Savory Crepes with Caramelized Onions, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta
April 14, 2022
Crepes are only limited by your imagination, really. They are the blank slate of breakfast foods, great for anything from chocolate to, in this case, onions. Try these savory crepes, made with whole wheat flour, and filled with caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese.
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The inspiration for the filling of these crepes actually came from a modified pasta dish I once made with spaghetti squash. The combination of sweet-umami caramelized onions, potent sweet-tart tomatoes, and bright yet tangy feta cheese just creates an explosion of flavor.
I just knew that it had the perfect sweet and savory balance to make an excellent brunch dish, and crepes felt like the right vessel. I decided to use white whole wheat flour, which adds a slight nuttiness overall, complementing the flavors of the filling.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these onion, tomato, and feta savory crepes at your grocery store:
- Fridge: Butter, Feta, Milk, Eggs
- Produce: Onions
- Pantry: Salt, Sun dried tomatoes, White whole wheat flour, Sugar
- Equipment: Cast iron pan, Nonstick pan, Flexible spatulas, Mixing bowls, Whisk, Sturdy spatula
Let’s Make Filling for Savory Crepes
We call them caramelized onions, but these slowly cooked-down alliums are actually also the result of the much more complex Maillard reaction, which gives them an incredible umami balance alongside the sweet caramelization.
This involves a lot of chemistry that I won’t get into here, but it is the result of heat, sugars, and amino acids coming together to produce new compounds full of that magical caramelized onion flavor. There are two ingredients we use with the onions to help this process along for the best-tasting results.
First, melt some butter in the pan. Butter contains milk proteins, which are made of amino acids, one of the important parts of the Maillard reaction. Personally, I like using a well-seasoned cast iron pan to caramelize my onions, but you can use a nonstick pan as well.
For the onions, you’ll want to have them halved and peeled. Then slice the onion halves crosswise into quarter-inch-thick half rings. You’ll need right around a pound of onion slices, or maybe a little bit more. This is about one and a half large or up to four small onions.
Add these to the pan along with the salt. This is an important ingredient because it helps the onions sweat, or release water, which we can then cook off. Removing moisture from the onions helps them to reach the high temperatures needed for the browning of the Maillard reaction to occur.
Another secret to really good, jammy, candy-like caramelized onions is patience. There are other tricks you can use such as adding sugar or baking soda, but these will alter the flavor of the end result. If you have a preferred method already for caramelizing onions, go ahead and use it here.
Otherwise, we are going to be cooking these low and slow. Medium heat is your friend here, and it’s a good idea to keep about a cup of water nearby for adding splashes as you cook.
This can help the temperatures from getting too high, so the onions brown and crisp instead of softening. It can also help you deglaze any stuck fond from the pan. So I guess there are really four secret ingredients here: butter, salt, water, and patience.
Continue cooking the onions, stirring them occasionally, and paying attention to the color. They will go from white to translucent, and then start to turn golden yellow, and eventually golden brown. If you notice anything sticking as your stir, add a small splash of water to the pan.
As you get into the twenty-five to thirty minute range, the onions should be turning very soft and almost jammy in texture. You should be able to easily cut one in half with a flexible spatula and not too much force. Once they have reached this point, and are starting to turn a dark golden brown, give one a try.
You can always cook them a little bit longer if you prefer yours even darker and sweeter. Once you love them, turn off the heat and mix in the sun dried tomatoes. You’ll want to use the dried ones from a bag here, not packed in oil. If you can only find the jarred ones with oil, you’ll need to soak, drain, and dry the tomatoes before they are ready to use here.
Once combined, turn off the heat and then stir in the feta cheese. Make sure you have some extra feta left over, so you can sprinkle it on top of the finished crepes. It makes everything look a little bit fancier, and adds a bright flavor.
Set the pan aside, covering it with a lid or aluminum foil to keep the filling warm until your crepes are ready to go. For the best use of time, you can actually prepare the crepe batter and begin frying them while the onions are cooking.
However, if you are a beginner at making caramelized onions or crepes, I recommend being able to dedicate your full attention to each.
How to Make Whole Wheat Savory Crepes
White whole wheat flour is my favorite version of a whole grain flour. It comes from a different type of wheat than your standard whole wheat or all-purpose flour. The wheat variety is lighter in color, and the milled flour ends up with a soft texture, even when the whole grain is used.
If you don’t have any white whole wheat flour, you can use equal parts by weight of whole wheat and all-purpose, about 67 grams of each. Whisk this together in a large mixing bowl along with a small amount of sugar and salt, both of which add to the flavor of the crepes.
Meanwhile, melt some butter and let it cool slightly, while also allowing your milk and eggs to warm up to room temperature. When you work with melted butter, cold fridge ingredients can make it solidify, and more difficult to stir.
Whisk together the butter, eggs, milk, and water until the eggs are completely broken up and the mixture is smooth. Then create a well in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and pour the milk mixture into it.
Continue whisking everything together until the mixture is smooth. Unlike pancakes, which can be overmixed due to leavening ingredients, crepes are meant to be very thin. Any lumps in the batter can turn into lumpy crepes.
This also means the batter itself should be quite thin, almost like the texture of heavy cream. It should not hold its shape, but should drip off the whisk when it’s lifted out of the bowl in a steady stream. If it’s too thick, you can always add a splash more water.
Heat a nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high on your stove. You shouldn’t need to overly grease the pan, just enough to help that first crepe release. Wait until the pan is hot before starting to cook the crepes.
When it’s ready, use a one-third cup measure to scoop out the crepe batter, but don’t fill it quite to the top. Allow the excess to drip off the measuring cup back into the bowl. Then, lift your pan off the heat, holding it about six to eight inches above the flame or element.
Quickly pour the crepe batter into the center of the pan, and then tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter out to the edges. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly round or even. Your crepes will be delicious anyway.
Place the pan back down on the stove and allow the crepe to cook on the first side for just one to two minutes. The edges will start to appear dry, and may even start to curl up slightly. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see a shrinking ring of dryness, as the crepe cooks from the outside in.
Once it’s fully dry, the crepe should easily release from the pan. Use a sturdy spatula to flip it over, and then cook for just about another minute or so until it has some light golden brown spots. Transfer the finished crepe to a plate, and then repeat until you are out of batter.
Once the crepes are done, it’s time to fill them! The filling recipe makes enough for eight crepes, but the batter recipe will give you about ten. This leaves some room for error, like a torn crepe, or one that didn’t cooperate when flipping. You can definitely still eat these mess-ups, they just might not fill as well.
Add an eighth of the filling into the center of one of the crepes on your stack. You can fold or roll it however you like, but I went for a kind of half-open pocket look with these. To do that, imagine the crepe separated into thirds horizontally, with the filling in the middle third. Fold the right side over the filling, leaving the left third open. Then fold up the side of the crepe closest to you on top of that. Finally, fold the left side over as well.
Another super easy way to serve these crepes is to place the filling in one quadrant, then fold the crepe in half, and in half again for a triangle shape. Or you could simply roll them up like an enchilada or taquito.
If you are planning ahead, there are a few details to know about storing these crepes in their various stages. You can store crepe batter in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple days. It can be used directly from the fridge.
Allow unfilled crepes to cool to room temperature, then stack them, separated by a paper towel or sheet of parchment paper. Place these and the filling in separate sealed containers and refrigerate for a few days. Reheat each crepe in a nonstick pan, and the filling in the microwave until warm.
The finished and filled crepes taste best the day they are prepared. However, you can store leftovers in the fridge for a couple days if needed. Reheat these in the microwave or a nonstick pan until they are warmed through. The microwaved crepes may lose those crispy edges, but will still be delicious.
Savory crepes make the perfect brunch! Try these whole wheat ones, stuffed with sweet caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese.
How to Serve Savory Crepes
The versatility of savory brunch dishes like these crepes really can’t be beat. Obviously, you can build a brunch around them, but you could also have them as the centerpiece of breakfast-for-dinner, heat up leftovers for a quick lunch, or even serve them as hors d’oeuvres.
For breakfast or brunch, trying pairing them with something sweet and fruity, like a pear and apple crisp with honey caramel or a cinnamon coffee cake with roasted strawberries and streusel. Don’t forget to serve a fun cocktail, like Chambord raspberry margaritas.
You could also enjoy these savory crepes as a snack or appetizer, or along with some afternoon tea. Try them alongside a peach and mango iced tea spritzer and a big plate of lemon curd sandwich cookies.
More Savory Brunch Dishes to Try
Whole Wheat Savory Crepes with Caramelized Onions, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta
Onion, Tomato, and Feta Filling
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 1-1¼ lbs Onions halved, peeled, and sliced into ¼-inch half rings
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¾ Cup Sun dried tomatoes dry packaged, not packed in oil
- ½ Cup Feta cheese plus more for garnish
Whole Wheat Crepes
- 1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 tsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Butter melted
- 1 Cup Milk room temperature
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- ½ Cup Water
Onion, Tomato, and Feta Filling
- Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat, and then add the onions. Sprinkle with the salt, and stir to combine until the onions are coated in the butter.
- Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20-25 minutes. They should turn translucent, and then begin to darken into a golden color. Any time you notice the onions sticking to the pan or getting too browned, add a splash of water and stir to deglaze the pan.
- For the next 10-15 minutes, stir more frequently, continuing to pay attention to anything sticking to the pan. The onions should be turning very soft, medium brown, and almost jammy in texture.
- Stir in the tomatoes, then turn off the heat, and stir in the feta. Set the pan aside, covered to keep warm until the crepes are ready.
Whole Wheat Crepes
- Make the crepe batter while the onions are cooking. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until very smooth.
- Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, and spray or grease. Use a 1/3 cup measure to scoop out crepe batter. Lift the warm pan from the heat, and pour the crepe batter into it, tilting the pan to spread
- Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, until,the edges look dry and begin to pull away from the pan. Flip and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until dry. Repeat for the rest of the crepes.
- Fill each crepe with a scoop of the filling. To fold, imagine the crepe in thirds horizontally. Fold in the right sideover the center, convering the filling. Then fold up the bottom about 2-inches. Finally fold the left side over the top, to make an open pocket.
- Sprinkle crepes with feta and serve immediately.
- Make ahead tips:
- Store crepe batter in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. It can be used directly from the fridge.
- Allow unfilled crepes to cool to room temperature, then stack them, separated by a paper towel or sheet of parchment paper. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat each in a nonstick pan until warm.
- Store the filling in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
- Filled crepes taste best the day they are prepared, but can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days if needed. Reheat in the microwave or a nonstick pan until warmed through.