Socca with kale pesto

Socca with Kale Pesto | A Dash of Compassion

So it happened. I’ve fallen head over heels with an entirely new-to-me food. It’s called socca, and it’s brilliant.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have absolutely no memory of ever eating socca before this year. How could this happen? Or rather, fail to happen? This naturally gluten-free and vegan flatbread deserves its own category under the list of vegan staples. Seriously, it’s that amazing.

Although I don’t know if I should be singing its praises as if it’s some kind of trend that will leave as quickly as it came. I picture you sitting there, reading this and rolling your eyes—I know, I’m a little late to the party. The people in France have been making it for decades.

But can we please talk about the ease and versatility of this fabulous food? I’m shocked that such simple ingredients can be baked into such a delightful and versatile base for whatever you’re in the mood for. Want pizza? Add tomato sauce, veggies and dairy-free cheese. Need to make a crowd-pleasing savoury tart? Make this or this. Socca is also flexible enough to be wrapped like a burrito or used to scoop up thick curries. I like to bake it and then quickly run it under the broiler at the end, but apparently you can also make it right on the stovetop using a cast iron pan.

Socca with Kale Pesto | A Dash of Compassion

However you make it, the recipe itself is nearly universal. It’s essentially equal parts chickpea flour and water, mixed with a tablespoon or so of oil and a pinch of salt. You can use more water to make a thinner crêpe-like socca or less water to make it thicker. You can also add minced herbs, olives or sun-dried tomatoes to the batter to jazz it up.

Oh, and what about that colourful kale pesto? It deserves its own honours. How can you go wrong with kale, roasted red peppers, garlic and walnuts? Fresh, crispy kale is best for this recipe to avoid tasting the bitterness of days-old greens. I roasted my own peppers, garlic and walnuts but feel free to use jarred roasted red peppers if you wish.

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Socca with kale pesto

Yield: 2 soccas + 11/4 cups pesto

Ingredients:

Socca:

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive or coconut oil
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Kale pesto:

  • 4 cups chopped, lightly packed kale
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, roasted
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 4 to 6 roasted garlic cloves, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

For the socca:

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Allow to sit undisturbed for 30 to 60 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 500F. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit. Divide the batter between the two pans.
    3. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until firm and the edges are set. Broil on high for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the tops start to lightly brown.
    4. Remove pans for the oven and use a knife to help loosen the edges of the socca from the pan. Flip over onto a plate and discard the parchment paper. Top with kale pesto and serve.

For the kale pesto:

  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth. With the motor running, pour the olive oil through the spout and process until combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  2. Serve immediately or transfer to the fridge to allow the flavours to marinate.

Socca adapted from this recipe.