During my travels to Vancouver Island, a friend and I picked up some locally grown parsnips from an organic farm stand… and then it happened.
“Parsnip & Potato Farinata.”
I swear the parsnip spoke to me. So I listened! The freshly harvested, often under-rated parsnip wanted to show off its earthy, sweetness. When I closed my eyes and contemplated what I might make for dinner that evening, all I could see was a delicious medley of flavours, all woven into a gorgeous slice-able meal.
The cumin seeds and ground coriander were also calling me, ready embrace a new culinary farinata adventure. I was already familiar with making farinata, but this new combination took it to a whole new level of delectability.
So what is farinata?
Farinata is a traditional Italian dish, somewhere between a flatbread, pancake and a slice of pie. I say Italian, although inevitably, there are versions of chickpea flatbread and similar all over the world. In France they have a version called socca, in Argentina, they have a popular equivalent called fainá.
In its most simple form, farinata involves stirring chickpea flour with water, before pouring into a pan to a depth of a few millimetres and then baking in the oven. Pretty clever really.
Chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour, besan flour and gram flour) has a fabulous way of thickening up when mixed with liquid. This makes it an ideal ingredient for this sort of thing.
In today’s recipe, I’ve added a medley of other simple ingredients turning it into a fancy (yet still easy to make) slice. I wanted to turn it into more of a ‘meal’ rather than a flatbread. As well as the excellent protein hit that you get from the chickpea flour, with this version, you’ll also get an extra plethora of nutrients from the tomato (in the form of passata), parsnip, potato and spices.
These additional ingredients turn it into a complete meal, making it excellent as a travel and lunch box food. At home, it serves nicely with a salad for lunch or with potatoes and veggies for dinner. Pretty versatile.
I first started making these when I wanted to create an all-in-one meal that I could take with me for long-haul travel. It holds together remarkably well and keeps nicely when on the move.
Much of the creating time for this recipe is involved in waiting for it to bake. First of all, we are going to toss cubed parsnips and potatoes with salt, pepper, cumin seed, ground coriander and olive oil, before popping them in the oven to bake.
Next, we will mix chickpea flour, salt, onion powder, water and passata, along with the baked parsnip and potato. We’ll pop it into a parchment-lined ovenproof dish and then bake. Magic.
It serves hot or cold and keeps in the fridge for a few days.
Please check out my video for a quick visual guide on how to make this…
- 2 parsnips
- 1 small potato
- Dash of oil (two teaspoons)
- Sprink of sea salt
- Big twist of black pepper
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander)
- 150g chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
- 150ml passata
- 150ml water
Please see my video above first to learn how to make these.
- Cut the parsnip and potato into small sized cubes (around 1cm cubed).
- Toss them in sea salt, black pepper, cumin seed and ground coriander with a dash of oil.
- Pop them on an baking tray and bake on a high heat until tanned and soft. This should take no more than 25 minutes. The take out to cool a little before the next stage.
- Mix the chickpea flour, sea salt and onion powder together, pressing out any lumps with the back of a spoon.
- Mix in the passata, water and baked vegetables, until everything is evenly combined.
- Put into a parchment paper lined oven-proof dish and spread evenly (should be about half an inch thick - more or less).
- Bake for about 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6 (200C/400F).
- When ready, take out and slice into triangles.
- Serve hot or cold.
- Keeps for a few days in the fridge. Travels well and makes an excellent lunch box item or travel food.
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