A Gluten-Free Flatbread Everyone Loves


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Everyone who tries this pizza-like appetizer, made with a chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour crust, seems to fall in love with it.   


I was moved to try Farinata when I found a half-empty bag of garbanzo bean flour after testing Garbanzo Bean Gnocchi with Forest Mushrooms and Garlic Chive Coulis in my friend Braiden Rex-Johnson’s gorgeous book, Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining. It is another excellent recipe that could be easily adapted to be 100% gluten-free. 


I based this version of farinata on one found in the first edition (1985) of Carol Field’s book The Italian Baker. According to Field, farinata is native to Genoa and the Ligurian coast of Italy and references to “Pan di Ceci” go back to the 14th century. In From Julia Child’s Kitchen, Julia Child has a recipe for a chickpea flour crepe called Socca, made in Provence, France and served as a street snack or appetizer.  In India, chickpea flour is also used to make flatbreads, dumplings and other recipes.


This recipe includes a generous amount of olive oil to keep the pancake-like batter from sticking to the pan.  Cut it into small portions and play around with the toppings, but keep a light touch as the base is rich. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

I prefer a 14-inch diameter pan, at least ½-inch deep, to make a thin crust, but a 12-inch pan will work with a little longer baking time. 


Chickpea flour has a lot going for it nutritionally.  A ¼-cup serving has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber which is twice the protein and 6 times the fiber of a similar serving of all-purpose flour.  Now that more people are eating gluten-free and experimenting with Indian cooking, it is easy to find it on store shelves.


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


Farinata – Chickpea Flour Flatbread


2 cups garbanzo bean flour (8 ounces)

1 ¾ cups cold water

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or sage or 1 ½ teaspoons dry Italian herb seasoning

1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided use



1/2 cup thick top-quality tomato-based bruschetta sauce or pizza sauce

1 cup shredded manchego or other similarly tasting semi-hard, richly flavored cheese 

½ cup thinly sliced red

½ cup sliced, drained pitted kalamata olives

Place flour in bowl.  Slowly whisk in water to make a smooth batter.  Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.   Stir in rosemary, salt, cayenne pepper and1 tablespoon olive oil.   Preheat oven to 425°.  Heat a 14-inch  diameter and 1/2-inch deep, round pan in oven for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove pan from oven; add 4 tablespoons oil in pan and tilt to coat thoroughly.  Pour in batter.  Return to oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and spread  sauce on surface; top with cheese, onion slices and olives.  Turn off oven and return flatbread to oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese.  Serve in wedges for an appetizer.  Makes 12 servings.

© 2013 Lorelle S Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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