I had a great time on BBC Radio Wales recently, a little thing they do called ‘Foodie Friday’. It was the wonderful Eleri Sion show (although Tom was standing in) and we mainly talked about how accessible and incredible a vegan lifestyle is and coconut scones, but I did mention one of my very favourite dishes at the moment, a simple and really nutritious vegan frittata. Plant power for all!! I just had to share the recipe.
Tom mentioned that vegan food can be more time consuming to cook than a piece of meat with vegetables, which may well be true for some dishes, but this frittata is so easy and straightforward and as with all vegan cooking, substitutions can be made, things can be swapped, veggies played with, happiness unearthed, taste buds dance a merry jig. It’s always easier when you’re done it, so lets do it!
This is a lovely light Italian lunch with a twist. I just can’t help myself! Cumin seeds are one of my favourite ingredients (along with gram flour) and they bring a subtle and deep spice to this dish. I know that cumin is not exactly traditionally Italian, but I’m sure they’ll forgive me! Especially if they get to try this frittata. Molto delizioso! (Which means pretty dang nice in Italian)
Spring is taking its gentle hold on North Wales and the nights are lighter and the sun is making reappearance after a long winter. Its such a beautiful time of year and we are naturally turning to lighter foods.
This frittata is a brilliant way to use up gorgeous roasted vegetables, either freshly roasted or leftovers. The other night, after some very posh curry and chips (see below), I pondered how to use the leftover potatoes. It’s been a while since our last Spain time and I know Jane loved Potato Tortillas so this was a no brainer. I know the art of romance, surprise frittata!
A tortilla is basically a Spanish name for an unfolded omelette. Most people will cook this in a pan and then grill it (this is also called a ‘Frittata’ in Italy or even a ‘Kuku’ in Iran – confused yet?!) but I’ve made it easier, pop it in the oven and all is well. In fact, omellete’s seem to be a staple in most countries I visit, from North Africa to India, the world loves an omellete. Making it a vegan delight is quick and easy. I’ve cooked this for many non-vegans and they love it, a few glugs of olive oil for richness and no misses out on flavour.
Frittata is very happy when paired with a grain salad and some green leaves. That’s lunch! I’ve made a little Farro and Canellini Bean Salad, packed with crunch and the wholesome feel of the farro, served with some top salad leaves from our local organic farm. When the leaves are this good, with amazing vitality, fresh flavour and texture, I just give them a quick rinse and tear them up with my hands. Finely slicing amazing salad leaves just seems like a waste. I love to see their shapes.
I am constantly blown away by the diversity of flavours in the plant word and salad leaves, sprouts and cresses are a real joy for me. At the recent Discovering Vegan Cooking Retreat that we ran at Trigonos, we were privileged to try a load of different cress and leaves. The flavours were all over the shop, many shocking and delightful in equal measure; some subtle, some full-on. All suggested that in the near future, salads will be getting much, much more interesting. Trust me, you ain’t tried nothing like this!
You can also use this gram flour mix for omelette’s cooked in a pan or as a filling for a vegan quiche or tart. A baked gram flour pancake in Italy is known as a Farinata and its one of the best things ever.
For a lighter frittata, why not add 1/3 teas baking powder to the gram flour and then stir in the water.
Farro is basically Italian Spelt, meaning that some people who are gluten intolerant can handle it. If you are off gluten, try using buckwheat or even quinoa.
Due to my intense love of veggies, this salad is light on grains. I like a high veg ratio in any dish.
The Bits – For 4-6
250g roasted potatoes (or similar quantity of any roasted vegetables)
2 small onions
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ teas cumin seeds
½ teas turmeric
150g gram flour
1/3 teas salt
Large pinch pepper
½ handful Fresh Coriander or Parsley (finely chopped)
½ handful Crushed Walnuts (optional)
Farro and Cannellini Bean Salad
100g faro (I use quick cook type)
1 small kohlrabi (finely diced)
3 handfuls leek (finely sliced)
½ yellow pepper (finely diced)
1 handful toasted pumpkin seeds
1 handful pitted green olives (sliced)
½ lemon (juice)
200g cannellini beans
4 radishes (sliced into thin batons)
1 handful parsley chopped
Couple of pinches of salt and pepper
Preheat an oven to 200oc.
Grab a 10 inch non-stick baking dish, round looks good but you could always use a square one. If you are not sure about the non-stickiness of the dish, line it with baking parchment.
Drizzle in a little oil, add the cumin seeds, onions and a couple of pinches of salt. Toss together and place in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, roast again for 10 minutes, stir, roast again for 10 minutes, by this time the onions should be nicely caramelised and golden. Set aside.
While the onions are in the oven, in a large bowl, add the gram flour along with the turmeric, olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Stir together and then gradually pour in the water whilst stirring, until a thick and smooth batter forms.
Add your potatoes to the oven dish, mixing them in with the onions. Pour over the batter and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the frittata.
Pop in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the frittata is firm and getting nice and golden on top. Cut into slices and drizzle over a little more olive oil and a sprinkle of coriander/ parsley. A few toasted walnuts are also delicious.
Serve warm or once cooled, is delicious as a cold tapas.
In a saucepan, bring roughly 1 litre water to a rolling boil, add the farro and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Until the grains are soft. Drain and refresh with cold water. Set aside.
Once the grains have cooled, toss everything together in a big bowl. Serve with your favourite dressing and ideally, a nice big slab of frittata.
Did you know that potatoes are a good source of protein, iron, fibre and vitamin C? I sometimes overlook how nutritious potatoes are.
Gram or Chickpea flour is another ingredient to get excited about (of you’re that way inclined). I love using the stuff! It makes for a brilliant egg replacer, when stirred with a little water, in baking and is sooooooooo versatile. Helpfully, its also gluten-free and packed with nutrition. High in
When buying gram flour, it may be called Besan (unroasted) or Chana (roasted) flour. They both have slightly different flavours. Chickpea flour has twice the amount of protein that wholewheat flour has and six times the amount of protein compared to white flour. It is also very high in folates and healthy unsaturated fats and is a good source of vitamin B6, iron and magnesium.