What to CookCrêpe

You Don't Have to Be a Miracle-Worker to Make Vegan Crêpes

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Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Move over, toast. These sturdy crêpes—ideal for topping with spring vegetables, bean dips, or berry preserves—are our new favorite snack.

When I think about crêpes, I think about something delicate and airy—something that will require refinement and technique. Refinement and technique are not my strong suits as a home cook. Creativity? Sure. Enthusiasm? Plenty. But delicacy? I don’t know. I’m an average baker, and I tend to get impatient with recipes that demand a lot of finesse. As a result, I’ve always shied away from making crêpes at home. 

This, I've realized, is a mistake. We may think of crêpes as being elegant and dainty, but in doing so, we forget that crêpes are also a time-honored street food. From buckwheat crêpes in Brittany to dosas in India, crêpes are actually made because they're quick, versatile, and easy to prepare. Once you’ve got a batter mixed—and this can be done quite a few hours in advance of cooking—it’s simple to ladle your crêpes into a pan and have an almost instantaneous meal that will feel a little fancy, no matter how simple the process was.

More: Once you've mastered the crêpe, move on to a bigger challenge: the crêpe cake.

These crêpes are a hybrid of sorts. Both feature chickpea flour, which I love for its sturdiness, its mild flavor, and its bright color. Crêpes made with chickpea flour alone can easily become thick (more like a flatbread or a socca than a crêpe), so I like to use a combination of chickpea flour and all-purpose or rice flour (either will work; the latter is a good choice for gluten-free folks). 

The result is a light, yet sturdy crêpe that works easily well in either sweet or savory. You can use any fillings you like, from preserves to fresh fruit to sautéed vegetables to bean dip to sweet pea hummus. Once you try the recipes, you’ll wonder—as I did when I made them—why you haven’t been putting anything and everything into homemade crêpes all along. 

Savory Vegan Chickpea Crêpes with Spring Vegetable Ragout

Serves 4 to 6

For the crêpes:

1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour (brown or white)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for oiling the pan

For the ragout:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) sliced shiitake mushrooms 
1 1/2 cups thin asparagus spears, cut into thirds
1 cup halved snow peas
1 cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus extra for garnish

Sweet Vegan Chickpea Crêpes

1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour (brown or white)
2 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 cup water

See the full savory and sweet recipes (and save and print them).

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: Vegetable, Snack, Weeknight Cooking, Vegetarian, Vegan