Book Report: Chickpea Flour Does It All + Bonus Recipe

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Today is the release date for the new cookbook Chickpea Flour Does It All: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian Recipes for Every Taste and Season. I was excited to get this book because I love chickpea flour. I make crepes every morning for my son and I use the same batter for my omelettes. I scramble it and use it to make magical French Toast. I also use it to make “chickpea eggs” when I need to bread tofu or tempeh and use it as a binder in recipes that call for flour, like my lentil burgers. It is super versatile so I couldn’t wait to get this cookbook to see what else I can do with it.

Well, it turns out a lot! This cookbook is written by Lindsey S. Love who has a blog called Dolly and Oatmeal. There are 96 recipes in the book of which 49 are vegan. The book is organized by season which is such a great idea, even though you can swap out seasonal vegetables for a dish if you like the base recipe. The recipes are clean and simple and really creative. I expected lots of baking recipes which this book delivers in the form of crackers, graham crackers, and flatbread. But then there was the super surprise – using chickpea flour as a thickener in sauces, dressings and soups. I love all three and so this technique is really cool. For many of the recipes, the chickpea flour is heated in a pot with water until it thickens so it actually looks melty and gooey! Then it is added to recipes for things like crema, sour cream, Caesar dressing, and Alfredo sauce, which I made the other day and enjoyed very much. I got permission to reprint the recipe below.

Then there is chickpea “polenta,” chickpea “tofu,” chickpea “fries,” tostadas and granola. But I am most looking forward to making the frittata and quiche recipes since I have been experimenting a lot and not having success.

I think this is a super smart book and really different. I have read it cover to cover and love the header notes that explain the reasons for using the chickpea flour and how it works. The only thing I wonder about is that when heating the chickpea flour/water combo as noted above, different recipes give different times for it to thicken, even though for me it took about 2 minutes. No matter, cooking is an art not a science. So, if you are interested in some creative new recipes that are gluten free and vegan, get a copy of this book!

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Alfredo with Watercress and Chives (Photo Credit: Lindsay S. Love)

Upon first discovering that chickpea flour can not only be used as a thickener in sauces but also made into a sauce all on its own, I was beyond excited for the possibilities, and the outcome of this sauce completely exceeded my expectations. Many, if not most, vegan cheese substitutes incorporate some type of nut that gives a cheese-like consistency when soaked and blended with water. However, I was always a little disappointed that my “cheese” sauces continually didn’t have that gooey, cheesy texture. So when fooling around with a chickpea flour mix one day, I thought why not add it to the base of a vegan cheese sauce to give it that gooeyness I had longed for. After I added some flavorings, salt and pepper, and the like, I was amazed at the result: a cheese sauce tasting just the way I remember from my childhood. There are so many ways of incorporating this sauce into meals and dishes, whether it’s over pasta, as a warm cheesy dip for vegetables, or poured over baked sweet potatoes or homemade french fries

Serves: 4 // prep time: 12 hours // cook time: 20 minutes.

  • 16 ounces (454 g) gluten-free and vegan pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) plus 1 tablespoon cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus chive flowers for garnish
  • 1 cup (34 g) packed watercress
  • Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste

Begin cooking the pasta, according to instructions on the bag. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.

Place the soaked cashews in an upright high-speed blender; add the oil, yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste; set aside.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and flour, turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk for 6 to 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a roux. Gently and carefully pour the mixture into the blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if needed. Add 1 tablespoon of chives and blend on medium for about 30 seconds.

In the last 30 seconds of cooking the pasta to al dente, add the watercress and cook until wilted. Drain the pasta and watercress and quickly rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.

Transfer the pasta and watercress to a serving bowl; pour the sauce over the pasta and mix. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Serve hot with remaining 1 tablespoon of chives, chive flowers, and nutmeg.

Recipe from Chickpea Flour Does It All: Glluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian Recipes for Every Taste and Season ©Lindsey S. Love, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher,
The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.
theexperimentpublishing.com

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