Last week, I was looking into how I could better use my Indian gram/besan flour.  I knew it was from some sort of bean, but I didn’t know which kind, so the bag had pretty much languished in my pantry.  The search led me to a really interesting Wikipedia entry, which cross-references various recipe ingredients in English, the botanical name, and TWELVE different languages commonly spoken in India.  Through that table, I discovered that gram flour is actually chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour, ceci flour).  That led me to a recipe search using chickpea flour, which led me to the revelation of FARINATA.

My husband said I was obsessed.  He’s probably right.   The results are amazing.

Sometimes, I will get a hold of a recipe that is scrumptious, because it uses an ingredient or three that I may have not considered, on my own, to great effect.  And, being gluten-free, and now gluten-free and dairy-free, I have combed my cookbooks and online resources for various ethnic foods I may not have tried, oh, five or eight years ago.  Also, before being g.f., one of my favorite things to do with my hubby was search out tiny, hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants.  So, it’s not like I’m averse to trying new things.  However, I had never heard of farinata, and would never in a million billion years thought to combine its simple ingredients, nor could I have dreamed about how dreamily delicious the results would be.

And now… I can’t eat it.  😦  Wah, wah.  But, YOU can!  And, I can vicariously share in your joy.

The only thing, is you MUST have a seasoned cast iron skillet or griddle with raised edges.

And, yes, it will heat up your house, baking it at 500°F.  Previously, I don’t think I’ve ever baked anything at 500°F.

And, like me, this recipe may tempt you to walk down the street and filch some fresh rosemary off of a neighbor’s bush in their front yard.  😮  And then, like me, you may have a pang of conscience that leads you to spend $1.50 at the grocery store for your own fresh rosemary, with a note to self to buy your OWN rosemary plant.

What this is, is basically a flatbread.  You could eat it like a meal, because it’s so high in protein.  1/4 of a recipe has about 15g protein, and believe me, you will want more than 1/4 of the recipe.  The edges are crispy — almost fried.  The top and bottom have a paper-thin, crispy “crust,” and the inside is creamy but firm, almost like a crepe.

I have only made this twice.  I have made this recipe nearly every day for almost a year now.  The first time, I ate about 7/8 of it by myself;  I made it after the kids were in bed.  The next day, I made another batch and my kids pounced on it.  The whole thing was gone within, literally, a few minutes.  All seven of us love it, and clamor for it when it is fresh out of the oven.

I got the recipe from here;  my version is pretty much simply cuts the original recipe in half, because I don’t have two cast iron pans, plus made a couple other minor adjustments.  On the original site, it is listed as a Staff Favorite, on list of 12 Italian Classics You Need to Try Now, has a five-star review, and is favorited by 39 people.  No wonder.  It truly is a revelation, worthy of obsession.

Riomaggiore, Liguria, Italy

Riomaggiore, Liguria, Italy

(By the way, farinata is from the Liguria region of Italy, in the northwest of the country.  The famed, picturesque Cinque Terre villages are in Liguria.  The original recipe notes:  “In Liguria, bakeshops put signs in their windows announcing the time that the farinata will be ready, and customers line up to buy it.”  That sounds like a REALLY good reason to visit Liguria, Italy.  Mmmmm….)

EDITED on 04/27/2011 with simplified instructions.

makes eight slices

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1½ cups chickpea flour (7.5 oz)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • optional:  freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Pour the water into a bowl.  Add the chickpea flour, and whisk until smooth (batter will be very thin).  Add salt, olive oil, rosemary, and pepper (if using).  Let stand at room temperature a minimum of 15 minutes.

2.  Swirl 1 Tbsp of olive oil on a cold, well-seasoned* 10-in cast iron skillet.  Place in a cold oven on a low oven rack.  (I use a 10″ square cast iron griddle.)  Preheat the oven to 500°F, making sure the skillet/griddle heats at least 10 minutes.  You want the pan very hot, but you don’t want the oil to smoke.

3.  Pour the batter onto the skillet quickly and carefully.  (The pan and oil is VERY hot and the batter is very sloshy, so the best bet is to pour in the batter without moving the rack or pan.)  Batter should not be more than 1/2″ thick.

4.  Bake 22-30 minutes;  time varies considerably depending on the size of the pan and the thickness of the farinata.  When done, farinata should be golden and spotted with brown on the tops, and crispy and dark brown at the edges.  If in doubt, bake another couple of minutes — the crispier the better.

6.  Loosen the farinata with a metal spatula, and slide onto a wooden board (like a large cutting board).  Cut into wedges with a pizza wheel.


*If your pan is not seasoned (or if you’re not sure), there are many variations of instructions available on the internet, but this simple plan will work:  Thickly coat your pan with an oil or shortening, using a paper towel to cover all cooking surfaces.  Place in a 250° oven for two hours.  This will produce a nonstick surface.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on September 15, 2009, in Arizona, Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GF Recipes, GFCF, GFCF Recipes, gluten-free. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Hmmm, I wonder how this would work as a Pizza base?

  2. No eggs! No eggs! Whohoo, no eggs! I’ll have to wait till we get a little more wintery to turn my oven up that high…Lord have mercy on this family when this mama goes through menopause! I can’t hardly stand any heat now! And pizza crust…I’d love to know what you think about that Karen!

  3. Now this I do have to try, just what my cast iron skillet was meant to make.

  4. Do you think you could use freshly cooked chickpeas instead of the flour? Or do you have any other good recipes that use freshly cooked chickpeas? Thanks!

    • I think freshly cooked chickpeas would work for this — you’d just have to experiment on the ratio of beans to liquor (the liquid left over from cooking) or water, and puree in a blender before adding the rest of the ingredients. The batter is very thin.

      Other recipes… well, hummus, of course! If I could have garlic (which I currently can’t), I would definitely be making me some hummus.

      Right now, coincidentally, I’m eating a bowl of “plain” chickpeas with some garam masala (an Indian spice blend). That’s it.

      Other than that, I just go to and do an ingredient search to find dishes with chickpeas!

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