I grew up eating pancakes. Home-made pancakes from scratch that is. But never for breakfast.
It would happen once a month or so on a night when Mum didn’t feel like cooking the usual meat, 3 veg and potatoes that she lovingly insisted on preparing for us 4 kids each night, no matter how busy she was and how many jobs she was holding down at the time. But like all super mothers, there were times when she needed a break. That was pancake night. She would whip up a large batch and we’d all sit around the kitchen counter perched on stools waiting as she stood at the stove pouring and flipping. When a round of pancakes were ready she would slide them straight out of the hot pan directly onto our plates at which point we’d squeeze over lemon juice, sprinkle with sugar, roll them up and eat them with delight. And we would continue like this, eating as she cooked, until all the batter had gone.
I no longer eat pancakes for dinner. Disappointing I know, but all these years of healthy eating have diluted my love-affair with sweet foods. I just don’t seem to want sweet stuff anywhere near as much as I did in the distant past. And for anyone who’s ever been through total, all-consuming sugar addiction like I have, you’ll understand what a great sense of freedom it is not to feel controlled by your cravings any more. But before I go off on one of my many tangents, let me return to the topic at hand!
Although they were indeed simple and delicious, I’m not going to share my mother’s pancake recipe with you here. All the love she put into them still doesn’t excuse the fact that they were prepared like most standard pancakes, with white flour and milk, two ingredients I tend to steer away from as much as possible.
My pancakes, which I generally reserve for those days when I’ve got guests over and where my usual oats, fruit and nuts just don’t seem to live up to the occasion, are an evolved version of my mother’s traditional pancake. Here’s how they’ve evolved:
- The first evolutionary factor is that I make them completely out of real whole ingredients that are packed with nutrients and natural fibre.
- The second is that I include ingredients that break down slowly and keep you energised and full throughout the morning. That means things like whole oats and ground flax seeds, and protein rich foods like eggs and yoghurt.
- The last notable evolution is what I put on them when they’re cooked. Rather than sugar and lemon, butter and jam, maple syrup and cream or _____ (fill in the blank with your cultural preference), I serve them with a combination of any of the following: freshly stewed fruit (without the sugar), organic unsweetened Greek style yoghurt, a spoon of almond butter, fresh berries, lemon juice (still a winner in my eyes) or sliced fresh fruit. Then if you must, for sentimental reasons, you could drizzle them with a tiny bit of organic honey or 100% pure maple syrup. Or not. You’ll find that with all this extra flavour you’ll be piling on top, you really won’t need any sweetener to make them taste good.
Sound good to you? Well they should because they are pretty good.
On a final note, just because I don’t choose to eat pancakes for dinner doesn’t mean that you can’t. This recipe is so healthy that if you’re that way inclined, I as a nutritionist, officially give you permission to.
Fluffy Oat & Banana Pancakes
THE DRY INGREDIENTS
½ cup / 55g wholegrain flour (if you eat gluten free, most gluten free flour mixes work great as a substitute)
½ cup / 92g ground oat flour (if you can’t find this, put the oats into a food processor & pulse until fine. That’s how I do it anyway. Something like this would also work.)
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
THE WET INGREDIENTS
¼ cup organic, Greek unsweetened yoghurt
1 very ripe banana
1 cup oat milk / unsweetened almond milk or any other non-dairy milk you use.
1 tablespoon honey 1 large organic egg (or for a vegan option, add 1 tablespoons of ground flax seeds to the mix instead)
Preheat your oven to 55°C / 130°F.
Measure out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Use a dry whisk to mix everything together & get some air into it.
For the wet ingredients, you have two choices. The first: mash the banana with a fork and then mix in all the other wet ingredients. The second: put all the wet ingredients into a blender and blend like a milkshake. Your choice.
Tip the combined wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a large spoon. Don’t beat. Just gently combine everything. A few lumps are fine.
Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat.
When nice and hot, pour ¼ cup (that’s 4 tablespoons) of the batter for each pancake*, into the pan and leave to cook for a couple of minutes until bubbles form on the top. Flip them gently with a flat slicer and continue cooking for another few minutes.
Slide the cooked pancakes onto a baking tray & pop them into the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest. If you’re cooking 3 pancakes at a time, allow yourself a good 15 minutes or so of ‘at the stove’ time to cook all the batter. Of course if you’re cooking less than 3 at a time, you’re going to need longer.
Or if you like, you can serve them like my mum did; slide them onto plates as they’re ready and everyone can eat as you cook.
When you’re ready to eat, pile on your healthy real food toppings (see point 3 above) and enjoy guiltlessly!
* Because I haven’t added liquid oil or fat to these pancakes, you really will need a non-stick pan (and even though I’m not a huge fan of non-stick pans, they really are good for pancakes!). If you find your pancakes sticking, add a tiny bit of cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil. Just be sure to wipe out the pan with kitchen paper to remove the excess before adding the batter. The second round of pancakes for some reason always seems to turn out better and stick less than the first. It’s a mystery that is still unsolved in my mind!
Do you eat pancakes? At what time of the day do you eat them and what do you put on top?