Eating Greeneville

Farming, bartering and foraging for meals in East Tennessee.

Margherita Farinata Bread (not Gluten Free Pizza)

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Farinata (also knows at Cecina in Italy and Socca in France) is an unleavened bread very simply made of chickpea flour and water.   People have been eating Farinata WAY before everything that doesn’t contain wheat was dubbed holy and labeled “gluten-free”.  And it is upon principle that I refuse to call this “gluten-free pizza” which it actually kinda is.  Not eating wheat for every meal doesn’t have to have a label and a special diet and make you feel special.  It’s the way a lot of people have been eating for many many centuries.  It’s called moderation.  I love a good wood-fired sourdough pizza crust bubbling away with little black bubbles all around the outside, but sometimes I like the deep dish feel and nutty flavor of farinata as a pizza crust.

This bread is so easy to make, once you learn this recipe you will find yourself turning to it when you are in a pinch for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  If you live in Greeneville and don’t know where to get Garbanzo Flour, Mountain View Foods is your best bet.

Margherita Farinata Bread

12 inch cast iron skillet

2 cups garbanzo bean flour

2 cups water


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced small

1 sprig rosemary, minced

1 ball fresh mozzarella

2 large heirloom tomatoes

12 fresh basil leaves

olive oil to drizzle over top

In a medium mixing bowl combine garbanzo flour and water.  Let sit for at least a 1/2 hour and up to 7 hours ( you can leave it all day or overnight if you want it to ferment slightly and have a sourdough type flavor).

While the flour and water are sitting heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and caramelize the diced onion.  When you are ready to bake the farinata, mix the onion, minced rosemary and a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of salt into the dough.


Heat your oven to 450 degrees with your 12 inch cast iron skillet inside.

Meanwhile, prep your pizza ingredients.  Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes and tear the basil leaves off the stems and wash them if need be.  When the cast iron is good and hot, carefully remove it from the oven, place a dollop of olive oil in it and swirl it around, pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven.

In about 7 to ten minutes when the bread is just firm, remove it from the oven and add the margherita toppings.  Drizzle a little olive oil and salt over the top and place in the oven.  Back for another 5 – 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted.


You are ready to slice and serve.  I like to sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over top before serving.  It’s like a nutty deep dish Sicilian slice.  ANYTHING can go on this bread.  It’s great under a curry lentil dish, eggs and sausage for breakfast, mariniara, feta and pesto you can even add a little sugar instead of salt and spread some jam on it for a breakfast treat, smothered with caramelized onions and gravy…anything goes here folks.

Also, the proportions are always the same amount of flour and water so if you would like a thinner bread, cut a half cup or whole cup off the recipe (you can adjust for different sized pans too).  It is traditionally served thinner as an appetizer bread in France and Italy.



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