Almond and Chickpea Bread with Dried Fruit

by Gena on January 5, 2012

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This recipe has a long back story.

Last week, one of my readers wrote in to ask if I had any recipes for muffins made with coconut flour. She’s a diabetic, and coconut flour is one of the more low-glycemic flours on the market. I didn’t have that, but what I did have was some almond meal, which I had bought the last time I was staying at my mother’s in the hopes that I could mush it with some water or juice to create nut pate without my food processor. That was an epic fail, but I did end up with some almond meal on my hands, and almond meal is a very delicious ingredient for quickbreads and muffins. It is versatile enough that it can be used on it’s own for a “grain-free” baked good, but I usually mix it with one of my favorite flours.

This time around, I decided to mix it with chickpea flour. Chickpea flour can be a difficult ingredient; it can taste bitter, and it can also get very “pasty.” That said, I’ve had a lot of recent success with chickpea flour in cooking–namely, my Christmas tart with beets, greens, and roast potatoes. So I’m very partial to it, though I realize that it’s a bit of a foreign taste to many eaters.

I thought I had a perfect recipe for my reader on my hands. And then I thought it would be all the more perfect if I added some dried fruit (raisins and apricots). Of course, no sooner had I done this that I realized that in making the bread all the more delicious, I had also made it fairly diabetic-unfriendly. So, to Karen, the reader who originally asked me for a coconut flour recipe, I send a very sheepish apology: I did intend to give you what you had asked me for, I promise! And I also promise that I will soon provide you with precisely the muffin recipe you want.

Until then, my readers who can and do eat dried fruits can enjoy this breakfast bread, while my readers who limit sugar intake can omit the fruit (and perhaps even replace it with a grated vegetable, like carrot or zucchini). All of my readers can enjoy the fact that this bread is unusually rich in protein, thanks to the combination of chickpea and almond flour (each provides 6 grams of protein per serving). It takes most of its sweetness from dried fruit, so it’s not overly high in processed sugars. And it’s gently spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.

It’s also worth pointing out that all of the fat in this recipe is from the almond flour. So while it is not a low fat baked good (almond flour has a fair bit of fat in it), the fat is not oil-derived, which is nice news for readers who are taking measures to avoid oil. And the bread is dense, but it is remarkably moist, which I love.

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Almond and Chickpea Breakfast Bread with Dried Fruits (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves about 10-12

1 3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg)
1/2 cup seedless organic raisins
1/2 cup chopped organic dried apricots
4 tbsp flax meal
1/2 cup warm water
3-4 tbsp agave or maple syrup
3/4 cup applesauce

1) Mix the flax meal with the warm water and set aside to “gel.”

2) Place flours, spice, and dried fruit in a large mixing bowl.

3) Whisk together the agave, flax mixture, and applesauce. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ones.

4) Bake in an oven set to 350-375 degrees (this will vary depending on how “hot” your oven runs, but I used 375 because my mother’s oven is not very hot) for about 60-75 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 20 minutes to prevent burning. Check with a toothpick or fork to be sure it’s done; almond meal baked goods can cook very slowly, so you may need to add time.

For a bread recipe that contains no conventional flour, I found the texture to be very impressive:

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As a cautionary cook’s note, I should tell you that my mother, who is the resident CR recipe tester right now, didn’t care for this bread. She thought it was too dense, and slightly bitter (probably the chickpea flour!). If you’re serving it to a family member with more mainstream tastes, I would suggest using regular flour in place of the chickpea, to make it more accessible. I suspect that all healthy foodies will like it the way it is. I sure do!

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I thought I’d also share that a funny thing happened last week: I used up the second of two stevia packets I’d brought to NYC with me in my backpack (I tend to carry it around for sweetening tea on campus). Since my mother has no stevia, I haven’t been using any; I’ve just been using small amounts of agave or maple syrup (which, as you all know, I sometimes use anyway) instead. I don’t tend to use a ton of stevia in my drinks or food, but I have realized this week that I do tend to use it to sweeten things that don’t really need sweetening: I’ll put a few drops in chia pudding, for example, or oats, when the fact of the matter is that I always eat these dishes with fruit, anyway. Or I’ll put it in a tea that would taste lovely on its own.

I think stevia is a fantastic sweetener, and I’ll always buy it, but I’m definitely going to stay in the habit of not using it when I don’t really need it. It reminds me to appreciate the natural sweetness of the foods I eat, and it’ll also save me some crucial dollars!

What have you recently realized you tend to use unnecessarily when you cook? I’d love to know.

Time for yet another busy day of friends and NYC to wrap up. See you back here tomorrow!

xo

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I agree; the texture looks great! Impressive. I have both almond and chickpea flours hanging out in my fridge so I definitely need to try this.

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Hannah January 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Gena – I love that wooden paddle thing the bread is on! So folksy and cute :)

How much protein would be in one serving (I’m assuming it’s about a 1″ slice)?

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Anonymous January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Seriously? I thought this was called “choosingraw.com”

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medstudent January 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Right, choosingraw.com, not exclusivelychoosingraw.com. :) Gena has always explained that this blog is about choosing to eat raw food more often, not exclusively raw foods. She is mostly a big advocate of vegan and unprocessed food, which this clearly is.

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elizabeth January 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I’m not much of a baker, but almond meal is something I always have around so I was actually planning one day to make something other than raw chocolate truffles or pancakes. I’d actually bookmarked this recipe – http://www.roostblog.com/roost/harvest-cake-with-vanilla-cream.html – which I think could easily be veganized – and was wondering if the almond flour called for in the recipe is in actual fact almond meal (you know, nut milk pulp) and if not, if I could substitute the pulp. I eat so much hummus that I probably would NOT bother with chickpea flour, despite the nutritional advantage. I think BabyCakes uses a lava bean flour – I wonder if it’s milder (i.e. less bitter) than the garbanzo bean flour.

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elizabeth January 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm

fava bean not lava bean!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Gena this recipe looks awesome! Almond meal, chickpea flour, coconut flour…all of those flours can be tricky to work with at times…dry or bitter or just..meh. But you have succeeded in making a delish looking bread that looks moist and oh, so, flavorful! Wow….:)

The dried fruit in it looks perfect. I love raisins and apricots.

Yum. Love it when you bake. Do it more, please!

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Sophie January 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Hey Gena! Thanks for your recipe for the Almond-and-Chickpea-Bread – It’s exactly what I’m in the mood for. My husband and girls just left the house and I decided to stay home and bake! I did make a few subs to fit my diet: I left out the dried fruit and added 1 small grated zucchini, I used brown rice flour instead of chickpea (although I love that too), I used ground chia seeds instead of flax (personal pref) and I used Coconut Nectar instead of agave or maple syrup. It’s in the oven now and I’m so excited to try it! Thank you so much for working so hard for us all – you make it look easy but I know it takes alot more energy than we probably even know. I’m glad you do what you do. Happy New Year – I love seeing what’s around every corner of your blog. :)

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Hoshigaki January 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

“What have you recently realized you tend to use unnecessarily when you cook?”

I know it’s going to sound weird but: fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

I used to always put it on raw salads along with whatever dressing or moisturizer (forgive) be it avocado or nut butter or fruit or whatever.
Making salads for work lately has brought to light L-juice’s incompatibility with some of my salad fixings. Tamari and lemon juice is a potent cocktail. Salad impairer!

L-juice is definitely an acid to be balanced. And since I’m not an oily dressing fan, I’m going to restrain my lemon juice habit and stick with my latest tried and true store-bought favorite or at least properly balance L.j. with fat (meaning, emulsifying the two before application- avocado, flaxoil)… or maybe try out some CR recipes…

hmmm…
bread looks good.

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Grace January 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

This looks great! I’ve been hoping to find a “bread” recipe that wasn’t as carb-filled as regular wheat bread.
Any suggestions for replacing the almond meal, for people with nut allergies? I’d assume you could use any other kind of flour, but it wouldn’t be as full of proteins and good fats.
Thanks!

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Diana January 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm

YUM! This looks super tasty. And I love how it’s high in protein without being stuffed with protein powder. I’ve always wanted to try baking with chickpea flour but I’m a little scared to give it a go. I don’t know why…I love using unusual flours in general. lol.

Anywho, I don’t think I use anything unnecessarily, but I have started appreciating using less sugar in things over the last couple years. For example, I don’t add it as much (or at all) in tea and I almost never add it to oatmeal. I usually try to sweeten my oats with fruit (especially dates!), but sometimes I’ll try to use more natural sweeteners like maple syrup. I’ve also been experimenting with baking desserts with less sugar, which has been fun. :)

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Christina January 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I don’t normally like fruit in bread but this looks absolutely amazing! I need to star this recipe for a weekend dish ;)

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Ali Seiter January 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Chickpea and almond flours are two of my favorite baking staples, plus I ADORE dried apricots, so this bread is right up my alley. I’m really looking forward to that coconut flour recipe you promised since I just picked up a box and am eager to experiment. Can’t wait!

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm

As I am already borderline addicted to dry fruit, this sounds delightful. I have recently been experimenting with wheat free baked goods, and find that almond-chickpea flour is a great combination for quickbreads and cookies, and the combination is enhanced with a bit of cornstarch to replicate the binding properties of gluten. Nobody can tell that what I make is wheat free.

(Of course, making it chock full of high quality bittersweet chocolate probably helps)

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Heather @ For the Love of Kale January 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Oh my heavens. This looks divine! I love how you mixed chickpea and almond flours together.

I have been making my meals with Trader Joe’s soyaki sauce lately and I’ve consistently been adding too much. It’s delicious but..as I have to remind myself
..in smaller amounts!

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Mama Pea January 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I have to bake for my manuscript tomorrow but I REALLY want to make your bread :)

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McKella January 6, 2012 at 12:13 am

I have a cookbook called “Cooking with Coconut Flour”, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve only tried one of the muffin recipes, and it turned out very good. It does rely heavily on eggs for leavening though, so if your reader is vegan that wouldn’t work out. If that’s not an issue though, I’d definitely recommend that book.
I don’t know if I use too much of anything when I cook, but I do tend to get a little reckless with garlic Real Salt sometimes. It’s just so dang good!

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Ela January 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

I think I would _love_ this, although I confess I don’t tend to have almond meal around, I’m afraid of its omega 6 fats, but on the other hand I guess it wouldn’t be good for pate because of the lack of oils, so silly me I guess.
Phil wouldn’t like it because of the garbanzo taste, but I was just thinking I haven’t baked in ages, and this might be the spur to do so again.
Stevia–I tend to always think “oh, I don’t really need it in there,” but lately have been telling myself it’s ok to have some, so kind of the reverse of your story!
love
Ela

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Ali January 6, 2012 at 12:42 am

Haha, My Baby Sister just walked by the computer, saw the title of this bread and said “CHICKPEAS! I LOVE chickpeas, yuuuummmmm.” Hahaha. I think this looks yummy. My mom doesn’t love everything I make either, it is true that many of us have different tastes! Your point about the steiva use is very true, I tend to abuse it a little myself, same with vanilla!

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shannon January 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

I love chickpea flour–I like making socca. I haven’t noticed bitterness then, though I have in gluten-free baked goods; I wonder what makes bean flours taste bitter when baked?

Two things I’ve noticed I use unnecessarily:

1. I pour too much oil into soups or salad dressings, partly because of the awkwardness of pouring from a wine-bottle sized container. So I try to remember to use a cruet.

2. Bananas in smoothies. This is, for me, just sheer laziness, since I can just add some protein powder and water and call it a meal. Since I’m not allowing myself to default to that anymore, I’m experimenting with a lot of raw soups–and actually putting my vitamix to good use :)

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Lou January 6, 2012 at 4:15 am

I have always had a thing for adding too much salt – but I’ve recently discovered it wasn’t the salt I was craving, but VINEGAR (the tang I suppose) Interesting as I suffer from low stomach acid, so maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me to consume more. Bring on the apple cider vinegar I say!

I would totally love this loaf – I happen to really like chickpea flour too so I will definitely be making this one.

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Alexia @ NamasteYoga January 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

this is a great recipe, i love how you used almond meal in it. in austria, we actually use A LOT of almond meal for baking, especially in xmas cookies. i recently found a bag of TOASTED almond meal in a health shop in vienna, oh that is something goooooood!

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Sara January 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

Can’t wait to try this bread, Gena! One thing I’m trying to do more of this year is experimentation in the kitchen when baking, rather than always relying on recipes. There are so many good recipes, but I’d love to create my own. I’ve read about general baking ratios for non-vegan quick breads (flour: liquids: eggs: fat), but was wondering if there’s a general vegan ratio you follow when designing your own quick breads or muffins? It would be nice to know if there’s a vegan equivalent of the ratios I mentioned above so that I can start a recipe with that, and then let my creativity take over in terms of add-ins and spices.

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bitt January 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

there is a book called “joy of vegan baking” that might help you get started.

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thehealthyapron January 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Mmm this bread looks tasty!

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Marissa January 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

This bread looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it!

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the delicate place January 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

this looks tasty! i have a love/hate relationship with coconut flour. it’s either too moist from all the other things i add to prevent it from being too dry OR it gets too crumbly and tastes like sand. i definitely haven’t perfected that. i love reading elana’s pantry bc she primarily uses almond flour in her recipes. i’d like to make a savory version of this with herbes de provence mmm!

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bitt January 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

ok, second time posting. it’s rejecting my comments again…grrr…

I have had some trouble with coconut flour but I am going to try to use it raw, less surprises then. Chickpea flour can be bitter when raw, so don’t judge it from the batter (to the other folks who mentioned this). A lot of the healthier GF recipe bloggers always add like 16 eggs to their recipes with almond flour so I appreciate that yours is vegan already. I don’t trust swaping out substitutes when the recipe calls for more than 2 eggs, not sure it will work. I just can’t waste ingredients at this point.

Excited for the coconut flour diabetic muffin! I have someone to pass it on to.

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl January 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

This looks really good and hopefully when I find some time I can whip up a batch! Chickpea flour can sometimes not agree with my stomach, but often times when I mix it with other subtle flours it’s fine. I love the nutrition of chickpea flour, however.

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Caleb January 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hey Gena, this looks great. I’m wondering if you soak and peal the skins off the chickpeas before making the flower, though? I did this once before to make a pizza crust, and while it was pretty good, it took FOREVER. I think it takes away the bitterness, though.

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Christine (The Raw Project) January 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Yum, this recipe looks fantastic! I’ve never baked with almond meal, but would love to start with this!

I use stevia drops a lot in smoothies when it may not need sweetening with fruit already it in.

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JohnP January 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I made this today, and it is really good, super tasty! I don’t notice any significant bitterness or off-flavor, but then I use chickpea flour a lot. I had less almond flour than I thought I did, so I substituted 1/4 c chestnut flour for part of the almond. I would definitely make this again!

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Ruth January 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Looks great! I think gram flour really benefits from nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. For me, it takes away the bitter edge and leaves it tasting like slightly malted wheat flour. I don’t see many sweet recipes with it and I’m not very good at doing substitutions of my own in baking so I really appreciate this, thank you :)

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Nikki FYC January 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm

This looks fantastic and I love the idea of using grated carrot or zucchini.

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Sarah January 7, 2012 at 1:03 am

This sounds seriously good. I’m going to give it a try on my next day off! xxx

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Sophie January 7, 2012 at 4:43 am

I think that this bread looks so appetizing, tasty & apart too! :)
MMMMMMMM,….! Lovely! :)

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Allysia January 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Ahh, I must be a health foodie because this looks and sounds awesome. :) I love a good, dense loaf, and chickpea flour is pretty groovy too – though I’ve never baked with it before. And not too sweet…this is right up my alley! I’m excited for a coconut flour recipe too, since I have a big vat of it that’s all sad and neglected in my cupboard…poor coconut flour.

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Hannah January 8, 2012 at 5:39 am

Perfect timing! I’ve almost finished my coconut flour and my promise to myself is that I had to finish one fancy flour before I can buy another (otherwise the pantry gets out of control :P ) Chickpea flour was next on my list, and you know how much I love sweet things!

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wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) January 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

Happened to have all of these ingredients in my pantry. Oddly, I had exactly 1 3/4 cup almond meal . . . funny how the universe works. So thanks for providing me a way to use that up! Made it last night. It’s strangely tasty . . . that chickpea flour really is a funny ingredient. Now I wonder what to do with the rest of the chickpea flour I have (bought it on a whim at an Indian grocery store).

Do you store all of your flours in the freezer?

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Gena January 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

Wendy,

I don’t. I store them in my pantry, mostly because I tend to use everything in my home very quickly and frequently. I’m sure it’s wise to freeze, of course.

G

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Lia January 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

The loaf looks nice. It sounds like my sort of thing too! I’ve been curious to try out chickpea flour myself, as I’ve had a few things made with it that were quite tasty. The Stevia thing seems to happen to me often. It is usually with a non-dairy milk, or earth balance, or something. I often don’t need to add them, but can use just water, or a more wholesome fat. This realization comes and then one or both of those ingredients find their way back for a brief period, until I notice it again, and then they go. I appreciate having them occasionally when I do now, and I haven’t had the habit recently. It’s definitely cheaper to not. Honey in my drinks also sneaks into my routine sometimes, usually after a cold or flu when I’ve been using it a fair amount to sooth my throat. I have to wean off the sweetness I’m used to.

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Cindy Hayes January 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm

That looks AMAZING!!!

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jolice January 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Hi Gena,
I made your loaf a few times. I just remove a few and replace it with mine own eg. instead of agave, I used Coconut Nectar, Chia seed powder instead of flax, and sweett brown rice instead of chickpea flour. Also I used unsweetened dried cranberries instead of raisins.

I enjoy it with Coconut Bliss ice creme. Yum!!

Thx

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Maureen June 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

This recipe is so great as it is and easy and quick to put together. The family loves it. Tonight I am trying a savoury version with garlic and rosemary so we will see how this works. Thanks millions for sharing.

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Gena June 26, 2013 at 7:32 am

So glad it was a success!

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