That's right, I said it, healthy pancakes. Don't believe me? Read on.
Courtney and I (though mostly Courtney) have been making these pancakes for some time now, and they are delicious. Despite the fact that they are more healthy, the texture and flavor are not sacrificed in any way. Here is how we came up with this recipe.
Because of Courtney's allergies, we can't use wheat flour. So in searching for alternative grains, we studied the different characteristics that different flours have: some have more protein, some more fiber, etc. We also learned that almond meal, flax seed meal, and various other dried ground protein sources can be substituted for a certain amount of grain flour in most recipes. Flax seed adds tons of fiber (and a lot of omega 3 fatty acids), and almond meal is pure protein. They also both add oil naturally, eliminating the need for added fat. We replace half of the grain flour with almond meal in our pancakes, and add flax seed instead of oil.
But you still cover them in butter and maple syrup right? So how can that be healthy? Well, actually we don't use butter or maple syrup (okay, sometimes, but we try not to). Instead, we top our pancakes with yogurt and some kind of fruit sauce. Pictured below: Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Butter.
I love maple syrup, but since it is basically just pure sugar I really can't justify having it all that often. I used to think that pancakes and syrup must be eaten together, but Courtney opened my eyes to the possibilities of alternative toppings, and now I don't know how I could have been so blind before. The Apple Cranberry Butter has only 6g of carbs per tbsp (although there are probably 2 or 3 tablespoons on the plate), which is much better than maple syrup, which has 14g in the same volume. We use unflavored yogurt, which adds a little protein and some live active cultures without adding any sugar.
Since we eat vegetarian more often than not, the addition of almond meal, yogurt, and flax seed meal provides some much needed protein to our diet. There is also a vegan variation below, for maximum positive environmental impact.
So, half the carbs of regular pancakes plus vastly more protein and lots of healthy stuff like omega 3 fatty acids and probiotics, and I am sure that you won't believe until you try it, but they taste just as good as regular pancakes. I bet if I served them to you without telling you the ingredients, you wouldn't expect they were healthy at all. The almond meal in these pancakes makes them very, very filling, so I recommend making them small and only eating a few. So, here is the recipe. Enjoy.
Gluten Free, healthy pancakes
Yield: 8-10 small pancakes
1 cup GF Pancake Mix (we use Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free Pancake & Baking Mix, 28-Ounce Packages (Pack of 3)) or Buckwheat
1 cup Almond Meal
4 tbsp Flax Seed Meal
2 eggs, beaten
~1 cup milk, milk substitute or water
2 tbsp Honey (optional)
Sweet Spices (optional) such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc.
~1 cup Yogurt
~1 cup fruit sauce (anything that strikes your fancy, canned or homemade)
Canola or other high heat Oil (for greasing the pan)
Combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk together, breaking up any lumps. Separately, combine the egg, honey, and about half of the liquid (milk, water, etc.), and whisk together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk together until thoroughly mixed. Add more liquid, a little at a time, until batter is the right consistency. It should be a little runny, so that the batter will flatten out into a circle quickly when put on the griddle, and not doughy as you would make bread dough.
Pour about a third of a cup of the batter onto a hot griddle or skillet (cast iron works very well). When bubbles appear in the pancake (about 2 minutes over medium heat), use a spatula to test how well it is holding together on the bottom. If the bottom is solid, flip it right away. After about the same time on the other side, it is ready to serve. You can make as many at a time as you have room for. If you can only make one or two at a time, keep them warm in a very low oven (around 180 F). They will keep very well in the oven for as long as it takes to cook the whole batch.
When all of the batter is used up, serve two pancakes per plate topped with yogurt and fruit sauce. Leftovers will keep in the freezer or fridge and microwave quite well.
Replace egg with 1 tbsp extra flax seed meal, and soak flax seed meal in water for a few minutes before combining with the other ingredients.
Instead of yogurt, try a coconut milk or soy yogurt substitute Alternatively, just double the fruit sauce or syrup and leave the yogurt out entirely, or use Earth Balance spread as you would butter.