, although I’m not sure why since I did use plenty of oil.

    Thanks for the amazing recipe! We topped ours with roasted veggies and balsamic glaze. Even the falling-apart-socca was divine! 🙂

  20. Sarah B

    Mmmmm….Adrienne! Super good call on the fresh herbs. I am totally going to try that. And you knew about socca? Why didn’t you tell me?! 😉

    xo, Sarah B

  21. Bekka

    I just found your blog from a post on the City Sage. I am so excited! While, I am not vegan or vegetarian I only eat whole foods, and your sauces and ideas in general have me all inspired to get out of my cooking rut this week. I think I have made it two years back in your archive so far and bookmarked tons of stuff to try. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

  22. Sarah B

    Hey GB – thanks for the tips! I am really excited to get into dosa making soon too. I love the idea of the fermented batter – that really gets me going!!! 😀

    Cheers to you,
    Sarah B.

  23. GB

    Sarah, just came across your blog and I love it. Just wanted to let you know that you can get chickpea flour at any Indian grocery store in your vicinity (sold as besan (bay-sun), the hindi name for the flour)—chickpea flour pancakes are called chile (chee-lay) in northern parts of India and they’re quite a staple at the breakfast table. There are also like a gazillion variants for gluten free pancakes, from fermented rice batter, to lentil batters, with everything in between!

    Love your blog!

  24. Jennifer L.

    Whoo-whoo! A pizza looking thing without eggs, gluten or garlic! Now hopefully the wee nut in our house will find it tasty since it seems like a fairly easy snack to whip together. Running to the kitchen, now, to whip this up! Hooray!

  25. Rachel

    Hi Sarah,
    I just clicked through from Whole Living–your blog is fantastic! I’ve been meaning to make socca for a while now, and the bag of chickpea flour keeps sitting on my shelf. Now it’s for sure tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. Sarah B

    Hi Flo,

    Um…yes. I am slightly obsessed with the olive oil/lemon/honey combo, but I have never tried all three on bread before! Genius!
    Thanks for the idea 🙂

    Yum, Sarah B

  27. Kate

    Heya.. This is also a very popular dish in Italy (commonly The coastal area Liguria) and a few other european countries. It is made at many pizza restaurants and is called farinata or cecina.

  28. Flo Makanai

    Never tasted/tested crack, but I do love socca 😉
    And yes, lemon and olive oil just NEED to go on everything. Did you ever taste honey mixed xith a little of those two, spread on some bread? Mmmm.

  29. Sarah B

    Hi Dani – of course you can try using another type of bean, it will just taste different, as it’s not the traditional ingredient. Who cares?! Let me know how it works for ya 🙂

    Best, Sarah B

  30. Dani

    Hi Sarah, one questions, can I also blend dried white beans in my blender – because that´s what I have on hand – and replace it for the chickpeas?
    Thank you, can´t wait to try this! 🙂

  31. Pure2raw Twins

    We love our socca!! We have a whole tribute page of socca on our blog. We just can’t get enough of it; just love it so much because of all the creations you can do with it. I am glad you like it too!

  32. Sarah B

    Hey Monifah,

    Yup, just put those dried chickpeas right in your blender and grind them up. Please ensure that you have a good blender (it’s pretty hard on the blades) and ear plugs (it’s crazy loud!).
    And remember if you are using your own flour from dried chickpeas, soak the flour for at least 8 hours before cooking with it. This will prevent poor digestion!

    Good luck 🙂
    Sarah B.

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