recipe by nena foster
First guest post on Earth and Spoon and it’s by the wonderful Nena Foster, who also happens to be a friend and my neighbour(-ish)! Lucky for me, she makes yummy food all the time and I’ve had the privilege of eating A LOT of it heh.
As much as I’d like to dive straight into these roast squash & cavolo nero socca pizzas (both figuratively and literally), I thought I’d introduce you all to Nena a little better.
We first met when both our firstborns went to preschool. She invited a bunch of us preschool mamas over for some tea and cake while she had a newborn (my son Raphy was also a newborn at the time but you know, I was just trying to wear anything other than my PJs like any normal mum with a newborn).
This is the point I am trying to make, Nena is not normal. She is a machine (in a good way).
I instantly saw her strong work ethic spill into everything she does…including her food. (She baked us a vegan chocolate cake that day and it was AH-mazing).
Nena is a natural chef from the College of Naturopathic Medicine and has worked with some of the biggest names in the wellness industry in the UK. She also runs fermentation classes and healthy baking classes in London, with her main area of expertise being plant-based foods.
So I just had to ask her to share one of her recipes with us coz we all need more plant power in our lives right?? (Feel free to check her out on her website here).
But don’t just take my word for it. You NEED to try this roast squash and cavolo nero socca pizzas recipe. Pronto.
They’re just too good and super easy to make! (By the way if you’re looking for more plant-based recipes on the blog you should check out these Middle Eastern stuffed bell peppers, they’re REALLY good.)
In fact, I got Nena to talk a little bit about the socca pizzas recipe below, so here goes! Let me know below if you wanna give it a try or when you’ve actually made it!
Socca pizzas are a quick, and versatile meal. They have the added bonus of being high in protein and calcium thanks to the chickpea flour, which is also gluten free. You can add herbs and spices to flavour the bases and adding ground seeds helps to enhance the flavour and crisp of the bases as well as helping to complete the protein profile.
You can top these with anything you like which make these great for any meal! Here we use some lovely seasonal veg, but you can also lighten these up in warmer months with fresh veg or make them into more of a traditional pizza with tomato sauce.
250g (2 cups) chickpea flour
400 ml (14 oz) water
1 tbsp olive oil
A few pinches of salt
50g (1/3 cup) pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
1-2 tsp chopped fresh or dried herbs
400g (2 + 1/3 cups) butternut squash, sliced and roasted
4 garlic cloves, whole in skin
A few glugs of olive oil for frying
150g (4 cups) cavolo nero, torn and stalks removed (or any other hearty leafy green)
Zest of 1 lemon
A few pinches of dried chilli flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C (fan). Line a baking tray with parchment.
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the bases and set aside. Allow this to sit while you prepare the toppings.
3. In a roasting tray, add the squash and garlic, drizzle over olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes until soft.
4. While the squash is baking, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and ladle in the socca batter, be sure to spread it evenly around the pan. Allow this to cook for 3-5 minutes before flipping.
5. Once the bases have been made cover and keep warm.
6. Finally, pan fry the cavolo nero with a bit of olive oil, and splash of water. Season with salt, pepper and lemon zest.
7. To assemble the pizzas, mash some of the squash and garlic (squeeze it out of the skins) and spread this over the base. Top with the cavolo nero and a few pinches of chilli, if you wish. Finish with a drizzle of oil.
Chickpeas - are a great source of fibre, which helps control blood sugar levels. They are also an excellent source of manganese and folate (Vitamin B6). Chickpeas are also a good source of plant based protein.
Butternut Squash - just one serving of this veggie (although its technically a fruit) contains more than 457% of your RDA of Vitamin A and over 50% of Vitamin C. As if that weren’t enough, butternut squash is also packed with antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
Cavolo Nero - also known as black cabbage or Tuscan kale, this green leafy veg has over 680% of your RDA for Vitamin K, over 200% RDA of Vitamin A and over 130% RDA of Vitamin C, it is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Pumpkin Seeds - a rich source of magnesium (important for energy levels, heart health and bone health) , zinc (important for your immune system) and plant-based omega 3 fatty acids.
Olive Oil - best taken as extra virgin, this oil is key for heart and brain health.
Sea Salt - helps to balance body fluids and restores electrolytes. It is also a rich source of trace minerals.