as i'm sure a lot of you know, my love for chickpea flour runs deep, deep enough to write an entire cookbook dedicated to it. that's not to say that my affinity for the flour didn't fade. after recipe testing with it for over a year or so, i developed a distaste for it. after i turned in my manuscript, i was somewhat repulsed by its subtle flavor for a good year. each time i went to the grocery store i stocked up on chickpea flour, so when i was done with writing it, i felt a sense of freedom that i could shop without the demand to purchase it. there are still some favorite recipes that i make almost weekly, namely socca. frank loves it. plus, it's an easy meal to pull together with a hearty vegetable for dinner, and (bonus!) frank knows how to make it, so that means i can get a night to not worry about prepping a meal.
since having amesy our meals have become somewhat of a routine; a well-oiled machine, i would say. i generally worry about what we're going to eat way too far in advance of dinner. so having a little schedule provides some much needed sanity in a world of baby-uncertainty and chaos. and while i love routine (almost to a fault), i also crave spontaneity at times. which is why i love this za'atar bread recipe with my whole heart. it's very much like socca in that it's made from chickpea flour and water, but it's is baked, not fried, and has an abundance of flavor from the za'atar. this little dish was all i needed on "socca night" to get me out of my routine (while still kinda existing in one) and jazz it up a little. plus, i'm not sure i had this much fun cooking a dish in a really long time (thank you jessica!). polka-dotting the bread batter with za'atar oil, and then swirling them to make super easy/fancy looking swirls is a good night in my book. i guess the moral of this story is go beyond what makes you comfortable, if only a teeny bit, it may make all the difference.
this recipe comes from jessica murane's debut cookbook, one part plant. i was first introduced to jessica via twitter (i think), when we were first starting out in the blog world. jessica had graciously asked me to contribute a little write-up on one of my favorite ingredients and i was completely taken aback that someone was interested enough in what i thought, let alone what a favorite ingredient of mine was. and from that time on, i learned that jessica's way was to engage, discuss, and understand, as she had done on her blog, and now, on her podcast. she carries that beautifully into her book with a frank conversation about how she healed her body/mind/soul with plant-based whole foods. her recipes are simple, full flavored, and vibrant. there's a recipe for white bean buffalo hummus (for those of us who can't digest chickpea easily - hello!), an open-faced falafel sandwich, and a recipe for chocolate hazelnut crispies that are all on my to-make list when i'm off of my cleanse. in the meantime, i'll be swirling some za'atar into my bread from now on!
za'atar swirl bread | v + gf
the za'atar bread is amazing as is. i happen to love garlic, so i added a clove to the batter after adding the water. i also sprinkled some flaky sea salt on top when it had finished baking.
| makes 8 servings |
- 2 tablespoons ground sumac
- 5 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- 1 cup water
- first, make the za'atar mixture: in a small bowl, combine the sumac, sesame seeds, thyme, salt, and oil. set the mixture aside to let the flavors meld until your batter is ready.
- add the flour to a medium bowl and stir in a little water at a time until you have a thin batter. set it aside for 2 hours.
- preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8-or 9-inch round pan (jessica notes that she prefers a cast-iron skillet for this - and so do pour the batter into the pan. drop and scatter 1/2-teaspoon-size scoops of your za'atar spice mixture on top of the batter. it should look like za'atar polka dots. with a knife or skewer, zigzag and swirl through the batter from one side of the pan to the other. make sure you go all the way to the edges; you want to be sure to distribute the spices throughout.
- bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and the dough pulls slightly away from the sides. let it cool for at least 5 minutes. cut and serve. jessica notes: this bread makes a great appetizer to go with dips and spreads, especially hummus and baba ganoush.