They say you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. Wrong! One of my very favorite meals is a spinach and mushroom omelet with lashings of tomato sauce - with not an egg in sight. And it's delicious. OK, let's not upset the purists. It's not strictly speaking an omelet if it doesn't contain eggs. But the secret ingredient is gram flour which does the same job, and gram flour does it even better. Gram flour is quite simply ground dried garbanzos, or chickpeas. You might also see it called "besan." 'Channa flour' is the same except the chickpeas are roasted before they are milled, giving the final product a more earthy flavor. As you might expect, the nutritional profile of gram flour is far superior to that of eggs. Eggs are touted as "protein powerhouses," with athletes proclaiming the benefits of the whites-only omelet. In reality, they'd be far better off with gram flour. Gram for gram (excuse the pun), it contains 169% more protein and 1000% more fiber*, as well as plenty of wholegrain carbohydrates and minerals. Now, for the recipe...

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How to Make a Vegan Omelet

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup gram flour
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of xantham gum
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
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Preparation

1. Rinse and roughly chop two large handfuls of fresh spinach and a handful of mushrooms. Mince 1-2 cloves garlic. 2. Gently fry the garlic, spinach and mushroom in 1 tsp. olive oil until the mushrooms start to release juices and the spinach is wilted. Set aside. 3. In a mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup gram flour, 1 tsp. bouillon powder, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of xantham gum (optional - it helps the mixture hold together). 4. Gradually add 75-100ml soy milk or cold water to the dry mixture, stirring with a fork or whisk as you go to avoid lumps. The resulting mixture should have the consistency of a smooth, thick batter. 5. Add the fried vegetables to the omelet mixture and stir to combine. Wipe clean and re-oil your frying pan. 6. Heat the pan and add the omelet mixture over a medium heat. You will need to spread it over the base of the pan with a spatula, making sure it's an even depth all the way across (about 1cm). 7. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then flip using a palette knife or spatula (or your most carefully practiced pancake tossing method!). 8. Cook for another 3-5 minutes on the other side. Fold and serve immediately with ketchup or your favorite savory sauce.  

Notes

Make sure your omelet is cooked all the way through before you take it off the heat. Gram flour has an odd bitter taste when raw, which mellows as it cooks. Five minutes on either side should do it. Have fun with this recipe; it's very versatile. You could spice it up with cumin, turmeric, and chili, or create a Spanish tortilla using sliced cooked potatoes and onions. You could even try adding vegetarian "ham" and baking it in a shallow pastry crust to make a quiche.

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    Nutritional Information

    100g gram flour: Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Cholesterol: 0 g Fiber: 10 g Protein: 22 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.