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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duvimomOctober 25, 2014 at 9:46 pm
I’d be careful of too many Indian products. I love India and Indian food, but I understand that pesticide use there is pretty bad.
ElaineJanuary 16, 2015 at 10:43 pm
I roasted some Shitake mushrooms and broccoli for the inside. The first one I made ended up scrambled, so I had to use oil to get the second one right. Delish!
SaraApril 8, 2015 at 11:16 am
Hi Susan, I’ve made your chickpea flour omelet mix many times and love it. I just wanted to share that this morning I made it with whole chia seeds instead of ground (my son was home sick sleeping on the sofa and I didn’t want to wake him using my grinder) and it worked perfectly! I still only let the batter sit for about 10 minutes and it thickened just fine. Just wanted to share this tip for others who don’t have grinder or don’t have time to grind their chia seeds.
FelishaOctober 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm
Hello! Do you think these omelet’s would freeze well if I prepped a few in advance for the week?
Susan VoisinOctober 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm
I think the omelets would freeze well, but not the asparagus. 🙂
MarieSeptember 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Do you think this would work with veggies in a muffin tin? I’m trying to come up with quick vegan on the go breakfast solutions and love the idea of this but would want to bake in a muffin tin for convenience. Do you think it would work, or likely not cook through all the way? Thanks!
Susan VoisinSeptember 28, 2016 at 5:38 pm
I think you’d have a real problem getting them to cook all the way through unless you placed just a thin layer in each muffin tin. I have a recipe for mini tofu quiches that might suit you better, if you eat soy.