One Big-Size Vegan Chickpea Pancake & Shit’s Getting Real

I’m going to jump right into this comforting and healthy recipe I was turned onto, again in NYC, at Santina’s, which sits right below the Whitney Museum. Santina’s is an award winning Italian Coastal restaurant whose menu highlights vegetable, fish and seafood. One of their signature dishes Cecina (Italian Chickpea pancake) I’m replicating for you today. My mantra is, “If they can do it, so can I.”

Jumbo Chickpea Pancake:

(Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

This dense and filling savoury chickpea pancake is packed with protein and fibre. Feel free to change up the mix-ins and toppings based on what you have in your fridge. To prevent it from sticking to the skillet, be sure to spray the skillet liberally with olive oil before pouring on the batter. Also, I suggest chopping the veggies finely so they cook faster.

Yield; 1 large or 2 smaller

Prep time: 10 Minutes

Cook time: 10 Minutes


  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour or bean)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • For serving: salsa, avocado, hummus, cashew cream (optional)


  • Prepare the vegetables and set aside. Preheat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, baking powder, and optional red pepper flakes.
  • Add the water and whisk well until no clumps remain. I like to whisk it for a good 15 seconds to create lots of air bubbles in the batter.
  • Stir in the chopped vegetables.
  • When the skillet is preheated (a drop of water should sizzle on the pan), spray it liberally with olive oil or other non-stick cooking spray.
  • Pour on all of the batter (if making 1 large pancake) and quickly spread it out all over the pan. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on one side (timing will depend on how hot your pan is), until you can easily slide a pancake flipper/spatula under the pancake and it’s firm enough not to break when flipping. Flip pancake carefully and cook for another 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Be sure to cook for enough time as this pancake takes much longer to cook compared to regular pancakes.
  • Serve on a large plate and top with your desired toppings. Leftovers can be wrapped up and placed in the fridge. Reheat on a skillet until warmed throughout.

The recipe I pilfered from;  ohsheglows.com. Since my trip last December, this delectable, and incredibly easy recipe has become a go-to when I’m looking for something comforting to make for dinner or Sunday brunch.

It’s fun too! 

I cook and bring it, in the hot skillet, right to the table. The key to Cecina is having all of the garnishes prepared, chopped and ready to dig into with your pancake which has been cut in triangles. Like tapas; it’s all about presentation, and intimate eating with your fingers. The first time, I ordered with avocado, tomato & almond pesto. Anni, had the Calabrian spicy tuna tartare; from the kid who wouldn’t eat any food touching other food on the plate; I was impressed.

But first treat yourself

Buy a flat cast iron griddle. We bought our Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Griddle from Amazon for only $14.88! I use this thing at least once a week.

It also makes a perfect gift for the cooks in your family. Also, order from wherever you shop the Anthony’s Chickpea Flour. And you’re all set. The last time I made it, I liberally smeared our Cecina with humus, topped with lightly sauteed swiss chard, a couple rings of white onions, garnished with beets & cilantro. Pretty much what was in the fridge

(Handblown Murano glass chandelier for Santina.)

My good friend Susan, called yesterday 

and told me she appreciated my sharing Ricks’ journey, if you’re just getting on board with this blog be sure to read a previous post, Very French Lentil Soup. Anyway, she said she knows three different men who have prostate cancer right now. And she had absolutely no idea what they were dealing with, or going through. By happenstance, just an hour before her call, I was questioning myself about writing this blog. Susan thanks for the encouragement.

Oh man, last week was one tough (blank word) week.

Our conversation with the surgeon went nothing like we had anticipated. One of the first things out of his mouth, the recent MRI showed a “bulge on the nerve bundle of the prostate. 80% of those are cancerous, meaning the cancer is no longer organ confined” We were stunned. I saw the oxygen leave Rick’s lungs by the way he slumped in his chair.

The only way to get a biopsy of the ‘bulge’ is by surgery, during removal of the prostate. Upon hearing that news, we were thinking surgery was the only remedy. Mistakenly, I thought prostate surgery was a little more involved tonsil operation. HA! In order to get to that pain-in-the-ass prostate, the urethra is cut! The prostate is removed with lymph nodes in the area, and then a catheter is placed up the urethra, until it heals, if you’re lucky, two weeks. I was writing my notes up until this point and sat frozen as the doctor went on and on and on..none of it good. Ending the conversation with telling Rick he needs to get a bone scan ASAP. Tough news to be sure.

Later, still feeling stunned,

We went up to our top deck and watched the stars. And as life so often happens, giving little unexpected gifts when we least expect it; as we gazed up into the vast dark night, a sizable satellite went by. My heart leapt, because what I was seeing cruising by at ninety-miles above us, was the International Space Station (the Holy Grail for stargazers). Rick has the app, SkyView Lite on the ipad, (you have to get it). In a nanosecond, from broken hearted, to heart pounding excitement we witnessed Her orbiting the Earth. We whooped and cheered.

A couple days later,

Rick consulted with an oncologist radiologist. My first question was about the ‘bulge’ and did that mean he was in Stage 3? I asked him if he was reading the same report. He read it to us, and emphasized, ‘suspicious bulge on the nerve bundle.’ I asked, “isn’t surgery the only treatment?” “No” he said, and he didn’t sound too concerned, as he told us about the newest treatment, Direct Beam Radiation and added, “Not to worry, we’ll hit the whole area, nerve bundle and all.” That’s where we are today. Plus the added two month hormone treatment to shrink the prostate before the grueling five-days-a- week, eight week course of radiation. Sh*t’s getting real!

Cooking-for-you-my-love has evolved into- 

Cooking-instead-of-wringing-my-hands-my love. There has been a flurry in the kitchen; zucchini breads, cauliflower pizzas, tons of grains, spectacular Elote, awesome bagel stuffed sandwiches, fresh basil pesto pasta, and one store bought, died and gone to heaven good, Pepperidge Farms Frozen Coconut Cake. Rick almost burst into tears when he saw it.

P.S. He just walked in, and read what I just wrote; and said, “Thanks Susan” 🙂

P.S.S. “Did you say where you are getting all these vegetables?” He asked as he headed upstairs to check where the International Station is right now. Get this, it’s orbiting the Southern Hemisphere, and at this moment she’s going by the Hubble!!

It’s good to be alive!

  1. Man oh’ man, you’re doing all the right things, Rick and Clio. What’s at the end of our fork determines how we live. I d been reading a lot about the word ‘live’ and when I type it on my iPad, the auto spell most always changes it to ‘love’. It happens so often that it made me take a closer glance. Live and love are the same. Your cooking blog is both…
    Instantly when a friend or family is diagnosed with the “c” word, everyone wants to do research and find the cure. So, I delved back into the subject with Rick in mind. Rick, among many things, is a farmer. I look at his landscape, then, as agriculture, what is it about his ‘soil’ that was hospitable to cancer in the first place? His immune system? Diet? Gut? You are doing everything right, Clio! You‘ve ditched the sugars, reduced inflammation, eliminated environmental toxins and improved both gut health (where everything starts). Find the best ‘fertilizer’ for his individual soil.

    Currently, we are hoping to change the systemic racial cruelty of black lives. Cancer, too, is systemic, so look under his hood and locate the imbalance. You’re making the necessary changes and reforming Rick’s future. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    I’ve been following Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the bioscientist who specializes in certain cancers and now Covid. Super interesting. Maybe read up about his research and work. Super interesting and HOPEFUL!

    Here’s what I think….don’t fear the reaper (cancer). Get to understand it, to know it, to anticipate its next move. Create a relationship with it. Once you know it, no more ‘room service’, no more making our bodies hospitable to its existence. It’s not welcome here any longer. And here’s another hope, maybe that bulge isn’t anything bad. Maybe it’s just a bulge. A weird or unusual growth, a fluke. A wart on the nerve. I’m all for conventional medicine and I’m all for a side of functional food and supplements to boot. Keeping treating the soil, baby! Oh! And I love (live) your pancake recipe recipe!!!!! 💋💋💋💋

    1. Laura, Right on sister! The bone scan came back all clear!!! Thank God1 we are high on that good news..I totally agree with you by the way!! Attitude is everything. Anni sent us, The Power of Positive Thinking. Wonderful and spot on!
      love you Laura

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