How to Make Super (Healthy) Pancakes!
What Are Super Pancakes?
"Super Pancakes" is the name I gave to the improvised dinner I created for the first time a few years ago.
I wanted to prepare a meal that would be fun and delicious for my sons (about 6 and 3 at the time) and would also be nutritionally sound.
Super pancakes create an air of excitement and delight because they're pancakes. But hidden in the batter are a number of healthy ingredients. Super pancakes can be served for any meal - and they're most often served as dinner in my house!
The pancake batter is more of a base recipe than a specific list of ingredients. It is highly adaptable, so you can make it vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, low-sugar, high-protein, or whatever else meets your dietary needs. Likewise, it can be made with whatever ingredients you happen to have. Don't have pecans? Use peanut butter instead -- or sunflower seed butter if you have a nut allergy.
Super pancakes tend to be more filling than regular pancakes, since they pack in protein, vegetables, and fruit. So don't expect to just gobble down a half-dozen of these "mini meals."
Super Healthy Pancakes are packed with protein. They also contain a good amount of fiber and other nutrients, courtesy of the fruits and vegetables in the batter!
Instructions for Making Super (Healthy) Pancake Batter
I like to start with a handful of pecans. Place them in the blender and grind to a fairly fine consistency. It doesn't have to be perfect, since they will be further ground as more ingredients are added. No pecans? Use walnuts or other nuts. Nut allergy? Use seeds or just skip this step. You can add other protein sources later in the process!
Add 1-2 cups of frozen veggies. I use the mixed carrots, corn, peas, and green beans because it has a mild flavor. Honestly, you can't even taste the vegetables in the finished pancakes! Add enough milk/soymilk/water to the blender to allow the vegetables to be thoroughly blended until smooth.
Add More Ingredients
Here's where it gets interesting! The ingredients you put together do not have to be exactly measured. They can be adjusted to reflect your dietary needs and the ingredients available. The amounts used will be determined in large part by the size of your blender.
I almost always use bananas here. They can be either fresh or frozen. (I usually have a stash of frozen bananas for using in pancake batter and in smoothies.)
Feel free to add other fresh or frozen fruit! I often add strawberries and/or applesauce. But I'm apt to throw in whatever's lying around!
Other ingredients I commonly use include ground flax seeds or chia seeds, sunflower seed butter, and/or vanilla-flavored soy protein powder. In other words, add some protein!
I also like to sprinkle in about a teaspoon of cinnamon and maybe a dash of nutmeg. Vanilla extract is always good, too!
You could use some canola oil if you'd like, but it's not critical to the finished product.
Then I add enough soy milk (or almond milk) for the ingredients to be easily blended. Generally, this just means enough liquid to cover the other ingredients before turning on the blender.
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Turn on the blender and blend away until all ingredients are thoroughly smooth.
Give a little taste. Feel free to add a bit of maple syrup, agave nectar, or sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste. Or maybe a bit more fruit will do the trick.
Adjust other ingredients to taste.
You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender and blend some more.
Add more soy milk (or other milk), if necessary, to allow all of the ingredients to become completely blended.
Save Some for Later. Add Dry Ingredients
My blender is large enough to prepare two batches of wet super pancake ingredients at a time.
This is fantastic, because it means that the next time I make super pancakes, I just have to pull a container of wet ingredients out of the freezer with enough time to thaw before cooking the pancakes!
I pour half the blender into a freezer-friendly container. The other half goes into another container or mixing bowl to finish the current batch of pancakes.
To the wet ingredients I add a bit of flour (can be gluten-free) and a teaspoon or two of baking powder. You can use whatever kind of flour (or rolled oats, or oatmeal) suits you. The amount of flour depends on the amount of liquid ingredients. You could add flour 1/2 cup at a time until it "feels right."
If you want your pancakes to be made without any flour, you can use shredded coconut to thicken and lighten the batter. The shredded coconut is delicious with flour, too!
Mix in the dry ingredients. If you like, you can also add blueberries, chopped strawberries or other fruit, or even chocolate chips! But before adding these extra morsels, it's best to do a test pancake on the griddle! Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto a prepared and heated griddle. (I set mine to 350F.)
If the batter seems too wet and is taking too long to cook, add more flour. If the batter is too thick and doesn't pour very easily, add some soy milk, other milk, or water to thin it out. Once you have a good consistency, go ahead and add those extras, if you'd like.
Cook Them Up!
Now that the super pancake batter is ready, go ahead and cook up the pancakes!
Pour batter by the 1/4 cup. There should be a satisfying sizzle sound when the wet batter is poured onto the hot griddle. If it's quiet, the griddle needs to be hotter.
Cook until the tops of the pancakes are firm and fairly dry with little air bubbles. Then flip the pancakes over and cook a few minutes longer.
I just keep the cooked pancakes on a plate next to the griddle as I continue cooking the rest of the batter. Some folks prefer to place finished pancakes on a cookie sheet in a gently warm oven (perhaps 150-200F) to keep them nice and warm until the meal is ready to be served.
If you have kids, making funny shapes puts this meal right over the top! My sons like pancakes in the shape of their initials. (You have to pour the batter in the shape of the letter's mirror image for it to come out correctly.)
I like to make other shapes as well -- or even just tiny pancakes. Funny pancakes may be made in specific shapes, but I usually just allow the batter to fall fairly randomly and then add a bit here and there.
These pancakes are usually smaller than the standard circles and cook more quickly.