Fainá: Garbanzo Flatbread

Pizza a caballo
Wallyg/Flickr
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
219 Calories
10g Fat
26g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 135mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Protein 9g
Calcium 52mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fainá is a nutty, peppery flatbread, related to the Italian flatbread farinata, made with garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour. The tradition of making garbanzo flour flatbread was brought to South America by Italian immigrants. It makes a great appetizer, especially with toppings. It's a gluten-free and vegan option to serve with dips or condiments such as chimichurri.

Fainá is often served as an accompaniment to pizza. In fact, topping a slice pizza with a piece of fainá is a very common practice in both Argentina and Uruguay, where fainá is hugely popular. When pizza and fainá are paired this way it's called pizza a caballo (horseback pizza), and you'll see it offered at pizzarias.

Fainá is very quick and easy to make, and you can find garbanzo bean flour at many natural food stores as well as in the section of the store dedicated to gluten-free ingredients. Chickpea flour is also easily found at Indian or Middle Easterns specialty food markets, where it might be called gram flour or besan.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the garbanzo bean flour with the salt, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the Parmesan cheese (if using) and a generous amount of ground black pepper.

  3. Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of water until the mixture is well blended. Set the batter aside for about 30 minutes at room temperature to let the garbanzo flour absorb some of the water.

  4. Preheat the oven to 450 F. When it is hot, place the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a 12-inch pizza pan. Heat the pan in the oven until very hot.

  5. Gradually stir remaining water into the batter mixture until it is thin enough to pour. Remove the hot pizza pan from oven, and immediately pour the batter into the pan. The batter should make a thin layer, about 1/4 inch. Place the pan back in the oven and bake until fainá is golden and crispy about 8 to 10 minutes.

  6. Remove the pan from the oven.

  7. Cut the flatbread into pieces and serve hot.

This recipe uses a 12-inch pizza pan. You can use a smaller pan to make thicker fainá, which will need a slightly longer baking time. Note that you will need the batter to rest at least 30 minutes before you bake it. It can be rested for longer, even overnight.

While in South America this flatbread is served alongside or on top of pizza, it is also delicious to use as the base for pizza toppings. After baking the fainá, top it with cheese, meats, or vegetables and return it to the oven until the cheese has melted.