Lilly Higgins: This is one of the easiest bakes to make that is packed with protein

A taste of Tuscany with this bread that will leave you feeling anything but flat

This is one of the easiest bakes to make. The Tuscan chickpea flour flatbread farinata is also known as cecina or socca pancake. You can bake it in the oven as I have here, or pour the batter on to a well-oiled frying pan and then pop it on the heat before finishing it under the grill.

Farinata is often used as a vegan substitute for omelettes and can be used similarly. It also makes a wonderful gluten-free flatbread-style base. It’s a very convenient recipe to have as it uses basic ingredients and cooks quickly. All you need is chickpea flour, water and olive oil. Season with herbs and spices to create your own variations. It is versatile and protein packed. Add whatever herbs or spices you like.

I love making it as a quick cornbread-style bread to serve with chilli con carne and the like. It soaks up gravy and sauces so well. I often serve mine with stews or salads. This recipe uses the chickpea flatbread as a base for wild garlic pesto. I wrote last week about how to identify wild garlic – broad waxy leaves, distinctive pungent garlic smell and found in shaded woodlands. The pesto is often the best use for the leaves. I find it so convenient for adding a splash of garlic flavour to many things, swirled through soups, slathered on to sourdough or used to brighten up a simple farinata, as I have done here.

I roasted some vegetables alongside the farinata as it cooked. I’ve started roasting vegetables such as courgettes, tomatoes and wedges of onion whenever I am cooking something else and the oven is on. It saves time and energy. Then I can serve the roasted vegetables as part of the meal, as I have here, or fold them through grains such as barley or pearl couscous for a hearty salad, blitz into soup or add to a sandwich. It’s always so convenient to have some precooked vegetables and means rustling up dinner will never take too long.


Topping this farinata with a fresh creamy burrata would take it to another level of luxury entirely. The creamy, decadent cousin of mozzarella is stuffed with clotted cream and straciatella. I highly recommend buying fresh burrata when you come across it.

Recipe: Farinata with wild garlic and roast vegetables

Lilly’s kitchen tips

  1. Grated vegetables are often added to the basic cecina recipe. Try folding in some grated and squeezed out courgette, squash or sweet potato for added nutrients and flavour.
  2. Any pesto will be delicious here. Try sun-dried tomato, regular basil or even olive tapenade.
  3. Gram flour is now widely available in the gluten free or health food section of larger supermarkets or find it in your local health food store or Asian market.