My sister brought my beautiful niece named Luna over last week. It was a Friday and I wanted to celebrate by making a special yet easy and quick lunch. My morning was spent running countless errands, none of which had anything to do with visiting a market. I realize that this may sound crazy and for most people grocery shopping can be chore, but when given the time, I actually enjoy it. For someone that cooks a lot, I get a great deal of inspiration just wandering the aisles, especially the produce and vegetable sections. Living in Berkeley has spoiled me a bit, maybe even softened me to the point where instead of swooning over the next hottest actor, I’m found gushing over a beautiful ripened, red tomato.
I was left with little fresh produce or vegetables at home with no time to go to the market. So I relied only on the available items found in my refrigerator, pantry and freezer.
Usually, detailed menu planning is involved, but sometimes you just have to throw something together quickly. I remembered that I had made some beetroot yogurt spread back in June; the leftovers were still sitting in the freezer.
In the morning, I took the half-pint of beetroot spread out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator. I wanted to pair the beetroot with something substantial, like a flatbread or socca.
We make socca often at home. For those of you unfamiliar with socca, it is made out of chickpea or garbanzo bean flour. It is typically served as a flatbread. Some people make crepe style pancakes or use it as a gluten-free crust for a non-traditional type of pizza. The chickpea flour has a mellow flavor that does not overpower yet really stands out. It is on regular rotation at our house.
Usually, I make a version that looks very similar to pizza adorned with tomato sauce and traditional toppings such as onion, sausage, parmesan cheese and mushrooms. The kids gobble it up and I feel better knowing that they are getting a more nutrient dense version of pizza than one made with traditional white flour. Plus, it is super easy to make with only 5 staple ingredients. You are left with a tasty, delicious meal that makes everyone happy. A win-win for all.
We are seeing more beets at the market now so it’s really the perfect time to make this spread and save some leftovers as a dip or a topping for this pizza. There is a bit of planning that goes into making socca but if you are organized, you can throw this whole meal together in less than 30 minutes( especially if you make your beetroot spread ahead of time).
The socca batter can be made in the morning. I like to let it sit for a minimum of 2 hours, up to a maximum of 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Soaking the batter really helps the water to absorb the chickpea flour, resulting in a sturdier crust.
The best part of this dish is how versatile it is. You can switch out the toppings and use any seasonal vegetables that strike your fancy. In the summer, I spread pesto with zoodles( zucchini noodles) on top. I’ve also made a margherita style socca with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and sun-dried tomatoes.
The possibilities are endless and you can be as creative as you choose. Better yet, the meal will be made without too much fussing which leaves more time to spend with your family and friends. It was such a cinch that I was able to give more hugs, kisses and squeezes to my adorable little Luna.
Socca Pizza with Beetroot Spread
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Sesame-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free
Adapted from Bon Apetit
Makes about 1 – 1 1/2 cups
You can serve this as a dip with vegetables or it makes a great spread on pizza. The beetroot thickens when baked.
- 3 medium red beets, roasted and peeled
- 1 1/4 cup full fat yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbl finely chopped mint
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- squeeze of lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets. Leave a little damp so that the salt sticks to the skin’s surface. Season the skins with course sea salt. Wrap beets tightly in parchment paper and aluminum foil. Lay on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 45-60 minutes. Vent open a bit to cool. Skin will peel off easily. Beets should be tender not mushy.
Grate the beets on the coarse edge of a grater and stir into yogurt. Add mint, tarragon, olive oil, salt, vinegar and lemon. Stir and taste. Balance with more salt if needed. Thin out to desired consistency with water, if desired.
Let cool completely. Spread on socca crust, see recipe below. Beetroot spread can be made ahead. Leftovers freeze well for about 3-6 months.
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2-3 small garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic and salt. Let the mixture rest for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours, refrigerated. I’ve found letting the chickpea batter soak up the water really helps in a more substantial flatbread.
Turn on the broiler with a rack positioned 8 inches from heat. Place a 10-inch already oiled cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.
Once the skillet is hot, carefully remove it from the oven( it is very hot), pour in the chickpea batter. Return the skillet to the broiler. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the socca is set and the edges are browning and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven, turn off broiler and turn oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of the socca( it will soak right in). Top socca with the beetroot spread, smoothing out to the edges or leaving about a 1/4 inch from the crust. Crumble goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is browning and the socca looks crisp, with the edges pulling away from the sides. Remove from oven. Sprinkle a generous amount of arugula on top and salt. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing and serve.
Additional toppings: Turn the socca into a traditional pizza. Follow the same process, use tomato sauce, mozzarella or parmesan cheese, sausage, mushrooms and any other toppings of your choice.
The socca can be served as a light lunch, main meal or appetizer