Years ago, after finishing my degree, a few friends and I went to the beautiful French island of Île de Ré to decompress (a.k.a drink lots of wine). I was vegetarian at the time, and in almost every cafe or restaurant we went to, there was essentially one option for me on the menu; these enormous, delicate yet hearty buckwheat galettes. They would be folded to encase a variety of classically French fillings, and I would order some combination of cheese, eggs and tomato and be thoroughly content.
Perhaps it is because of the lack of holidays this year, or the recent bout of miserable weather, that has prompted me to reminisce about holidays past, and I have been ruminating over the possibility of a veganized version of these crêpes for weeks. In fact, I have a few fond holiday food memories I want to try to recreate and experiment with over the summer, so it will seem almost exactly like I am on holiday without any of the inconvenience of travelling, or seeing friends or having a nice time…
Anyway, the galettes themselves are predominantly made from buckwheat flour, a nutty and slightly sour-tasting flour made from a seed, rather than wheat as the name would suggest. Some recipes use a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour, but I prefer the buckwheat alone; I love the distinctive, savoury flavour and furthermore, it means that your galettes will not only be gluten-free but grain free too – ideal if you’re catering for a variety of dietary requirements.
Traditional galette recipes contain an egg, and some contain a little fat as well, whether milk or butter. A flax egg works well as an egg replacer here, and I suggest using ground flax seeds, water and light oil (e.g. sunflower, vegetable, olive). The oil adds a little more moisture and mimics the fat that you would have in an egg yolk. You could leave out the egg entirely rather than replacing it, though I would still suggest adding a little oil. The galette would still work fine, but I find an egg replacer gives the pancake a bit more body.
I’ve suggested a filling of tofu scramble, cooked with fried red onions and garlic, sweet cherry tomatoes and herbs, but really you could put anything you fancy in it. You could add some vegan sausages and avocado for a mega breakfast/brunch, or sauté some summer vegetables in olive oil, with garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice (e.g courgette, asparagus, broads beans or sugar-snap peas). You could stuff it with roasted vegetable ratatouille, and add some cannellini or butter beans for a substantial dinner. You could pack it with vegan cheese, ham and Dijon mustard for a croque-monsieur inspired french feast. These would all go perfectly with a leafy, zingy, lemon-soaked side salad, and if you make a few extra, galettes are also delicious for dessert, crammed full of fresh summer berries with vegan vanilla ice-cream, and drizzled in melted dark chocolate. Who even needs a lovely summer holiday?
If you give these a go, I’d love to see what filling combo’s you come up with! You can comment below or tag me on Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Vegan Buckwheat Galettes with Tofu Scramble
Light and crispy French buckwheat crêpes, with a red onion, tomato and scrambled tofu filling
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
For the galettes:
- 1 tsp ground flax seed*
- 2 tsp water*
- 1 tsp light oil (vegetable / sunflower / olive)
- 80g buckwheat flour
- 160ml water
- ¼ tsp salt
- oil / vegan butter (I use Naturli Vegan Block) for frying
For the tofu scramble:
- 2 tbsp light oil
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 150g cherry tomatoes
- ¼ tsp black salt / kamal namak (or sub ¼ tsp regular fine salt)
- ¼ tsp tumeric
- 300g silken tofu (you can find this in cartons in the Asian section in most supermarkets)
- small bunch (approx 15g) of soft fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, dill, basil, chives)**
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by making the galette batter. In a small bowl, whisk 1 tsp ground flax seeds (I grind whole flax seeds in a spice grinder), 2 tsp water and 1 tsp oil. Set aside until it becomes gloopy and has a similar consistency to a beaten egg. Measure 80g buckwheat flour, 160ml water and ¼ tsp salt in another bowl, then add the flax mixture and whisk to a smooth batter. Leave to one side while you make the tofu scramble.
- Place a frying pan over a medium-low heat with 2 tbsp oil. Finely slice 1 red onion, length-ways, and fry for 8–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown and caramelize. While the onion is frying, finely chop or crush 2 cloves garlic, quarter the cherry tomatoes, and drain the silken tofu by setting it in a sieve lined with kitchen paper over the sink. Once the onions are starting to brown, add the garlic and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, then add approx. half the cherry tomatoes, ¼ tsp turmeric and ¼ tsp black salt (or regular salt). Cook for a couple of minutes then add the tofu, breaking it up in the pan with your spatula. Turn the heat down to low while you cook the galettes.
- Place a large frying pan, or crêpe pan, over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add a splash of oil or a small knob of vegan butter and use a pastry brush or piece of kitchen roll to spread the fat, so there’s a thin layer covering the entire base of the pan. Add roughly half the batter to the pan, swirling it round until it coats the bottom – if the batter is a little thick you may need to use a spatula to help the batter spread. Cook for 3–4 minutes until the crêpe easily comes away from the pan and is browned on the bottom, then flip and cook for another 2–3 minutes on the other side. Remove to a plate and cover with a clean cloth or tea-towel, add a little more fat to the pan, and repeat with the second galette.
- While the second galette is cooking, roughly chop the fresh herbs and add to the tofu scramble along with the remaining cherry tomatoes. Stir and leave to warm through (you may want to turn up the heat a little if there is excess liquid in the pan), then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile onto the middle of the galettes, then fold four sides of the galettes inwards and serve with a zingy side-salad, and sprinkle with a few extra chopped chives if you wish.
*If you don’t have flax seeds you could also use ground chia seeds, or omit these and the 2 tsp water entirely.
**The herbs can be used in any combination or quantity – they are technically optional but your tofu scramble will taste delicious if you’re able to add a few!