Socca pizza was something of a revelation to me. Not only is it a completely gluten-free dough, but it is also really quick and simple to make. Not at all like making traditional pizza dough that requires hours of kneading.
Now I’m not going to lie to you and say that this is just like eating pizza because it ain’t. It is its own very special and tasty dish that is just similar to pizza, in that it is made up of a round pizza-shaped base which is then topped with ingredients like tomato sauce and vegan cheese. Although, the toppings are very flexible.
The socca pizza dough can be knocked up in a few minutes using just 5 ingredients and it cooks in under 10 minutes. Providing you with a simple but effective pizza-esque base that is nutritious, grain-free and entirely vegan.
Read on to find out more about the history of socca, its nutritional benefits, and some top tips on making the tastiest vegan socca pizza. Alternatively, head straight to the recipe here.
What is socca?
Socca is a traditional dish that is thought to have originated in the south of France, particularly in the region of Nice. Although, some do say it originated in Italy. It is a type of flatbread or pancake made from a simple batter consisting of gram flour (also known as chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour) and water, along with some seasoning. The batter is then cooked on a hot griddle or in the oven until it forms a crispy exterior while remaining tender on the inside.
Gluten-free pizza heaven
Typically socca is eaten as a street food snack but has more recently gained recognition in both the gluten-free and vegan communities as it makes for the perfect pizza base. It has a unique texture and nutty flavour that sets it apart from wheat-based pizza dough.
I personally really enjoy eating this as it is much lighter on the stomach and can be made with other healthy plant-based ingredients to create a much more nutritious version of a pizza. On top of this, it is naturally gluten-free. So anyone like myself who struggles to tolerate lots of wheat will really enjoy this recipe!
Socca dough ingredients
Much like a traditional wheat-based pizza dough, the ingredients are really simple. But what truly sets this dough apart is how quick it is to make. Simply mix together the following ingredients, et voilà, you have a batter to make your own pizza!
The most vital ingredient in this recipe, gram flour is what binds the liquid together to form a batter that you use to create a pizza base. It is a highly nutritious ingredient that is incredibly versatile. In order to make this socca pizza, you will need to use gram flour. If you can’t eat chickpeas then you may choose to opt for a more traditional pizza base instead.
The gram flour has a slightly nutty bean-like flavour to it, which you can opt to disguise with your own choice of flavourings.
In order to create the dough/batter, you will need to mix the gram flour with a liquid. I opt for water in this recipe since it helps create a nice consistency without the need for extra calories. However, you can choose to add some plant-based milk if you want to add a more luxurious creamy element to the dish.
Whilst the other two ingredients are completely necessary, the flavouring is where you can get creative. The flavouring of the batter is entirely up to you! I personally like to add some dried herbs to the mix, but you could also add some spices like paprika or chilli pepper. But this may end up affecting the colour of the pizza base.
Just like traditional pizza, there are many different toppings you can use. If you like to keep things simple you can try out using a tomato sauce base with a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella. Alternatively, you can try out the topping I have suggested in my socca pizza recipe below. I have cooked some young jackfruit, which can be used quite effectively as a vegan meat substitute, with rose harissa. This light spicing of the harissa compliments the nutty flavour of the socca pizza base well.
Ultimately, once you’ve realised how quick and easy it is to whip up the socca pizza dough you’ll be wanting to eat this on the regular. So you can keep experimenting with your own topping ideas. Here are a few variations I would recommend:
- Vegan mozzarella pizza topped with fresh basil
- Vegan meat feast covered in vegan sausage, vegan mince, vegan bacon, and a sprinkling of your favourite vegan cheese
- Roasted vegetables with pesto
- Vegan pizza bianca using a vegan cream sauce, like this silken tofu sauce, topped with a variety of mushrooms
How to make socca pizza
Making socca pizza is really quick and simple. Follow these steps to create gluten-free vegan pizza heaven in your kitchen in no time at all!
1. Make the socca pizza dough
Simply whisk together the gram flour with some water and your flavourings of choice. Make sure to season the batter well and then set it aside whilst you make your toppings.
2. Create the toppings
Before cooking the pizza dough you will want to prepare your toppings so they are ready to add to the cooked dough. If you are using my topping idea then you will need to fry onion and garlic with young jackfruit before adding in the flavourings and cooking them down to create a thickened sauce.
Set aside your cooked toppings to cool as you move on to the next stage. Also, make sure to have any fresh ingredients to hand so they are easy to access when cooking the socca.
3. Cook the pizza dough
Socca pizza dough is cooked in a frying pan, but I also like to get a grill ready to cook off the toppings when they have been placed onto the cooked dough.
So, start by adding your socca batter to the frying pan and swirl it around to the edges. It is much like cooking a crepe but you’ll want this batter to be quite a bit thicker and for it to cook longer on one side in the pan.
You can flip the socca to cook the other side in the frying pan, but to avoid any breakages I prefer to slide the socca onto a lined baking tray and slide this under the grill to cook the top side.
4. Add your toppings
Once the top of the socca is cooked you can add your toppings on. Make sure to spread the toppings across evenly before putting the socca pizza back under the grill. Allow your toppings to heat up, and if you are using vegan cheese, give it time to melt.
Add any fresh herbs or sauces like pesto after removing the socca pizza from under the grill, ready to serve and eat. Make sure to serve your socca pizza straight away as it is best enjoyed when hot and freshly cooked. The dough can harden over time, making it less enjoyable to eat!
Vegan socca pizza
Socca Pizza Topping
- Turn on your oven grill and put some foil on to a baking tray
- Gradually whisk together the socca pizza base ingredients until smooth and let it sit whilst you make the topping (I sometimes like to leave my mix for a few hours to create a frothier batter and a nicer texture)
- Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan
- Fry off the onions until soft
- Add garlic and fry for a further 5 mins
- Add in the jackfruit and cook for 1 minute
- Dollop in the harrisa, almond butter, passata and capers, and stir until fully incorporated
- Add in the stock and bring to the boil
- Cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionaly, until it turns into a gloopy sauce
- Heat up splash of oil in a large frying pan
- Pour in all the socca mix, swirl around the pan until it reaches the edges (just like a pancake)
- Fry the base until the underneath starts to brown and bubbles form on the top
- Slide the socca mix onto the baking tray and cook the top of it under the grill
- Once browned on top, add your topping and put the whole pizza back under the grill until the topping reheats and the pizza is golden
- Take out from the oven and add any of your optional extra toppings