Panella: Crispy Chickpea Polenta Sandwiches with Black Olive Tapenade and Chickpea Aioli

Panella: Crispy Chickpea Polenta Sandwiches with Black Olive Tapenade and Chickpea Aioli



For the panella

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (Besan Flour) (substitute corn flour, polenta, or grits)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

For the tapenade

  • 20 canned black olives, chopped
  • 2 canned anchovy fillets (omit, or substitute any canned fish)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard (or any mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (substitute any vinegar beside balsamic, or use lemon or lime)
  • 1/2 hard boiled egg yolk (from a 9 minutes boiled egg)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the aioli

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (some of the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons chickpeas
  • 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • Sesame bun or sesame bread sliced horizontally
  • Arugula and/or other fresh herbs


  1. For the panella, whisk together the chickpea flour and water until very thick or about 10 minutes. Add a big pinch of salt, black pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour into a small square or rectangle pan, let cool to room temp, and refrigerate for 20 – 30 minutes to set up.
  2. Meanwhile, make the tapenade: add the olives, anchovy, and garlic to a small food processor or mortar and pestle to make a chunky paste. Add the mustard, vinegar, yolk, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend a bit more and slowly add the olive oil to bring the relish together. It should be a bit chunky.
  3. Make the aioli: using a blender, puree the garlic, aquafaba, chickpeas, mustard, and salt until smooth. With the blender still running, slowly drizzle the oil in. Once the oil is in and the aioli is thickened, add the lemon juice and whir for a few seconds just to combine. Add more salt if necessary.
  4. Preheat griddle or cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven.
  5. Take the panella from the refrigerator and turn out onto a cutting board. Slice into 3 inch squares about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Take the hot griddle out of the oven, drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and immediately place panella squares onto the griddle, flat side down. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 15 minutes, flip squares, and roast another 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, toast the buns or bread.
  8. To assemble the sandwiches, spread tapenade on the bottom toast, top with crispy panella, then aioli, then arugula and the top bun.

Feel free to make one or all elements and experiment.