The Pudla! post

What in the world is pudla? In four words: Savory chickpea flour pancake.  Pudla hails from India.

I stumbled across pudla in one of those internet rabbit holes.  It started as a search for recipes for mixed-nut nut butters, which led me to the Bonzai Aphrodite website/blog.  It felt like the author was a kindred spirit (complete with some postpartum mental health issues), so I clicked around the site, which led me to her recently opened wine bar where they serve pudla.

One look at the recipe, and I knew I had to try it — a simple recipe that comes together in a few minutes, featuring high protein chickpea flour plus fresh veggies — what’s not to love?

We have chickpea flour on hand for making farinata, which shares some characteristics with pudla.  One of the advantages of pudla is that you make it on the stove top, versus needing to use the oven for farinata (more of a factor in the summer heat than in the fall (yay, fall!) and winter).

I used Kittee’s recipe (linked above).


My pudla notes/variations:

  • While the recipe says, “one large filling pancake,” 1/2 cup of chickpea flour is two servings (see nutrition table below).  For my first attempt, I cut the recipe in half and used 1/4 cup (one serving) of chickpea flour.
  • How much water?  The recipe says, “whisk in just enough water to make a thick, pourable batter.”  In my experience, you want a little less water than chickpea flour, so for a half-cup of chickpea flour, start with a little less than 1/2 cup water.
  • Vegetables: I used the full amount of veggies (1 cup) for my half-recipe.  My initial pudla featured red peppers, onion, and cabbage, all from our garden.  In a subsequent version, I swapped Hakuri turnips (a mild, sweet turnip that is tasty eaten raw) for the cabbage.  I’m looking forward to trying a mushroom version (I will probably sauté them first).
  • Salt: I used a scant 1/8 tsp for my half recipe.
  • Oil: I used a mix of peanut and [refined] coconut oils in place of olive oil, which isn’t the best for higher heat cooking.
  • Pan: The recipe doesn’t specify a type of pan.  I was a little bit nervous about the stick risk of using cast iron, but I went for it (using Cat’s tips for making scrambled eggs in cast iron, which I need to share), and it worked fine.
  • To serve: I enjoyed my pudla with some sriracha on top.  I didn’t have avocado, but topping something with avocado never hurts!



After making pudla for myself on Friday, I was eager to share the discovery, so I whipped up another batch for our lunch on Sunday.  G was a huge fan; he polished his off and asked for seconds, but then admitted he was full.  I offered to make more for his afternoon snack, and he happily agreed.  I do so love having a child who is willing to try new foods!

Chickpea flour facts and nutrition

I buy my chickpea flour (also known as besan) at a global food store.  Bob’s Red Mill also makes it, and that may be more generally available (though also more expensive) at regular grocery stores.

Chickpea flour is ground simply finely ground chickpeas, though the nutrient content is a bit different than whole chickpeas.


The big difference is in the fiber.  I don’t know if some of the more fibrous portions are sifted out and removed when making the flour, or what, but we somehow lose a hefty 4g of fiber going from the beans to the flour (though the nutrition facts label on the Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour reports 5g of fiber in 1/4 cup of flour, which is more consistent with the whole bean).  The whole bean also contains a bit more iron compared to the flour.

So that’s pudla!  It will definitely go on our “make regularly” list!

Pumpkin lasagna

Two months ago, I wrote about an amazing pumpkin lasagna that we Matthew made, wherein I promised a recipe “soon,” and left you hanging.  Soon has come and gone, but we recreated the lasagna for our New Year’s Eve meal, making [an almost] vegan version to accommodate my current dairy-free diet.

We originally made an only-slightly-adapted version, using some cashew butter, but retaining the cream and Parmesan cheese.  The recipe here is vegan, except for our homemade noodles, which contain eggs.  Once again, we benefited from having homegrown Swiss chard and squash prepped (from the deep freeze this time), as well as the noodles made up from a previous night.

Happy cooking and eating!

Pumpkin Lasagna
By Matthew
Adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients (makes 8 very generous servings, or 12 smaller portions)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups onions, chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, washed well and chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons sage
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups pumpkin (or any winter squash) puree (or two large cans)
9 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1  cup bread crumb topping (see recipe below)
1/2 cup cashew butter
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup soymilk
1 recipe homemade spelt pasta cut into angel ribbon lasagna (or 9 whole wheat no bake lasagna noodles)

In a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the chard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 Tablespoon sage, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until the chard is wilted and no liquid remains in the pan, 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine the cashew butter and warm water to create a cashew sauce.

Heat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, mix together 6 cups of the pumpkin, amaretti cookie crumbles, cashew sauce (from previous step), and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon, pepper, 1 Tablespoon sage, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.

Pour the soymilk into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top the soymilk with one
third of the noodles, then spread 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture over the noodles. Layer half the Swiss chard over the pumpkin and top with a second layer of noodles. Repeat with another layer of pumpkin, Swiss chard, and noodles.

Spread the remaining pumpkin mixture evenly over the top of the lasagne, and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.  Cover with a cookie sheet on a higher oven rack and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15 minutes more. Let cool, to set up, for 10 minutes before cutting.

Bread crumb topping
I created this topping as a substitute for the Parmesan cheese in the original recipe.  It came out quite well.

2/3 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 c. wheat germ
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/3 c. vegan butter substitute, like Earth Balance

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Use a pastry blender to cut in the Earth Balance, creating a crumbly mixture that you can sprinkle on top of the lasagna.

Easy black bean soup — make it tonight

A pot of perfectly cooked black beans served as the base for this delicious soup.

Lacking a go-to black bean soup recipe, I turned to the internet and found a recipe for TGI Friday’s Black Bean Soup.  I’ve never had the soup at the restaurant (I think I’ve eaten there twice in my life), but this soup is quite tasty!

Here is the recipe with my modifications:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup diced white onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (any color would be fine — this is what we had in the freezer)
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, shopped
  • 6 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to four (15 ounce) cans black beans)
  • 3 cups black bean cooking liquid (could also use veggie broth or water, but I like cooking with my bean juice when possible)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 t. smoked salt*, plus more to taste
  • 1 t. smoked paprika*

*The original recipe calls for liquid smoke.  I had good intentions of purchasing some recently, but balked when I saw the ingredient list, which included unnecessary color additives.  I used smoked salt and smoked paprika to give the soup that same smokey flavor.

In a large pot, saute the veggies in the oil.  Puree half of the black beans (3 cups, or slightly more for a thicker soup) with the liquid (bean juice, broth or water).  Combine all ingredients in the pot with the sauteed veggies.  Simmer 30-60 minutes (depending on how thick you want it or how impatient you are to eat).

We garnished our soup with chopped green onions and frozen corn.  Shredded cheese or sour cream would also make good toppings.

Quinoa-stuffed acorn squash

Do you have quinoa cooked up?  If not, cook some quinoa.

Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Place cut-side down in a baking dish with a few tablespoons of water.  Bake at 350-400 degrees F (temperature is flexible and can be set to accommodate other things you’re baking at the same time) until the squash is tender (20-30 minutes?).

After the squash is in the oven, chop some onions, garlic, and bell peppers (you can toss in almost any veggie you like here).  Saute in olive oil, then remove from heat and stir in the cooked quinoa.  Add dried fruit — I used golden raisins, but cranberries would be good.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When squash is tender, turn them over and fill the squash “bowls” with the quinoa mixture.  Top with toasted almonds and bake for 5-10 more minutes.

No cook couscous

I’m melting!  Or at least wilting — I do not like this heat one bit!  With almost a month until summer officially starts, we broke down and turned on the A/C before bed two nights ago (not green, but the reality of living in a brick oven).   GRRR!

Mixed greens with radishes, sugar snap peas, garbanzo beans, onions, cucumbers, homemade vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds

With all this heat, ’tis the season for low- or no-cook meals.  Great big garden-fresh salads rounded out with a side of no cook couscous.  Couscous is technically a pasta, wheat-based and cut into tiny pieces.  Because the pieces are so small, you can “cook” couscous by simply adding the appropriate amount of water and waiting for it to absorb.  The golden ratio for couscous is 1 cup of grain to 1 1/2 cups of water.  I prepared a single serving: 1/4 cup dry grain + 3/8 cup water.  The couscous absorbed the water in about 15 minutes.  When the water was absorbed, I simply added a bit of olive oil and salt — one side of couscous, ready to go!


  • Look for whole wheat couscous in bulk bins.
  • Couscous tastes great simply prepared, as suggested above.  Try adding chopped fresh herbs (parsley comes to mind) to spice it up a bit.
  • Couscous also works well as a grain base for vegetable stir fries.
  • I would never prepare a single serving of a grain that requires boiling (as most do), because it is much more efficient to cook multiple portions at once.  However, with the no-cook method, it doesn’t really matter, since it requires no energy.