Gluten free and Vegan Crepes: budget-friendly, healthy and so tasty

     

    Gluten free and Vegan Crepes

     

    Time:         prep. 5 mins
                       cook. approx. 5 mins/crepe
    Difficulty:  medium
    Yields:       6-7 crepes of 20 cm
    Cost:          very low

     

    These gluten free and vegan crepes will win over everyone, but really everyone: vegans, egg intolerant, dairy intolerant, celiacs, those with a tight budget to afford eggs from happy chickens; and even those who have none of the above needs, simply want to experience new possibilities!
    Just make sure you have some chickpea flour in your pantry.
    Believe me this recipe will change your world. Or at the very least you will look at chickpeas with eyes full of gratitude.
    Mind you, it’s not that you can get tired of farinata (traditional Italian fabulous chickpea flatbread) or pasta e ceci (traditional Italian pasta with chickpeas), but creating a dish like crepes, so beloved because they are delicious and refined, using healthy and very few ingredients – which have nothing refined about them – for me is an extraordinary and even revolutionary thing.
    Even organic chickpeas don’t cost much, and they’re sustainable since the plant prefers temperate and semi-arid areas.

    Then they are rich in macro nutrients exactly like lentils, both referred to as “poor man’s meat.”

    – a 60 g serving of chickpea flour provides about 230 kcal;

    – 4 grams of fats (especially polyunsaturated ones: see this article for more);

    – 35 g of carbohydrates of which 8 g of fiber

    – about 13 g of proteins: not bad, indeed.

    They are allies of diabetics and of those having cardiovascular pathologies with excessive levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.
    Moreover chickpeas can also offer excellent levels of mineral salts (calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphor, magnesium) and vitamins E, A and B group (especially thiamine and folic acid).
    The content of proteins is remarkable, however like other plant based proteins they lack of some essential amino acids: in case of chickpeas, the sulfur-containing ones (like methionine and cysteine). It must be said however those present are in a more than satisfactory quantity.
    And with the smart combinations we can complete our protein requirement.
    On the other hand, it is difficult to eat gluten free and vegan crepes alone, given how tasty they are filled with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, or with tofu, perhaps smoked, or tempeh.
    There is another reason why I madly love chickpeas (please do not use it to exaggerate with the portions): according to a study (*) the regular consumption of chickpeas at meals, contributes 53% on obtaining a BMIMI* less than 30 (BMI or Body Mass Index is a biometric data, used as an indicator of the state of body weight of a subject). Simply put, by including chickpeas in your meals, you will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
     

    Ingredients for about 6-7 gluten free and vegan crepes

    170 g of chickpea flour
    350 ml water
    a pinch of salt

    For cooking

    6-7 teaspoons per 6-7 crepes of extra virgin olive oil, or vegan butter (non vegans can use also butter)

    Optional ingredients

    A pinch of turmeric or saffron to give the classic touch of egg color (remember that these spices in addition to color, also have a flavor; so use them in moderation);
    vanilla; cinnamon; lemon peel (for sweet crepes) or nutmeg (for savory crepes) to taste.
     

    Directions

    Classic crepes with flour, milk and eggs are softer and smoother, if left to rest for a long time.
    In the recipe for gluten free and vegan crepes, having no gluten to weaken, you may think you don’t need to apply the above trick. That would be a big mistake: perhaps not for gustatory purposes, but digestive ones (find out why here).
    Chickpea flour, as for farinata (see here the perfect recipe), should be left to rest at least 5-7 hours, in order to stimulate a wild fermentation, useful to obtain a light and digestible food, without undesirable effects: during fermentation – at a temperature preferably higher than room temperature – increases acidity and consequently the production of the endogenous phytase enzyme; it degrades phytates – the antinutrients – responsible for poor digestion, gas, bloating and reduced absorption of essential mineral salts.
    In this sustainable gluten free and vegan crepes we won’t even use a blender, but a whisk or simply a fork.
    Pour the chickpea flour, possibly by sifting it in a large bowl with high sides, and add the water while stirring with a whisk to prevent the formation of lumps: in case they occur do not worry too much about it, the time (of rest) will cure all problems, in this case too.
    After fermentation, stir the mixture one last time, making sure there are no lumps: if necessary, you can also filter it with a strainer.
    Turn on your stove and place a pan greased with a teaspoon of ev olive oil or other, on fire; when it is hot pour over it a ladleful of batter.
    It is possible that the first crepes will serve as a test: it is normal to be a little thick or too thin, you will adjust better at the next ones.
    When you pour in the batter, immediately shake the pan to distribute it evenly: it’s fine that we give up eggs, milk, and flour, but no one wants to have a crepe that is thick and raw on one side and transparent and burnt on the other.
    Once the bubbles form on the surface and the classic curling at the edges, (did you know that they are called crepes, just for this phenomenon?) be ready to flip them and… good luck, because the most problematic part of the entire phase of preparation is precisely this (and trust me, the classic recipe has the same drawbacks).
    If you’re using a well greased pan and you have a properly leveled crepe with the above mentioned requirements, you should normally not have any problems; however it is said that low-sided pans, designed specifically for crepes, make the process much easier (for your info, I’ve never owned one).
     

    Smart combos

    You could have them sweet or savory with an endless variety of toppings: with tahini and pekmez or honey; fresh fruit salad and peanut butter; stringy vegan cheeses and veggies;

    crepes stuffed with spinach, potatoes, squash puree and mozzarella
    guacamole or hummus; tofu or tempeh and whatever else you’d like to sneak in.
    And if you want to blow your guests’ minds, you can prepare also a delicious gluten-free and vegan cannelloni.
    Stuff your crepes with vegan ricotta (or mozzarella) cheese and spinach; then drown them in a light homemade vegan béchamel sauce; and finally bake them at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.

    My recipe for medium thick, light, vegan béchamel contains:

    3 tablespoons of evo oil, 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of organic unsweetened soy drink, 1 cup of water, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    And without a second thought you can double the doses: so you can use the leftover béchamel for a fantastic mushroom soup, rich and tasty.
    These are just a few suggestions to make the most of gluten free and vegan crepes. So let me know your favorite combinations, I will be happy to try them.

    Enjoy your crepes and happy revolution to you all

     

    Bibliography
    *) Wallace, Taylor C et al. “The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus.” Nutrients vol. 8,12 766. 29 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3390/nu8120766 

     

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