Tomato, Olive and Parmesan Farinata

What? This recipe is meatless AND gluten-free?!?! And did you say it kind of tastes like pizza? Yeah, you have to try this beyond easy recipe from In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita for my Meatless Monday #13.

The Recipe:
1 1/3 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Hot pepper flakes, to taste
2 handfuls grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Handful black olives, pitted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Handful baby arugula or Italian parsley leaves, for finishing
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste, for finishing
Hot pepper oil, for finishing (optional)

1. Combine the chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly whisk or stir in the water to form a smooth batter. Cover and let sit room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 400F.

3. Heat an 11-inch non-stick, oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is hot, stir the batter and then pour into skillet.

4. Sprinkle with rosemary and hot pepper flakes.

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5. Cook until mixture starts to set, about 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Top with grape tomatoes, olives and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

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7. Transfer to oven; bake until fully set, and edges and bottom of farinata are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

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8. Finish with arugula, freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of hot pepper oil, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.

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My Experience:

According to Stefano Faita, farinata is actually street food in some parts of Italy. So actual Italian dish! Yes, this recipe is also part of Meatless Monday, but you can top this farinata with your favorite pizza toppings. While eating, I thought that little steak cubes would be really good on it. Mix it up a little, because although it looks like this recipe has a lot of ingredients, it is actually very flexible and super easy!

And no, I’m not jumping on the gluten free band wagon as a weight-loss thing, my chiropractor (who’s wife has Crohn’s) strongly believes that cutting out gluten will help me with my Crohn’s, so I am going to give it a try. I’m not going cold turkey though so I am in the cutting down phase right now, so more to come later on if it actually helps.

Back to the recipe! You should be able to find the chickpea flour in the International section of your grocery store or in bulk food stores like Bulk Barn. Now with the huge gluten-free craze, it is getting easier to find these sorts of alternatives.

Instead of grape tomatoes (I don’t eat fresh tomatoes), I used sundried tomatoes and sliced them thinly. I actually bought them at the serve-yourself counter at the grocery store and took some extra olive oil from the bowl, which is infused with tons of flavour. I used this olive oil (about 1/8 of a cup) in the recipe to add extra flavour and just topped it off with normal extra virgin olive oil to make the 1/4 cup.

For the olives, I used both black and green olives. Although the original recipe used whole, pitted olives, I used sliced. I thought it would help evenly spread the toppings (same reason for thinly slicing the sundried tomatoes).

When I went to the grocery store, they didn’t have arugula for some reason and I didn’t feel like buying a bunch of parsley so I skipped that ingredient. And I added a bit of grated cheddar cheese because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love cheese?

Like I said, super easy! Other than the half hour sit time, this recipe takes about 10 minutes. And it’s one dish!

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