Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake/Flatbread

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

Farinata or Faina is a savory flatbread made from chickpea flour whose origins lie in Liguria, Italy. You may recognize it by another name; it’s twin is the popular French version called Socca. I was introduced to this dish by Gera of Sweet Foods who lives in Uruguay where it is wildly popular.

Farinata is made with a loose batter of highly nutritious chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. This version also includes thinly sliced onions and fresh, fragrant rosemary. It is baked in a hot cast iron skillet or pizza pan that renders a golden crispiness to the outside with a soft, tender middle. It is sometimes used like pizza dough and topped with sauce and cheese or vegetables. And I have even heard of it being put right on top of pizza.

For such a simple list of ingredients the flavors are surprisingly rich and complex. I was happily surprised. And I can truly say it is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. I gobbled up half of the pan in a matter of minutes. The taste is almost indescribable because chickpea flour doesn’t exactly taste like chickpeas. Strange but true. It has a unique flavor that no one in my family could identify.

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

Chickpea or Garbanzo bean flour can be found in the health food section, Italian or Middle Eastern section of your market or in specialty stores. I buy mine at the health food store – the Bob’s Red Mill brand. And while I usually don’t post recipes that require ‘special’ trips to find ingredients this one is well worth it.

This makes a great appetizer straight from the oven warm. Or if you’re like me; dinner. It’s rustic, healthy, and ridiculously simple to make!

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

Farinata Genovese
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)

1 cup Chickpea Flour
1 + 3/4 cup Water
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt or 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
1 teaspoon, at least, ground Black Pepper
5 tablespoons Olive oil, divided
1/2 large Onion, thinly sliced, optional
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, optional.

1. Sift chickpea flour into a bowl; add salt, then slowly add the water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit for one hour, or up to 12. The batter will thicken and should be about the consistency of heavy cream.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a well-seasoned or cast-iron skillet(I used a 10-inch) or 12-inch pizza pan over medium high heat and add 2-3 tablespoons oil into heated pan, swirl to cover pan evenly. When the oil is hot add onion and let it cook for one minute. Pour in batter and sprinkle top with Rosemary.

3. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and bake for 20-40 minutes until it is no longer custardy in the middle and it is firm with the edges set. Turn on broiler and broil top for a minute or two until it takes on a golden brown, spotty color.

4. Allow to set for a few minutes and then carefully remove from pan to a cutting board using two spatulas. Allow to cool briefly. Cut into wedges and season generously with black pepper. Best served warm.

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Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

I’m linking this to Two for Tuesdays: Celebrate Real Food @ Girlichef Heather’s site.


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  1. Matt says

    My grandfather was born and lived the early years of his life in Genoa. My family went visited the our relatives there a few years ago and couldn’t stop raving about the Farinatta. They brought the recipe back from the old world and have installed it into our families cooking traditions. Thanks so much for posting the this recipe!

  2. Carolyn Triance says

    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe: years ago, I tried to make socca, but it was not very successful.. Tonight we have eaten it with broccoli soup and pecorino and both loved it…..it is so moreish!

    • Reeni says

      Thanks Carolyn! I’m glad it worked out! It sounds delicious with the broccoli soup! And, yes, it is moreish! I usually can’t stop eating it until it’s gone. :-)

  3. Ashley says

    I really want to try this recipe but I just found out that I’m terribly allergic to chickpeas. I’m also allergic to nuts and coconut so I wouldn’t be able to sub with that kind of flour. Pretty much the only flour I can have is brown rice flour, as I’m allergic to gluten as well. Do you think this recipe would work if I used brown rice flour instead? It looks wonderful! I’m bummed I can’t have chickpeas anymore.

    • Reeni says

      Hi Ashley! Sorry about your allergy! There is no substitution in this recipe – it’s all about the chickpea flour – that’s what gives it a distinct flavor. It would be an entirely different recipe with a substitution. Brown rice flour is so bland and this needs the flavor of the chickpeas to work. Thanks for your interest! Sorry I don’t have better news. :-(

      • Ashley says

        Hi Reeni,

        That’s okay! Thank you for replying anyway! I actually ended up experimenting and creating my own brown rice bread of sorts. It’s not actually “bread” but it gave me the consistency I was going for. I definitely notice the bland taste you mentioned brown rice flour has. I’m hoping I’ll get used to it. Thanks again!

      • Reeni says

        Hi Ashley! I’m glad you found something to work with! Maybe some fresh herbs or minced veggies like garlic and onion – if you like them or can eat them – would help with the flavor. Take care! :-)

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