This soft, fluffy and buoyant chickpea omelette makes for an excellent start to the day. Made with gram flour, it’s low in fat, high in protein, and perfect for encasing all manner of exciting fillings. Plus it’s really quick and really easy to make!
Eggs are often a major sticking point for people considering going vegan. Despite the massive increase in vegan products in supermarkets, egg replacers often focus on baking rather than anything that could be shoved in a frying pan for a quick and easy meal. But while no one is going to mistake this chickpea omelette for an egg-based version, it ticks a lot of omelette boxes: it’s quick, easy, and inexpensive to whip up, is similarly versatile in the array of fillings it will happily enfold, is soft and slightly buoyant, equally high in protein but lower in fat, and most importantly, is very tasty.
The recipe below is for a chickpea omelette in its most simple form, but there are so many possible variations to compliment any filling you may choose. I’ve included the recipe for the filling in the pictures – a tasty tangle of fried onions, cherry tomatoes and greens – and there are loads of suggestions at the bottom of this post for other options.
How to make a chickpea omelette
When I first went vegan, I tried a few chickpea omelette recipes but most were quite dense or stodgy and in no way reminiscent of the classic eggy version. The key to a light and soft chickpea omelette is the addition of baking powder, for the buoyancy, and vegan yogurt for a little moisture and richness. I used coconut yogurt but you can use whatever non-dairy yogurt you prefer, just bear in mind that you may need a little less water if you use a thinner yogurt, or a little more if you use a thicker greek-style version.
To make the omelettes, simply sift your gram flour (chickpea flour or besan is also fine) into a small bowl, and whisk in the baking powder, salt, pepper, and any dry spices or seasonings you want to use. Then add the non-dairy yogurt and a few tablespoons of water, and whisk everything together until you have a smooth, thick batter. You’re aiming for something that is just about pourable.
Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat with a drop of oil. Once hot, add half the batter, for two small omelettes, or all of it for one big one. Use a spatula to spread the mixture into a thick and roughly even circle, about 15cm diameter for a small omelette, or 20cm for a large one. The batter will start to puff up a little and you’ll see a few air bubbles on the surface. After a couple of minutes, use a spatula to have a peek of the underside to check if it’s browning, and if the batter on top is also starting to firm up, flip the omelette and cook on the other side for 2 minutes, until it’s starting to brown, then remove from the heat.
It’s important that the omelette is cooked all the way through, as raw gram flour tastes very bitter. However, if you overcook it, the omelette will harden around the edges and lose some of its softness and spring, but a few minutes under a tea towel should soften it up a little, and is a good place to leave your cooked omelettes if you’re making more than one.
There are so many ways you can customize the batter for this recipe, but here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast or grated vegan parmesan for a cheesy kick
- Throw in a handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, mint, coriander, or parsley.
- Use kamal namak (aka. black salt) in place of regular salt for an eggy flavour.
- Add a pinch of za’tar for a herby middle eastern vibe
- Finely chop some raw red onion, a finger chilli, and add with a sprinkle of nigella or black mustard seeds
- Replace the yogurt with vegan sour cream or crème fraîche, and snip in some chives
- Add a pinch of your favourite spice or seasoning e.g. paprika, ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric or garlic granules
This is pretty much an anything goes sort of situation. For the pictured omelette, I fried a banana shallot in a little olive oil until soft, then stirred in a crushed garlic clove before adding some quartered cherry tomatoes, chopped spring greens, and a pinch of salt. I stir-fried everything for 3–4 minutes until the spring greens had wilted, spritzed everything with a squeeze of lemon juice and checked the seasoning, before transferring to a small bowl and wiping the frying pan before making the omelettes. You could use red onion or spring onions in place of the shallots, a large tomato instead of cherries, and spinach, chard leaves or kale instead of spring greens.
However there are so many other options. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:
- Avocado with fried smoked tofu and chilli flakes
- Spanish omelette style with fried onions, peppers and potatoes
- Spinach and mushroom, fried in vegan butter and plenty of garlic
- A mexican salad with red onion, sweetcorn, tomatoes, avocado and fresh coriander drenched in lime juice
- Leftovers – if you’ve got a bit of curry, bean chilli, marinated tofu or vegetables in the fridge then this is a great way to use them up for a quick lunch.
- Vegan sausages and baked beans
- Fried onions with vegan cheese
- Pulled jackfruit – try my tamarind jackfruit recipe
What’s your favourite omelette filling? Comment below so we can keep the ideas coming! And if you give this recipe a try I would love to hear how you get on – as well as the comment section there’s a star rating at the top of the post, and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Easy Chickpea Omelette
A soft, fluffy and buoyant omelette made with gram flour – high protein, low fat and thoroughly delicious!
For the chickpea omelette:
- 50g (½ cup) gram flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- black pepper
- 3 tbsp non-dairy yogurt (soya-free if necessary – I use coconut)
- 3–4 tbsp water
- oil for frying
For the filling (optional):
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 banana shallot (or ½ red onion)
- 1 garlic clove
- 7–8 cherry tomatoes
- handful of chopped greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, chard leaves)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ a lemon
- black pepper
- Start with the filling. Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat with 2 tsp oil. Finely slice the shallot and add to the pan once the oil is hot. Fry for 8–10 minutes until soft and starting to brown.
- While the onion is cooking, grate or crush 1 garlic clove, quarter 7–8 cherry tomatoes and chop a handful of greens. Add the garlic to the pan once the onions are soft, stir for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, greens and ¼ tsp salt. Cook for 3–4 minutes until the greens have wilted, then add a quick squeeze of lemon juice and a grind of black pepper. Taste and add a little more salt, lemon or pepper as necessary, then transfer to a bowl.
- For the omelette, sift 50g gram flour into a small mixing bowl, along with ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper, and whisk to combine. Add 3 tbsp non-dairy yogurt and 3 tbsp water and whisk to a smooth paste – it should be very thick but just about pourable. Add a little more water as necessary.
- Wipe the frying pan clean and return to a medium heat with a drop of oil. Once hot, add the batter to the pan (or half the batter if making two small omelettes), and use a spatula to spread the mixture so it forms a roughly even circle, about 20cm in diameter (or 15cm for small). Cook for two minutes, then use a spatula to lift the edge of the omelette – if the underside is browning and the batter on top is starting to firm up then flip it over and cook for another two minutes on the other side, until golden brown in places. Keep under a tea towel so it remains soft, then eat immediately, folded in half over the filling.