Golubka’s The Vibrant Table: Spinach, Quinoa Crepes with Buttery Saffron Peas, Fava & Fava Leaves

A Brunch, Main Course, Snack post written by on May 28, 2014

Spinach Crepes with Peas and Favas in Saffron Butter, Fava Leaves

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I remember the butter line particularly well; it always stretched the longest and buzzed the loudest, around a couple of blocks, to make for a full-day affair. We felt a sense of accomplishment when we walked away after finally procuring a few paper-wrapped bricks of butter, like victory after a long, tiring battle, with the promise of a flavorful dinner ahead. If nothing else, all that waiting brought up a few generations of truly patient people.

– Anya Kassoff of Golubka, The Vibrant Table

spinach leaves

I don’t have a daily companion for meals, so my plates have married my cookbooks – or so it seems. I’m usually clutching a loaded fork with one hand and a book in another. The books at my table are typically cookbooks, the best kinds of books because invariably, I will run out of words to read, but I won’t go for lack of dinner ideas. If I’m lucky, a good cookbook will also entice me with sweet ideas using even sweeter pictures. That’s pretty much why I love eating to the sounds of a delicious page turner…  like this recent one I got from Anya, aka, the culinary mastermind behind Golubka.

Anya’s is a Vibrant Table, a meat-free, often vegan and raw kind of page turner with a heartwarming introduction – a story about her native roots in that faraway place behind an iron curtain made of butter lines and dreams of huckleberry ice cream. I had to put the book down a few times because the Soviet lore made my own story an underwhelming bag of starry-eyed emotions.I’m an maudlin writer with “ideas” about hunger, and as you can see, I have not gone terribly hungry. Like most others, I take my butter consumption for granted and not while waiting in lines rapt by the bitter cold.

Of course I love beautiful cookbooks because I love to read nice and sad stories, even if it induces more hunger; the recipes are an exquisite form of beauty that I can nourish from the most desolate place, because once I leave, it  can sprout into a shared meals with old loved ones and new lovers. I know that hunger is as egalitarian as heartbreak. I know that I can’t eat a good cookbook, but I can certainly feel nourished from its stories and that is the best thing a food writer can hope for so long as readers are not bound with hunger as a daily constraint.

Sometimes, I prefer it when my cookbooks are mingling with each other and not just with me. For the most part, I don’t prescribe them to be just like me: vegetarian. This may appear to be useless, but I gain a lot of creative energy from all kinds of recipes, including those written by meat-eaters. The AOC Cookbook is one of the latter. Written by Suzanne Goin, it’s full of meat-centric recipes and I love to read her descriptions and preparation notes. It makes me hungry for meat-eats, but only because she is so masterly with her flavors and this is not a thing that’s entirely relegated to eating animals at mealtimes.

Spinach Crepes with Peas and Favas in Saffron Butter, Fava Leaves


In fact, I think my favorite meals in restaurants have been made entirely by chefs who are good with all sorts of ingredients. That’s practically all the courage I needed to become vegetarian. This recipe today is not meat-like but it’s also not vegan. I’m not that brave!

The quinoa, spinach crepe base is a creation by Anya in her book which is coming out on June 10th of this year. The buttery saffron peas I borrowed from Suzanne’s AOC book, which I’ve been eating from since December of last year. Together, they make delicious literary companions on this late spring plate. I used fresh fava beans and fava leaves since I thought it would be “nutritious.” The original mix called for more peas and pea tendrils – which I had none of! If you don’t have fava leaves I think sprouts, arugula, or even more spinach would be a bright contrast to savory, buttery peas.

Spinach & Quinoa Blinchiki {Gluten-free, Vegan Optional}

from The Vibrant Table written by Anya Kassoff of Golubka

3/4 c quinoa flour {105g}

1/2 ts baking soda

1/2 ts seal salt

1/2 c unsweetened almond milk {separated}

1 c fresh spinach

1/2 TB ground chia seeds

1 egg {optional}

1 TB grapeseed oil & additional for frying {or, use a non-stick spray to minimize oil use}


+ Combine flour, soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

+ To incorporate spinach, warm 1 c of milk to 105 degrees F (40 degrees C). Then, using a blender or food processor, puree with chia powder until smooth and consistent. If using eggs, stir it in now. Anna advises it only if you are not an experienced crepe-maker as the egg can help in helping the batter come together easily. combine this wet mix with the flour blend. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

+ Bring the remaining 1/2 c of milk to a boil and add to the batter, stirring in the oil.

+ When ready, heat up a skillet or pan for frying. Expect to use 1 ts of batter for a 5″ pan and 2 ts of batter for an 8″ pan. I prefer to spray the pan as it evenly distributes the oil and requires less oil-use, but you can also brush oil onto your pan. This crepe batter was a lot more delicate than the buckwheat one I typically use so I ate a handful because I didn’t cook them long enough before flipping. Luckily, they taste pretty great plain, right off of the pan.

+ to see if your crepe is ready to be flipped, use a spatula to separate the edges from the pan and check under the pancake. It should be slightly browned in placed and the batter should hold itself together. If there are wet spots on the crepe, do not flip! If it is browning too quickly before the batter cooks all the way through, turn down the heat or remove the pan from the stove. You don’t have to cook crepes extra crispy if you are not serving them immediately. I prefer to cook them all, and then return them to the heat right before serving to add a crispy edge and return them to temperature.

+ If you don’t want to make the crepes into a meal as I have, try eating them with ghee, butter, or the likes as a snack.

Saffron Butter

Peas & Favas in Saffron Butter


Buttery Saffron Peas & Fava Beans, Fava Leaves

Adapted from The AOC Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Note: Goin’s original recipe is for peas, snap peas, and pea shoots. It’s great, but I like to add favas for extra protein when I am serving a main dish.


1/4 ts saffron threads

2 TB butter

2 TB extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 c shallots, sliced

1 ts fresh thyme leaves

2 c of fresh peas and fresh favas (you need to remove the favas from their pods and then blach them prior to removing their shells for this measurement)

1 c of fava leaves (arugula, spinach, watercress would all work great here)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1TB Olive Oil


Lemon zest


+ Toast saffron in a pan until it is shriveled and aromatic. Move them to a mortar & pestle and grind them to a powder. Then, melt the butter and add it to the saffron… use the pestle to incorporate everything together.

+ Heat oil in a pan and cook thyme and shallots until they are translucent. Season with 1/2 ts salt and fresh ground pepper. To this, add the saffron butter and then the peas and fava beans. Continue cooking and stirring on low for 4-5 minutes.

+ To serve, make a lemony dressing with lemon juice and oilive oil. Season with salt and toss your fava leaves in to coat.

+ Top each crepe with an equal amount of leaves and peas. On top of this, add some lemon zest for extra citrus flavor.



Golubka's The Vibrant Table: Spinach, Quinoa Crepes with Buttery Saffron Peas, Fava & Fava Leaves vt1

Via Gobluka: The Vibrant Table is our first cookbook, with 100 all new recipes created by me and photographed by my older daughter, Masha. It comes out on June 10th, 2014, published by Roost Books, and is now available for pre-order on AmazonRoostBarnes & NobleIndie Bound and Powells.

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8 Responses to “Golubka’s The Vibrant Table: Spinach, Quinoa Crepes with Buttery Saffron Peas, Fava & Fava Leaves”

  1. A stunning post, exciting recipe, and lovely book review, Phi! You mastermind you 😉 Can’t wait to dig into Anya’s book and cook the hell out of it. Surely one of the most-awaited books of 2014!

  2. Anya says:

    Dear Phi, thank you so much for this post, it made my day! What a beautiful, breathtaking execution of the blinchiki,! Hope you enjoyed them 🙂

    • phi says:

      Thank you for the opportunity! I’m gonna make another batch of the batter because I already ran out!!

  3. What an elegant meal! That cookbook sounds awesome, I shall look for it at the library. Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

  4. Kathryn says:

    I’m so excited about this book – it seems like it’s just so full of inspiration and I love the story behind Anya’s food. Such a beautiful post to highlight a real treasure of a recipe.

  5. Alanna says:

    Oh Phi, these are beautiful.

  6. […] awesome light, green meals perfect for transitioning into this hot Summer weather here, here, and […]

  7. […] I was debating between making this zucchini spaghetti dish or her berry and chocolate crisp for today. Mark really wanted the dessert, but I wanted a light summer dinner on our porch at dusk (and apparently Shanna and Tim did too!). (I’m confident that the crisp will be happening next week, what with the impending glut of berries coming on). Anyway, this will be the first of many from Anya’s table to ours. Some other bits that look so, so good: kale + mustard muffins, cacao buckwheat granola, fava bean quinoa cakes, fig bars, and spinach quinoa crepes. […]

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