This Tomato omelette is a vegetarian and vegan recipe of a delicious omelette that is made without eggs. A light, crispy and protein rich Indian veg omelette made with gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour, tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices. Make this hearty and wholesome plant based omelette recipe that comes together under 30 minutes for your next breakfast or brunch.
About Tomato Omelette
Before you tell me that there is no omelette without eggs, let me tell you that this unique variant of an egg-free omelette is called Tomato Omelette in Western India. It is served in most of the vegetarian Udupi hotels and is popular with many people.
It is also called Tomato Cheela in Hindi and Tomato Dhirde in Marathi language which translates to tomato pancakes. Basically this snack is a tangy variation of the Besan Chilla but popularly known as Tomato Omelette.
Here a base batter of gram flour is made with tangy tomatoes, sharp onions and bold spices like green chillies and fresh herbs like coriander (cilantro) to make a flavorful and bright version of a plant based vegan omelette.
While the restaurants do not add leavening ingredients to the batter, I do add baking powder which makes the texture light and a bit fluffy.
Kindly note that this vegan omelette does not taste like your egg omelettes. They have a nutty flavor, thanks to the gram flour and the texture is crisp, light and soft.
The tomatoes lend their faint umami flavor and tangy taste paired with the nutty gram flour and you get a warm, savory and spiced omelette. Do not worry if you do not have gram flour. You can easily sub it with chickpea flour.
Growing up I have had these eggless omelets in many vegetarian restaurants and I often used to make these for our easy snacking during my college years.
Tomato omelette recipe gets done in a jiffy and with some whole wheat bread, you get to savor a healthy as well as nutritious breakfast. This vegetarian Indian omelette is a savior when I am too busy during the morning breakfast hours.
It is best served hot with some toasted whole meal bread or brown bread or white bread accompanied with a side of dipping sauces like coriander chutney or mint chutney or homemade tomato ketchup.
These also make for a hearty breakfast or brunch. You can also opt to make sandwiches with them.
In India, some of the vegetarian restaurants serve a Club Sandwich that has this eggless omelette as one of the filling paired together with other stuffings. This club sandwich is truly delish and very filling.
How to make Tomato Omelette
Prep and Make Batter
1. Finely chop onion, tomatoes, green chilli and ginger. Also chop the coriander leaves. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready for making the tomato omelette.
2. In a mixing bowl take 1 cup gram flour or chickpea flour, ⅓ cup finely chopped onions and 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes.
3. Next add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger, 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies or ½ teaspoon of chopped serrano peppers.
Do chop all the ingredients finely. If chopped even in slightly larger chunks or pieces it becomes difficult to spread the eggless omelette on the skillet.
4. Add the following spices and seasonings:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch garam masala – optional
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional and skip it to make a gluten-free version
- ⅛ teaspoon black salt – optional
- salt as required
5. Add water and then with a wired whisk begin to mix everything. The batter has to be of medium consistency.
6. Mix and stir well. I used a wired whisk but you can also mix with a spoon.
7. If the batter is too thin then add some gram flour and if the batter is too thick then dilute with little water. Also make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
I used about 1 cup of water. Depending on the quality and texture of gram flour or chickpea flour you will need to add less or more water.
Make Eggless Omelette
8. Heat a skillet or a frying pan on low to medium-low heat. Smear some oil, about 2 to 3 teaspoons on the skillet.
Use a well seasoned skillet or frying pan so that the omelettes do not stick on it.
9. Once the pan is hot reduce the flame. Then with a large spoon pour the batter on the pan. Spread it gently but not too much with the back of the spoon.
The technique is similar to the way we make Pancakes. You can even rotate and tilt the pan.
11. Drizzle ½ to 1 teaspoon oil on the edges and top of the tomato omelette.
12. Let one side of the omelette cook. You will see the batter firming up and getting cooked.
13. When the base is crisp, golden then flip and cook the second side.
14. Let the second side cook until you see golden or lightly caramelized or browned spots on the veggies. Flip again a few times if needed and cook the vegan omelette till both sides are crispy and golden.
15. Remove the omelette on a serving plate. Make all the veg omelette in the same manner with the remaining batter.
Serve the Indian tomato omelette hot or warm with toasted brown bread or whole wheat bread or bread rolls accompanied with some coriander chutney or tomato ketchup or mint chutney.
- Add more veggies: For a healthier variation, include some grated carrots, spring onions, finely chopped spinach or any healthy greens. You can even add grated zucchini or bottle gourd. But remember when adding greens or watery gourds, be mindful of adding less water while making the batter.
- More Flours: You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour or maize flour to the batter.
- Crispy texture: Add more fat like oil or ghee or butter to get a crispy texture. Even using a cast iron skillet or cast iron tawa helps to get an even crispy texture.
- For a cheesy taste: Sometimes I add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the batter for a cheese like taste. You can even stuff the omelette with grated cheddar cheese or paneer to make a vegetarian version of this Indian omelette.
- Stuffing: You can also stuff these healthy omelettes with sautéed mushrooms or savory sautéed tofu for a more hearty and filling breakfast.
- Black salt: Adding black salt gives that light sulphur like flavor to the tomato omelette recipe which is naturally present in eggs. But feel free to omit black salt if you do not have it.
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Tomato Omelette Recipe
- 1 cup gram flour (besan) or swap with 1 cup of chickpea flour
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes or 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized onion
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chillies or 1 green chilli or ½ teaspoon chopped serrano peppers
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder – optional
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)- optional, skip to make gluten-free
- 1 pinch Garam Masala
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder – optional
- ⅛ teaspoon black salt – optional
- salt as required
- 1 cup water or add as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or as required
Making omelette mixture
- Finely chop tomatoes, onions, green chilli and ginger. Also chop the coriander leaves.
- In a mixing bowl take gram flour, finely chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chilies. Add the chopped coriander leaves.
- Then add the ground spices – asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, black salt and salt as required. Add baking powder
- Add water and with a wired whisk begin to mix everything. The batter has to be of medium consistency and without any lumps.
- Mix and stir well to make a medium consistency flowing batter. Depending on the quality and texture of gram flour, you can add more or less water as needed.
Making tomato omelette
- Heat a skillet, frying pan or a tawa. Spread 2 to 3 teaspoons oil on the skillet. Keep the heat to a low or medium-low.
- With a large spoon pour the batter on the pan.
- Spread it lightly with the back of the spoon. But do not spread too much.
- You can even rotate and tilt the pan.
- Drizzle ½ to 1 teaspoon oil on the edges and on top of the omelette.
- When the base is golden and crisp, flip and cook the second side.
- Cook the second side until you see some golden or lightly caramelized spots on the veggies.
- Flip again if needed and cook until both the sides are crispy and golden. Make remaining omelets with batter.
- Serve eggless tomato omelette with bread or buns or dinner rolls with a side of dipping sauces like tomato ketchup, coriander chutney or mint chutney.
- Batter Consistency: Do not make the batter too thin or thick. It has a medium flowing consistency. If the batter is thick, add some water. If it is thin, add some gram flour.
- Skillet: Remember to cook these omelettes on a well seasoned skillet or frying pan so that they do not stick onto the pan.
- More Veggies: For a more wholesome breakfast, include some grated carrots, spring onions, finely chopped spinach or any healthy greens of your choice. You can even add grated zucchini or bottle gourd (opo squash). But note that when adding watery gourds or greens, you will need to add less water to the batter.
- More Flours: For a light variation in taste and texture, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or maize flour to the batter.
- Crispy Texture: To get a crispy texture add more fat like oil or ghee or butter when cooking these omelettes. Using a cast iron skillet or cast iron tawa also helps to get a crispy texture.
- More Healthy Variations: Add about 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the batter mix for a cheese like taste. You can also add 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal to the batter. For a filling breakfast, stuff the omelette with grated cheddar cheese or paneer to make a vegetarian version of this Indian omelette. For a vegan version, stuff these healthy omelettes with sautéed mushrooms or savory sautéed tofu for a more wholesome breakfast.
- Black Salt: Including a bit of black salt gives a light sulphur like flavor to the omelette that is naturally present in eggs. But feel free to omit black salt if you do not have it.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This tomato omelette recipe post from the archives, originally published on March 2013 has been updated and republished on 27 November 2021.