The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

200 Gourmet and Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

allergy cookbook

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Last month I wrote about a restaurant in Berkeley, CA, called Socca Oven, where all they serve are Soccas. Soccas are Provencal pancakes (savory or sweet) that are traditionally made with chickpea flour (garbanzo flour).

Soccas go back at least to 1860. They are from Southern France, but were most likely an import from Northern Africa, where they eat a lot of chickpeas. In the 19th Century, there were Socca sellers at the markets and at work sites where they provided the favorite morning meal of the workers. The Socca sellers used special wagons with built-in charcoal ovens to keep their wares hot while they announced them with the appropriate cries of Socca! Socca! Socca!

I became interested in Soccas because they are allergen-free, gluten-free, low carb, high protein, and delicious!

I have kept my Socca recipe simple, because I like the rustic flavor. You can top it with olive oil, salt and fresh pepper, or go all out, topping it with things like carmelized onions and grilled rosmary chicken breast. For inspiration go the Socca Oven website at and look at their offerings. It will give you an idea of the kind of fun you can have with soccas.

Socca de Nice

1 1/2 cups cold water
3 tablespoons olive oil*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chickpea flour

Preheat oven to 575 degrees (f)

In a large bowl, whisk together water, olive oil, and salt. Add chickpea flour, a little at a time, whisking in completely. You want this batter smooth! Once you've added all the flour, and whisked it so it has absolutely no lumps, set aside. Preheat an 11 1/2 inch cast iron skillet in the oven, 4-5 minutes. Remove (with an oven mitt or potholder, this baby is HOT!). Put a little olive oil in the pan. Swirl it around. Then, working quickly, add a heaping 1/2 cup of the batter to the pan, swirling it around to fill the pan in an even layer. Put in oven and cook 5-7 minutes, till browned a bit around the edges. Remove from oven. Flip. It should be golden brown on the bottom. Remove to plate, add a little more olive oil to the pan, another 1/2 cup batter and cook, and so on. This recipe makes 4 socca, ie 4 servings. Eat hot. You can cut it into wedges and dip it into olive oil, or drizzle olive oil on top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

* to add herbal flavor, you my heat 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs like rosemary or thyme in the olive oil for 2 minutes over medium heat. Let the olive oil cool before making recipe.

You may also make these on the stove top. I like the texture slightly better in the oven, but the stove top is much quicker. To do so, heat your cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add a little olive oil. Once hot, add batter. Cook about 1 minute, flip, cook 1 minute more. Remove from pan.




  • At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This sounds like an interesting recipe, but I don't think I've ever seen chickpea flour. Where did you find it?

  • At 10:46 AM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    It's available at Whole Foods, and just about every health food store. Bob's Red Mill, a readily available manufacturer of GF flours, makes it. It's also called Garbanzo Flour. Hope that helps!


  • At 3:41 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Angela said…

    Hi Cybele! I was looking on My Yahoo! today & they had an article on milk allergies in infants. Here's the address:

    Enjoy =]

  • At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Angela said…

    It's me again...I realized that the site has a section of articles all on allergies :D Here it is:

  • At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to ask you what you thought of the peanut allergy segment that was on Good Morning America today (was the show it wa on?). About reintruducing peanut flour to children with peanut and tree nut allergies, beginning with very small quantities, in a controlled environment (hospital hooked up to IV).

  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Shannon said…

    I am so glad that adam posted the link to your blog on myspace! I have had several new allergies pop up over the last few years and months including alcohol, meat (which might be more intolerance than allergy), soy, and dairy. Its getting really hard to find anything to eat on a tight budget but I look forward to reading more!

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Hi Cybele,

    I'm looking for a recipe for mayonnaise. I saw one in your book for avocado mayo but my child won't eat things that are creamy and green. Neither one of my kids have ever had potato salad and I'm finding that things I haven't introduced, they never develop a taste for (and decide they hate).

    I tried EnerG and it failed miserably. I guess it's not a good enough emulsifier. Any ideas?


  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Dear Angela:

    Thanks so much for this article on dairy (and soy) allergies. Sounds like my son Lennon.

    Dear Anonymous:

    I didn't see this Good Morning America segment on peanut allergies, but I have to say, I'm not in favor of doing these challenges. That's just my opinion. I feel that you're not going to "just get used to the protein" by introducing it, so what's the point of putting somebody through that challenge? But I didn't see it. Can you tell me what they said? What was the rational?

    Dear Nancy:

    Ener-G would not work to emulsify. It substitutes for eggs when you need them to "rise" but not for other purposes, like mayo, or custards. What are you trying to make? If you tell me what, I can try giving you another non-mayo type condiment (without anything green!)

    Sorry for any delay. My mother--in-law is visiting and we've
    been showing her LA.


  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Hi Cybele,

    I'm making my Mom's potato salad for 20 people for the 4th of July. It's potatoes, celery, green pepper, onion and mayo (pretty standard). I'll probably have to pick out the peppers for Carly's (my 5 year old).

    Thanks for the SID catalogue suggestion. We've been swinging Carly in a sheet and she loves it!



  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    hi Nancy:

    Check out my recipe for American Picnic Potato Salad. You can use a version of the white vinegar, olive oil, dijon, gherkin juice combo, whisk it together, add salt and pepper, and toss with the salad. I don't have another sub for mayo. Unless you can use vegan mayo? Remind me, do you avoid soy?


  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Nancy said…


    The olive oil recipe sounds great but I'm looking for something a little creamier.

    Carly(5) is supposed to be on an elimination diet because she had a huge reaction to something(?) last week that started around her mouth. She's on prednisone. We've based so much of our diet on soy (to avoid dairy and eggs) that I haven't eliminated it totally, although I should...Chelsea(11) has decided she hates the rice milk and won't consume anything with it in it, if she knows...Ugh!

    Since I wrote to you, I found a recipe in my vegan book that includes tofu, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, onion powder and salt. Does that sound like good mayo? Do you have a better recipe? I must admit, my tastebuds are not very sophisticated but some people who are coming to my picnic are.

    What do you think? Thank you for your consideration!


  • At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele: have you ever used rosemary branches from a tall rosemary bush for skewers on the grill? I highly recommend it.

  • At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Socca Oven looks fun. I didn't see any sweet soccas. Can you use these like tortillas? I love making flautas. Would you reduce the salt?

  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Rose said…

    hi cybele! im rose, my poor cousin has an allergy to glutton and this makes it hard to find foods he likes. any ideas?

  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger Rose said…

    hi cybele! im rose and my poor cousin has an allergy to glutton. any ideas?

  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger Rose said…

    hi cybele! im rose and my poor cousin has an allergy to glutton. any ideas?

  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger Rose said…

    wow, it published my comment three times! sorry, it wasnt supposed to! -rose

  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Hi Nancy:

    Have you checked the ingredients list of any of the storebought vegan mayos? Many are made with soy, and might be fine. I used to use vegginaise, tho i can't remember exactly what was in it, but it was yummy. And the recipe you have sounds totally fine. I would probably make it with silken tofu....

    Yes, I've tried rosemary skewers with chicken before, and it was very tasty. But thanks for reminding me about them... it's been a couple years, and I'm sure others will like the suggestion as well.

    The soccas can be used like tortillas. If you want to make a sweet socca recipe, I would reduce the salt considerably, but not altogether.

    Rose, check out the magazine "Living Without". There are so many great recipes in it for people on gluten-free diets. And I'll have a whole bunch of allergen-free gluten-free recipes in the upcoming fall issue, so stay tuned for that.

    all the best,

  • At 11:40 AM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Thank you.


  • At 1:56 PM, Anonymous rose said…

    hey, my aunt loves to cook, i'll hav her check out your recipes since a lot of her kids have allergys! thanx for responding! - rose

  • At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Sarahbeth said…

    Hi Cybele -

    I've done some reading ("Bacteria for Breakfast") that talks about introducing probiotics to avoid allergenic tendencies in newborns. My 2yo has many, many allergies and I'm 7 months pregnant again. I've been doing cod liver oil, probiotic supplements, and Vitamin C - and will continue to do these while I'm nursing. My concern, though, is finding a probiotic that is completely allergy-free - so that I'm not introducing new allergens.

    Does your family use probiotics?

    My son has casein issues, and seems to react even to "dairy free". I wonder if the types we've had are only lactose-free and not casein free. I also want to make sure that anything a newborn gets would have NO highly allergenic ingredients. I want so badly to help Baby #2 avoid allergies.

    I know this isn't a recipe question, but I'm really at a loss - after months of research - and realized today that you *might* know about this. If not, there's no need to respond. =) It's truly above and beyond any call of duty. Your cookbook has been such an amazing resource for our family. Thanks for this great blog!!!

  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This recipe is great. I tried it stove top too with the heated cast iron pan and it works well too. I needed to cook it on both sides - texture was slightly different and just as good. Thanks so much for the recipe. Can't wait to put some toppings on them.

  • At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds like a great recipe. Too bad it contains garbanzo, one of the top food allergens. My 20 month old daughter is will break out in bright red welts if she even touches something with garbanzo or chickpea in it. I was very sad when the hummus that had always been a staple in our home had go away. PS -It is a common cross allergy with latex allergies must be especially careful when trying it for the first time.

  • At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Really interesting blog about fish oil dietary supplement. In a similar vain to fish oil dietary supplement, I've found the richest, purest omega-3 EFP fish oil supplement on the market. My health has improved dramatically - both physical and mental. I've been taking MorEPA now for about 6 months and I cannot emphasize how much this supplement have helped me to cope with anxiety and depression. The supplements can be ordered from ****. I'd also recommend daily exercise.

  • At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You can get chickpea flour at Indian stores and typical grocery that carries Indian food also

  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger ejanet said…

    Soccaovens has closed so I can't find the suggested toppings for Socca. Does anyone have the list?

  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger catsmum said…

    In some parts of the world you will also find the chickpea flour as 'Besan' flour. Best bet is a good Indian grocer.

  • At 1:18 AM, Blogger Talia said…

    This recipe tastes very authentic,but I find halving the chick pea flour really makes a difference- the batter is actually supposed to be quite thin and having followed this recipe before it was a little too thick for my liking. You still get the taste, but the batter is much thinner and more gooey when cooked. would really recommend trying it that way.
    Happy cooking!


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