"I'm going to make some coconut crepes" says Diana Rodgers, Paleo Diet expert of Radiance Nutrition. "You can serve these as pancakes or you can use them as crepes for sandwiches". These crepes use tapioca starch and coconut flour in place of wheat flour so they are perfect for people on the paleo diet or with a gluten intolerance. "A lot of the time people new to paleo really, really miss the bread," says Rodgers, "so these are a good alternative for sandwich fillings."
Crepes are a type of very thin pancake usually served with some sort of filling, savory or sweet. They originated in Brittany, but are popular throughout the whole of France. In recent years, they have become more widespread in other Western countries as well, where they are often served on market or street stalls as a quick snack.
Typically, crepes are made with flour, eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt. If they are to have a sweet filling, they may also be slightly sweetened. Rodgers' crepes are a little different; as well as substituting the flour, she uses coconut milk instead of cow's milk and adds a little baking powder to help it rise. When she cooks the crepes, she melts some coconut oil in the pan in place of butter.
Tapioca starch and coconut flour are available in most health food stores or large supermarkets with a natural food section. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava plant. The starch is often used as a thickening agent and is naturally gluten-free, but celiacs should check the packet because it is sometimes mixed with wheat flour.
Coconut flour is a healthy alternative to wheat flour; it is very high in fiber, a good source of protein and low in digestible carbohydrates, making it perfect for people on the paleo diet. It has a natural sweetness and "it's very dense, so you really only need a little tiny bit" says Rodgers.
Rodgers whisks the eggs before adding them to the dry ingredients and mixing everything together. She then slowly mixes in 2 cups of coconut milk and adds a little water at the end because the mix is a bit too thick; "Thicker versions of it can be used for pancakes. In order to make the crepes sometimes you have to thin it out just a little bit," she explains, "a runny pancake mix, that's what I am looking for."
Rodgers heats some coconut oil in a pan and pours in enough of the mixture to coat the bottom of the pan. "What I want you to do is just wait until you see the outer edges are cooked and that the inside, thinner part here doesn't look as raw and then you're ready to flip it" she explains.
For the filling Rodgers uses some shrimp sauté©ed with a little coconut oil, some red pepper flakes and a squeeze of limejuice. For greens she adds some Columbian cabbage, cilantro and mint slaw - "the perfect high protein, low carb, paleo lunch". But you are not limited to this - the best thing about these crepes is how versatile they are. Rodgers recommends pulled pork, leftover chicken or ham as an alternative source of protein with some sauerkraut or kimchi. Or you can eat them like pancakes, with a little maple syrup.
"These really satisfy that 'bready' craving that a lot of people new to the paleo diet really miss" says Rodgers. "Everyone I've made these for absolutely loves them. You just have to try it."
Gluten Free Crepes
2/3 cup coconut flour
11/3 cup tapioca starch (cassava)
2 tsp baking powder
large pinch salt
2 cups canned full fat coconut milk mixed with 1/3 cup water
3 tsp coconut oil for the pancakes (a little more for cooking oil)
For the shrimp:
1 pound shrimp, shelled, with veins removed
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 squeeze of fresh lime juice
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1. Combine all dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and mix well.
2. Heat a little coconut oil and drip some batter in the pan, about 1 large laddle. Flip after lightly browned and continue cooking until the other side is brown. Continue this process until all of the pancakes are completed. Note: If making for children, you can add a little honey to the batter to make them taste sweeter.
Fill with your favorite ingredients, like shrimp and Columbian Cole Slaw; pulled pork with kim chee; or roast beef and avocado. The combinations are endless!
For the shrimp:
1. Sauté© shrimp in oil and red pepper flakes (if desired). Season with limejuice.
For Columbian Coleslaw see other recipe video.
• • •
Recipe courtesy of Diana Rogers, Radiance Nutrition, 2012.