Update: To make this recipe even easier, use my Chickpea Omelet Mix!
Even though I’m not a breakfast eater and I don’t eat eggs, I love omelets. Tofu omelets, that is. I can eat them morning, noon, or night; plain or stuffed with as many veggies as they can hold. My Vegan Omelette for One and all my “Eggless Eggs” recipes are, to me, the definition of comfort food: flavorful, filling, and familiar. But they all depend on tofu, and I know some of you reading this can’t or don’t eat soy. So what do you do if you crave an omelet and can’t have tofu?
Enter the chickpea. Second only to the soybean in its culinary flexibility, the chickpea is definitely The Little Legume That Could. Take this salad. It could be tuna salad but it’s actually chickpeas. Meatballs? Could be, but actually they get their protein from chickpeas. And how about these cheesy crackers? It’s chickpea flour that gives them their nutty flavor and crunch.
Indian, Pakistani, and Bengali cooks have been using unroasted chickpea flour–also known as besan or gram flour–to make omelet-like pancakes for centuries. (Technically, gram flour is made from a relative of the chickpea, chana or chholar dal, which I often use instead of yellow split peas.) If you have an Indian grocery store nearby, you can buy a nice, big bag of gram flour for a very low price. I prefer the superfine grind because I’ve actually had to strain large pieces out of bags of coarser flour. And when you’re cooking something for such a short time, as in this omelet, you don’t want to run the risk of uncooked lumps.
So about these omelets. In truth, they are more like flatbreads than omelets, though they hit the spot when I’m craving comfort food. And while they won’t fool anyone who is expecting eggs, they have a nutty and almost cheesy flavor all their own. Plus, they’re even easier to make than tofu omelets; because you mix the ingredients by hand, there’s no blender to clean afterward.
7 Incredible Chickpea Flour Omelets:
Since I wanted to fill my chickpea omelets with roasted asparagus, I added herbs that I thought would complement the filling–basil and chives–plus nutritional yeast for cheesiness and black salt for the slightly sulfurous flavor of eggs. But you can use any seasonings and fillings that you like. The traditional Indian chickpea pancakes called pudla or chilla are fragrant with cumin, ginger, chilies, and cilantro and are incredible with spinach and kale fillings. Check out the seasonings in the recipes linked below:
- Tastespace’s Savoury Indian Chickpea Pancakes (Besan Chilla)
- Holy Cow!’s Eggless Vegetable Omelet (Besan Chilla)
- Julia’s (Vegan) Kitchen’s Chickpea Flour Omelette with Black Salt
- Sketch-Free Eating’s Chickpea Omelette
- Vegan Richa’s Chickpea flour Omelette with spinach, onion, tomato, bell peppers
- Triumph Wellness’s Chickpea Flour Omelette
- Cake Maker to the Stars’ Pudla of the Moment
And of course, if you keep a batch of my Chickpea Omelet Mix on hand, you can make vegan omelets quickly and easily.
Chickpea Flour Omelets with Asparagus
- 8 ounces asparagus ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup superfine chickpea flour also called besan or gram flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black salt kala namak optional, but gives an “eggy” flavor
- generous grinding of black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives or 1 tablespoon minced onion, snipped
- 1/2 green or red bell pepper chopped
- 1 small tomato chopped, or handful of halved grape tomatoes, optional
- Cook the asparagus until it is tender in any way you like. (I roasted it in a 425F oven for about 10 minutes.) Sprinkle with salt to taste, if you like, and set aside.
- While the asparagus is cooking, mix the chickpea flour with all dry ingredients (nutritional yeast through black pepper) in a medium mixing bowl. Add the water, chives, and bell pepper. Allow to stand and thicken while the asparagus cooks or about 10 minutes.
- Check the batter and add water by the tablespoon if it is not a pourable consistency. It should be like thick pancake batter.
- Preheat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over high heat. Once it’s hot, reduce the heat to medium and pour half of the batter (about 2/3 cup) into the center of the skillet. Smooth it with the back of a spoon until it’s a circle about 6 inches in diameter. If you’re using tomatoes, sprinkle half of them on top. Cover tightly and cook for 4 minutes or until the top begins to look bread-like rather than liquidy.
- Add half the asparagus to one side of the omelet and fold the other half over it. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining ingredients for one more omelet. Serve warm.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Emily SegalApril 11, 2013 at 8:11 am
Thanks for the mention Susan. Yours look delicious! I must get some black salt already. 🙂
janet @ the taste spaceApril 11, 2013 at 8:35 am
Love your Italian-esque chickpea crepe, Susan! I personally don’t have the patience for pancakes but love it when served them hot from the stovetop. The Indian-style besan chilla is our go-to recipe but I think we will be trying your version next. It looks great!
(And thank you for sharing my link). 🙂
Mary @ VeganishyApril 11, 2013 at 9:28 am
This looks like a great egg alternative – something I’ve been looking for in my venture to veganism. Can’t wait to try!
LouiseApril 11, 2013 at 9:34 am
Merci !! will try !!
moonwatcherApril 11, 2013 at 10:23 am
When I saw this this morning, I gasped and said, “Oh my gosh–” I could hardly read fast enough!! I miss my tofu “omelettes”–I have been working up to making a chickpea flatbread or something, and this sounds just perfect. The photos are gorgeous too!! Thanks, thanks for the inspiration and the recipe. You hit a home run AGAIN!!
HelynApril 11, 2013 at 11:16 am
Oh wow! The black salt is a fabulous idea! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks, Susan!!!
CristinaApril 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm
I tried it this morning and loved it. I may have cooked it too long because it didn’t have the creaminess of an omelette, but it was delicious! I filled it with cooked spinach and made a note to season future fillings a bit more. I will definitely be making this one again. So easy and so beautiful. I should have sent a photo but as I gobbled down the omelette so quickly! Yummers. Thanks for posting the recipe.
RichaApril 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm
This will probably get hubbs to eat more asparagus! Thanks for including my spinach and veggies omelette.
We hardly eat tofu and chilla gets made atleast once a week. There was one year in between when i didnt eat any chilla because my stomach wasnt doing well with chickpea flour. then I changed brands to bob’s red mill and havent gone back to the ones i get in the indian stores, even though besan is cheaper there:)
RichaApril 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm
oh yes i love the top shots too . esp of the tacos from the last post:)
tiApril 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm
I love using black salt in egg-less egg salad, tofu omelets, or even sprinkled on mango for a quick snack!
allisonApril 12, 2013 at 2:49 am
Today I just arrived home with my very first bag of chickpea flour and pav bhaji masala, yes thanks to you Susan, from the Indian grocery next to my favourite Indian restaurant, where I took my 80 year old mom for the BEST lunch buffet, lots of veggie items, but probably NOT fat free! Anyways with asparagus waiting in my crisper, this seems like a match made in heaven, and I can hardly wait to try this in the morning. Yum!
Ginny McMeansApril 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm
These Chickpea Flour Omelets look and sound so good. I will make them soon especially since I already have all the ingredients.
LisaApril 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm
I just started making these with spinach, onions, and tomatoes…heaven!!
RoxanneApril 13, 2013 at 6:30 am
Chikpea flour omelet and asparagus.. I love both the ingredients. Great way to put ’em together. Cheers to better eating!
SarahApril 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm
Hi Susan, stumbled across your site a few days ago – really glad I did, there is so much in it – delicious recipes – just to my liking. I’m going to try the omelette for a lunch next week when I’m working from home – slightly dubious about the asparagus, but going to give it a try. Will report back! Thanks.
TomApril 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Just made these and added some Daiya cheddar inside. They were incredibly delicious! Thank you for the recipe!
SylviaApril 13, 2013 at 9:59 pm
Thank you sooo much for these recipes! I have Chic Pea/Fava Bean flour do you think that would work the same for the Asparagus Omelette? Eager to try!!
Susan VoisinApril 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm
I think it should work. Hope you enjoy it!
TaylorApril 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm
Do you think I could bake this? I don’t have a nonstick pan >.<
Susan VoisinApril 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm
You can try, but I’ve never done that and can’t say how it’ll come out.
GinaApril 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm
Wow these are so good! As a vegan struggling to get enough protein and feel full without starchy sugary additives this was great!
I used homemade gherkins instead of peppers and added tomatoes and olives on top without asparagus. Also I don’t have a non-stick pan, so a drop of olive oil in a normal pan worked fine.
(It tasted like the smell of the McDonalds burger that my boyfriend gets ;P) YUM
BarbaraApril 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Oh, I know I am going to love this recipe. Thank you!
CaeApril 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm
Just made this! Wonderful! Thank you for all your fantastic recipes! My daughter made the Minty Pea Soup last night. It was great! Your blog has been very helpful to us as we begin our journey into Veganism.
Esther JApril 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm
A lovely, and much loved, elf in my life surprised me today with “gifts” (i.e. Indian food items I’ve wanted for months now) from an Indian grocery she stumbled upon when she visited the big(ger) city today. How grateful I am for her thoughtfulness! Now I can make many more of the Indian dishes you’ve created here!
Starting with this one. Moments after the besan flour and black salt landed in my kitchen, I whipped these up (using only tomatoes and some onion powder just to test the recipe) to go with a large salad for dinner tonight. Yummy and filling.
These definitely will be spruced up and be going on a Saturday brunch menu very soon.
Thanks, Susan! Lady, you are a culinary (s)hero to me. 🙂
IanApril 19, 2013 at 5:43 am
It looks simple and delicious. Cooking an omelet was the first kitchen skill I learnt from my grandmother MANY years ago. They are simple, quick and delicious especially when you add something extra like your asparagus. The chickpea flour is something new to me so I will certainly follow it up
Molly (Sprue Story)April 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm
Love to see chickpea flour being allowed to shine, and LOVE that the asparagus recipes are starting to take over the blogosphere. That final photo (the action shot?) is especially mouthwatering. Yum!
MaryApril 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm
Made these for dinner tonight with a mushroom filling and they were a hit with my family – will definitely make these a recurring meal at our house.
StevioMay 1, 2013 at 10:28 am
This looks and sounds great! Do you think it would still work if I omit the yeast?
Susan VoisinMay 1, 2013 at 10:47 am
Yes, the nutritional yeast just adds flavor, so you can leave it out. Maybe add a little more seasoning?
stephanieMay 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm
What a great idea! This will really hit the spot, since I cannot have tofu anymore and absolutely loved your eggless omelettes when I could! It looks so delicious, I cannot wait to try it!
Do you think a version of this could be used to make a egg-free, cheese-free, gluten free version of chili rellenos?
stephanieMay 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm
If anyone is wondering, the answer is no. It didn’t turn out very well at all as chili rellenos.
Susan VoisinMay 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Ugh, sorry about that! I’ve never had chili rellenos (the result of being vegan for 2 decades) so I couldn’t answer your question before. Thanks for providing the feedback, though I’m sorry for your waste of time and ingredients.
Nina WebbMay 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm
Thanks for the recipe Susan, it looks great and can’t wait to try it out. My question: can I grind dried chickpeas in my Vitamix to approximate besan? I live on a boat and we are sailing around Mexico and I don’t think I can find besan here in the supermercados.
Susan VoisinMay 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm
It should be possible, though I haven’t done it.
shirleyMay 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm
I lived in India for many years and used to make “chilla” for breakfast and fast Sunday night light dinners.. Typically, we mixed finely chopped fresh ginger, onions, fingerhot chillies and loads of cilantro. So delicious! It was typically served with homemade yoghurt but soy yoghurt could be used. Also, it is delicious served with a soy “raita”. Raita is unsweetened yoghurt which has different veggies chopped and chilled in it: maybe grated cucumber, diced boiled potatoes. Then, the yoghurt is garnshed with “lines” of cayenne pepper, ground cumin and possibly black pepper.
LouisaJune 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm
Strangely similar to Isa’s recipe in Vegan Brunch, no?
Susan VoisinJune 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm
No is right. 🙂 Isa’s recipe is tofu-based, with some chickpea flour added for binding. These are soy-free and completely chickpea flour-based and are much more like the omelets I cited as inspiration at the end of this post.
LydiaJuly 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm
They were great even without the black salt. Then I found black salt in a local Indian grocery and OOO LA LA! They are the BOMB! I also served them drizzled with the Cauliflower ‘Cheese’ sauce – YUM!
BTW A dash of black salt in your Tofu Cashew mayo recipe adds an eggy note.
LynnJuly 28, 2013 at 2:59 am
Really and truly, this recipe made me so happy.
When I first decided to go vegan, I tried not to do meat or animal food analogs. However, there are times when I want the comfort foods that I grew up with. This recipe does it for me. I made the basic recipe, and had one omelette left over which I took to work. When I heated it up in the microwave in our lunchroom there were several comments about how good it smelled. I did not share. It is just too good, and no one would believe that it doesn’t contain eggs or cheese.
RobinAugust 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm
I don’t usually comment on recipes but I HAD to share my experience with this one! I am vegan and am always looking for new things to try and when I stumbled upon this recipe, I figured it would be a perfect way to try using my chickpea flour for the first time. Since I was just cooking for me, I halved the recipe in every aspect but otherwise followed it exactly. Instead of asparagus, however, I filled the omelet with quickly sautéed (no oil) onion, garlic, bell pepper, and kale, as well as adding raw onion and bell pepper to the batter. It turned out 100% perfectly! On the side, I had a little dish of sriracha for a spicy kick. Definitely putting this in my mental “favorite recipe” cabinet!! Thanks for helping a teen vegan find super creative and healthy ideas.
Margaret Norris'sSeptember 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm
Hello Susan, I have been a vegetarian for about 50 year, and lately have decided to abandon cow dairy products and eggs, because of the dreadfully cruel practices perpetrated on cows, chickens and beef, much the same reasons that I stopped eating meat, chicken and fish many years ago. People still occasionally ask me why I eat this way, I don’t make a big issue of the ethical reason, although here in australia, the issue of dreadful & cruel practices on animals by farmers etc is starting to become a big issue as we learn more about their “only for money practices” e.g = live animal export trade, and there are lots of protests to our politicians, especially now as there is a general election (compulsory) today. We have a wonderful organization here called “Animals Australia” and they are making great strides in turning those awful practices around as there are alternatives. To be honest my favorite foods are & have always been, fruit & vegetables. I enjoyed reading your comments, and recipes. I found it this morning as I am going completely vegan and was concerned about vit 12. You satisfied my concerns with nutritional yeast or as in Australia, you say it is called savory yeast flakes. I will try to get it at one of our big supermarkets, failing that, try at the health food shop. I have studied Ayurveda about 18 years ago and noticed lots of things that I use/do, the same as you do. It is a yummy way to eat. Thanks and perhaps I will hear from you. I live in a suburb of Melbourne , which is the capital of Victoria, which is a state of Australia. Keep up the good work.
BerOctober 15, 2013 at 6:50 am
This is very similar to a dish my kids love called pudla, but only around 4-5 ingredients. I put grated zucchini into the batter and a 1/4 of rice flour. They love this dish, I don’t always fill it but if I do often it is with some sort of potato. Thanks for posting this!
EmilyDecember 23, 2013 at 11:05 am
Do the chia seeds need to be ground? Or can they stay whole?
Susan VoisinDecember 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
Grinding them improves their thickening ability and they take less time to soften, so I think it’s best to grind them.
BerDecember 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm
I do something simpler called Puda. They are more crepe like than these and only have around 5 ingredients. They are one of my children’s favorite dishes.
BerDecember 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm
It was suppose to be similar not simpler, leave it to auto editor… ugh
SaraApril 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm
I’d never made a chickpea flour omelette and finally got around to trying it today, thanks to your fabulous recipe. It came out perfectly and will definitely be giving my tofu versions a run for their money! So, so delicious. Thanks, Susan!
Natalie @ Our Passion For FoodAugust 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm
I love this recipe. I also had the idea of putting all the dry ingredients in a zip lock bag in the fridge ready to be used- you just add the water and whatever veggies you want and it’s a really quick meal! Thanks for the inspiration!
systemaSeptember 13, 2014 at 10:36 am
Have you tried Burmese Tofu – made with chickpea flour . Ring the changes with different herbs and spices.
MTOctober 4, 2014 at 10:40 am
Hi Susan. I tried this today and while taste was OK, the omelet stuck to the pan. I tried one in the non-stick and another in the iron skillet but both got stuck. I try to cook without oil so I was wondering if you would have any suggestions how to prevent the batter from sticking?