As you may have noticed, I’ve been digging on the crepes lately. So far I haven’t strayed from Mark Bittman‘s recipe for Buckwheat Crepes, made with buckwheat flour, regular flour, eggs, milk and butter. They’re delicious, and not at all vegan. This isn’t a bad thing, and some might argue against tampering with a recipe that is fundamentally non-vegan. But at the same time, vegan food is “good to think”, and I like that. And cooking under the constraints of veganism lets me think outside of the box, try new ingredients, see old ingredients in a new light, and share food that everyone can feel good about.
So when we ran out of eggs and butter last week, I decided to give vegan crepes a whirl. There are loads of recipes for vegan crepes floating around the web, but there aren’t many that use buckwheat flour. The exception are the Veganomicon‘s buckwheat crepes, which are pleasantly devoid of weird ingredients like margarine or egg replacer. Instead, these buckwheat crepes use chickpea flour and cornflour to bind the dough. Sounds weird, but check it out: these crepes are amazing!
These vegan buckwheat crepes look and cook just like “the real thing”. Here’s a side-by-side photo – can you tell the difference?
The crepe on the right is the vegan version. As you can see, there’s not a huge difference. My only complaint would be that they lack the subtle richness that butter adds to the non-vegan crepes, but I suspect this could be nicely dealt with by adding some ground cashews or coconut milk to the batter.
The next question is – what do you fill a vegan crepe with? I love sweet crepes, but I find they need to be balanced with something creamy, such as yogurt or cottage cheese. But what’s a vegan to do?
I’ve been experimenting with a tofu filling, inspired by Vegalicious’s blueberry blinis, made by blending tofu with tahini, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. I’m still tweaking the recipe, but the texture is nice and I couldn’t stop eating the stuff straight from the bowl with a spoon. It was great with this morning’s apple crepes with blackberry jam (pictured below, and also makes a good base for vegan blintzes (another great use for crepes, shown on the right).
Here are a few other ideas for vegan crepe fillings and toppings:
- Filled with fruit or jam, then topped with soy yogurt, maple syrup, melted chocolate, or nuts
- Filled with melted chocolate, then topped with berries
- Filled with peanut butter, then topped with banana
- Filled with cashew or any nut “cheese”, sweet or savory
- Filled with scrambled tofu
- Filled with sauteed veggies, then topped with any kind of gravy – mushroom, cashew, onion, etc.
Vegan Buckwheat Crepes
The chickpea flour may seem like a weird addition, but somehow it works. Add more soy milk to the batter if you like your crepes thinner.
1 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp soy milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
- Whisk together all of the ingredients Let the batter rest for at least an hour (I make the batter right before bed, then cook the crepes in the morning).
- Lightly oil an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet and place over medium heat.
- Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter into the skillet. Swirl it around so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. (If the crepes aren’t thin enough, add a little more milk to the batter.)
- When the top of the crepe is dry, after about a minute, flip and cook the other side for 15 to 30 seconds. (The crepes should brown only very slightly and not be at all crisp.)
- Stack the crepes on a plate as you make them. You can keep them warm in a low oven while you make the remaining crepes. Or freeze the leftover crepes, separating each crepes with a piece of parchment paper.
Makes about 10 crepes. Per crepe: 56 Calories; 2.7g Protein; 1.1g Total Fat; 8.8g Total Carbohydrates; 28mg Cholesterol; 140mg Sodium; 1.8g Fiber.