One of the advantages of change is having to re-invent your lifestyle and this can include your diet. Many people might say that I like potatoes because I’m Irish and they might be right, so you can imagine my delight when I come to Spain and I taste Spanish omelet! Not only did it contain my favorite spuds, but it also contained eggs which just took me back to my dear mum’s dinner table and eating boiled eggs and soldiers as a kid. Lovely memories.
I changed to a mostly plant-based diet a few years ago and the first few weeks can be like being in no-man’s land. Think of the confused John Travolta scene taken from Pulp Fiction, where he’s wondering where Uma Thurman is. In my case it was where was all the food gone that I could eat before. I remember I saw a vegan Spanish Omelette in Lidl, I nearly did a Flamenco twirl in the shop. I immediately grabbed it and ran home, threw it in the oven, and made a side-salad while I impatiently waited for it to heat up. I took a bite and oh my oh my oh my, I have to say, it was really bloody good. Impossible to eat in one sitting, I sliced the rest up to eat the next couple of days, whether for lunch, dinner, breakfast, or snack! But I don’t think it got to the next time, every time I passed by the fridge, I’d have a nibble.
But then Lidl stopped supplying it. I was sure they were watching me on camera as I was having a Meditteranean meltdown searching helplessly for it in the fridges. But one day hallelujah, it appeared again. However, I had my suspicions as to why it had so selflessly been taken away from me. Since I had studied to be a Nutrition and Health Coach, one thing you start consciously doing is to read food labels, so I had a look at the back of the package. Well señores y señoritas, the list of ingredients was like the credits of a Star Wars movie! And the newer movies at that. Traditional Spanish is just potatoes, eggs, and salt. Even an egg replacement shouldn’t require 100 obscure ingredients. So, I put it back on the shelf, threw down my castanets in disgust, and abruptly exited the store.
I was convinced to find a recipe that would satisfy my curiosity and my pallet. Eventually, I did. So this recipe is inspired by a great plant-based book that I use frequently. I have also added a bonus recipe of a romesco sauce that goes really well the omelet. So for all chicos out there who love plant-based food and/or would like to dabble in something off-Spanish, here you go.
The batter (Egg replacement):
200g Chickpea flour
1 teaspoon salt (I like to use black salt as it has an eggy smell and taste to it)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1.5 teaspoon dry mustard
1.5 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
Some cooking oil (I prefer to use coconut)
2 large potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced and cut in half.
2 onions sliced into half-moons.
125g of mushrooms (totally optional, but I love mushies)*
2 cloves of garlic.
1 teaspoon of salt.
The bonus Romesco Sauce (Optional…but worth it)
1 jar of roasted peppers
2 tablespoons of toasted almonds
5 cloves of garlic.
65ml extra virgin olive oil
Zest & juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or rice wine, or red or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon salt.
1. Preheat oven to 200oC.
2. Put all the batter mix into a large bowl and whisk well until smooth and then set aside.
3. Heat some oil on a large skillet or frying pan to a low heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
4. Add the potatoes and cook until soft, turning everything occasionally. You want the onions to be caramelized and the potatoes to be almost cooked thoroughly.
5. If you’re using an oven-friendly pan, one which fits your oven, you can then add the batter mix to the skillet or pan. Using a spoon, carefully make sure the mix gets everywhere; under, over, and in between the rest of the cooked ingredients. If you wish to cook it in a cake pan, make sure you grease the pan first, then first transfer the vegetable mix, adding the batter mix afterward again making sure it covers the cooked vegetables completely.
6. Place it in the oven and cook for 45-60 minutes (depending on the oven) until it’s firm to touch on top.
7. Turn off the oven and let it completely cool in the oven before serving. (optional…if you can wait, but I find it’s even tastier)
8. The Romesco sauce is easy, throw all the ingredients into a hand-blender bowl or food processor and mix until smooth. Taste and season if need be. You will have some leftovers, but you can freeze it for the next time.
*if you decide not to add mushrooms, you will probably have some batter over. But no problem, you can easily turn them into flatbreads. Have a look at my Falafel Fridays post and use the method there. They have slightly fewer ingredients, but the cooking procedure is the same.