We love pancakes, crêpes and waffles and we have lots of recipes for them here at REAL. Recently after interviewing Chef Ramses Bravo about his cookbook Bravo Express, I learned that crêpes can be made with just lentils and water. We make crêpes from raw Buckwheat and water, as well as with Garbanzo Bean flour and water. But lentils? This I had to try.
Ramses Bravo’s recipe consists of soaking red or yellow split lentils for one hour, rinsing them and then blending them with 2 cups of liquid. That’s it! That’s the batter. For savory crêpes, he uses vegetable broth and herbs, onions, garlic and shallots blended together. For sweet crêpes, he adds medjool dates and two teaspoons vanilla extract plus a little cinnamon or nutmeg.
When I first tried his recipe, I used green lentils. That was all I had! But the results were great. Once I had the red lentils I made them again. This time, I soaked the lentils overnight. I wanted to break down the lectins a bit more with soaking, to make the resulting crêpes easier to digest. The result was good, but the batter was fussy to work work, a bit too thin. I realized my soaked lentils absorbed more water and I needed to adjust the recipe to accommodate for that. Using 1 1/2 cups of liquid instead of 2 cups solves the problem.
I use the recipe to make waffles as well. Waffles are easier to make, just blend, pour and cook. Crêpes require a bit more finesse which I will get into in this post.
1 cup yellow or red lentils
1 1/2 – 2 cups water (or vegetable brother for savory crêpes)
Oil for greasing the pan (we use organic canola)
Additional ingredients maybe added to the batter as desired:
For Sweet Crepes
2 medjool dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Savory Crepes
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (basil, thyme), chopped
1 tablespoon chopped shallot, chives, scallion or onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Soak lentils for 1 hour to overnight.
For crepes, prepare a cast iron griddle, crêpe pan or non stick fry pan. We use organic canola oil to lightly grease a cast iron griddle. Heat the pan on medium. The pan must be heated evenly before cooking batter.
For waffles, preheat the waffle iron and lightly grease if required.
Rinse lentils and place in blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of water or vegetable broth if lentils have been soaked for 8 hours or more. Two cups are necessary if lentils are soaked for only one hour. Add desired flavorings. Blend everything together until smooth.
Pour enough batter to fill the waffle iron. We have a Belgian Waffle maker and it uses about 1/2 cup of batter for each waffle.
Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from iron and serve.
We top our waffles with things like mashed Bananas, Apricot Butter, Date Paste, Peanut or Almond Butter, or Fresh Berries.
Crêpes may be small or large, depending on the size of the griddle or pan you are using. If you are new to making crêpes, I recommend keeping them small at first, about 4 to 6 inches in diameter. They will be easier to handle. I use about 1/3 cup of batter to make a 7-inch wide crêpe.
Pour the batter slowly on the hot griddle. I use the back of the ladle to gently spread the batter out, starting in the center and lightly circling out. If the pan is too hot, or the batter too thin, it may lift up and off the pan during this process. Don’t panic! You can add a little more batter to the holes and lower the temperature a little.
It’s important to use a very thin spatula to carefully lift the crêpe up before flipping.
The crêpe must cook sufficiently before flipping.
Gently reach underneath to lift all around the edge and then go in towards the center. If the crêpe is not cooked enough it will resist. Give it a bit more time. Also make sure the heat is centered under the pan. If not, one side of the crêpe will cook and firm up and the other side will remain as soft batter. Once flipped, the crêpe can cook another minute.
Continue this process until all the batter is used up. Depending on the type or griddle or pan you are using, you may need to grease it lightly before adding more batter.
Sweet crêpes can be filled with fresh fruit, jam, vegan yogurt, nut or seed butters or topped with syrup. Savory crêpes can be filled with Ratatouille, sautéed Vegetables, Beans, Guacamole. Use your imagination!