Mini chickpea crepes with avocado, leek, ricotta mousse and served with crispy portobello mushroom
Time: prep 10 mins
soaking for chickpea flour
cook. 15-20 mins
Yield: 2 servings
Some say they are a great alternative to classic crepes, I would add “even better”. They have a low environmental and economic impact; we can even afford the ones with gluten free and the organic labels (I mean chickpea flour), they go with every filling, satisfying and satiating a lot; plus they are rich in protein, which makes them a surprising alternative to animal products, and if you don’t exaggerate with oil they are very healthy. Finally, creating these chickpea crepes does not require any gastronomic skill, then very suitable for beginners. However, this fabulous dish of humble origins requires a minimum of organization: about 5-7 hours of soaking process.
It is possible to evade this process; some people reduce it to just 30 minutes, always obtaining an edible product in the end. Nevertheless, in my opinion, after having tried and tasted both results, I can definitely recommend the long way, in terms of digestibility and consistency.
So here is a recipe for you, good and healthy food lovers, without any sense of guilt; but based on easy to find ingredients which do not open a hole in the family budget: since in this period (May-June) we are at the final harvest stages of local (European) avocados, so, focusing on sustainability, from now until November, I advise you not to buy those imported from overseas. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to eat them just learn how to store them properly following the instructions given here.
For crepes (8-10 crepes of 10 cm of diameter)
100 grams of chickpea flour
180 ml of water
½ tsp of salt
black pepper, thyme, bay leaf, marjoram or nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp of extravergine olive oil (if you prepare a mousse without avocado, you can double the quantity of oil)
80 grams of ricotta (if you need more calcium you can also choose cottage cheese)
150 grams or half cup of leek, finely cut
15 grams of dried mushrooms (soak them before at least for 30 mins) or 100 grams of fresh mushrooms (portobello is fine, but if you have porcini…)
½ ripe avocado, mashed
80 grams of dried mushroom soaking water (if you use fresh ones, you can use a vegetable broth or simple water)
1 tbsp of olive oil for cooking (if you are not vegan and you are not dieting you can use butter for a richer taste)
The process is very easy, as said before, anyone can prepare these chickpea crepes; the only thing necessary is not to burn them during cooking.
Put the flour in a large bowl with high edges, add the water slowly, always stirring. Try not to create lumps, salt, pepper, flavored with sage, thyme, bay leaf if you want to and add the oil; leave the container in a sheltered place and covered with a kitchen cloth, which you will open occasionally to stir with a wooden spoon, so as to keep the batter always homogeneous: in the case of quick preparation the problem does not exist; while for the ‘long’ version you have two options, either prepare it on Sunday (or when you have time) and stir 2 times every 2/3 hours (prepare more so as to freeze several portions once cooked), or stir it only at the last one, does not make much difference.
Once the soaking phase of 6-7 hours is over, which means in other words the fermentation process, (if it is very hot, five hours will be enough), stir well one last time and take a ladle and fill it in half with the batter.
Pour the mixture into a previously oiled and heated frying pan. When you see the bubbles on the surface of the crepe you can turn it to the other side. You won’t need more than 5-6 minutes in all to complete the operation.
To speed up the process, use two small frying pans, or cook two or three smaller diameter crepes together in a larger pan.
For the mousse, put the oil in a frying pan and let leek slices cook over low heat; after about 5 minutes when they have turned pink, turn up the heat and add the (porcini or other) mushrooms; sauté everything for a few minutes while continuing to stir.
Put away 1 tablespoon of leek and mushroom mixture to decorate the dish later.
Then add the ricotta cheese and cook them together for a few more minutes adding a cup (or more) of the soaking water of the mushrooms after having filtered it.
Finally add the crushed avocado and with a hand blender, turn the mixture into a foamy mash or a mousse.
Veganize this recipe
Nothing is easier than making this mousse a vegan choice; just replace 80 grams of ricotta with 80 grams of tofu. Silken tofu would be better, but the firm one gives the same result after hand blender step. And that’s all!
When the chickpeas crepes are all cooked, we start assembling our plates:
Pour 1 tablespoon of mousse on one plate, place a chickpea crepe on top, cover it with some generous drops of mousse and a few pieces of mushroom: go on like this until you finish the crepes and the mousse for two plates.
If you wish, you can also enrich the taste and nutritional values with parmigiano or similar mature cheese flakes for each layer and on top.
It is a complete dish, rich in protein, fiber, slow-digesting carbohydrates, good fats which include Omega-3, vitamins and mineral salts, which manages to combine both taste and affordability without feeling guilty, without feeling the burden of guilt, both for the unsustainability and the surplus weight.
But if you want the best of the nutrients from your lunch, to stimulate the iron absorption (*) and increase even more the sense of satiety, I recommend combining these crepes with a generous plate of grilled vegetables, seasoned with a little oil and lots of lemon juice.
Enjoy your food and good revolution to all.
(*) Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419.