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an array of pancakes on a table

A typical plate of syrup-drenched pancakes may seem like a fine recipe for a midday nap. But when you make your own pancakes with whole-food ingredients, a pancake breakfast can be a healthy start to any day of the week.

These recipes lean on nutritious additions — nuts, seeds, protein powder, vegetables — to serve up flapjacks that won’t leave you headed for a sugar crash. With a few new recipes, you can easily make your pancakes gluten-free, whole-grain, plant-based, or whatever works for you.

Protein Pancakes

Top with coconut butter and fresh blueberries.

protein pancakes with blueberries

Makes two servings | Prep time 5 minutes | Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 scoops (about 3 tbs.) whey protein powder, any flavor
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 tbs. mashed banana
  • Avocado oil for the griddle

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, and protein powder.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then whisk in the banana. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir to mix well.
  3. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees F, or put a cast-iron pan on medium heat. When hot, brush with oil and measure 1/4-cup portions of batter onto the griddle. If the oats are piled high in the middle, gently pat them down. Cook for about four minutes, until the cakes are covered in bubbles and firm around the edges. Flip and cook about two minutes longer, or until cooked through.
  4. Transfer to a plate and keep warm as you finish the cakes.

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Savory Sweet-Potato Pancakes

Serve with sautéed spinach, fried eggs, sliced avocado, tahini, and hot sauce.

savory pancakes topped with an egg and avocado

Makes four servings | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (or canned pumpkin or sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup milk or nondairy milk
  • 1 tbs. apple-cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. avocado oil, plus more for the griddle

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, milk, and vinegar, and stir well. Let stand for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, maple syrup, and oil to the sweet-potato mixture, then pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees F, or put a cast-iron pan on medium heat. When hot, brush with oil and measure 1/4-cup portions of batter onto the griddle, leaving 2 inches between them. Cook for about two minutes on the first side, until the cakes are covered in bubbles and firm around the edges. Flip and cook about three minutes longer, or until cooked through.
  5. Transfer to a plate and keep warm as you finish the cakes.

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Plant-Power Pancakes

Garnish with tahini and fresh raspberries.

plant based pancakes topped with raspberries

Makes four servings | Prep time 5 minutes | Cook time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups nondairy milk
  • 3 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs. pumpkinseeds
  • Avocado oil for the griddle

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, chia seeds, and vinegar until combined, and let stand for five minutes to thicken. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees F, or put a cast-iron pan on medium heat. When hot, brush with oil and measure 1/4-cup portions of batter onto the griddle, leaving 2 inches between them. Sprinkle a scant teaspoon of pumpkinseeds on each cake as soon as it stops spreading.
  4. Cook for about four minutes, until the cakes are covered in bubbles and firm around the edges. Flip and cook about three minutes longer, or until cooked through.
  5. Transfer to the plate to keep warm as you finish the cakes.

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Carrot-Cake Pancakes

Enjoy with Greek yogurt and toasted pecans.

carrot cake pancakes topped with cream and pecans

Makes five servings | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk or nondairy milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • Avocado oil for the griddle

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, milk, eggs, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Fold in the carrots.
  2. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees F, or put a cast-iron pan on medium heat. When hot, brush with oil and measure 1/4-cup portions of batter onto the griddle. Cook for about four minutes, until the cakes are covered in bubbles and firm around the edges. Flip and cook about three minutes longer, until cooked through.
  3. Transfer to a plate and keep warm as you finish the cakes.

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Coconut “Whipped Cream”

coconut whipped cream

Makes about 1 cup | Prep time 5 minutes, plus overnight chilling time | Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 14.5-oz. can full-fat, organic coconut milk (chilled overnight)
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup (optional)

Directions

  1. The night before, place a can of coconut milk upside down in the refrigerator. As it chills overnight, the coconut cream will separate from the liquid and solidify.
  2. An hour before whipping, place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill completely.
  3. Turn the can upright and open it. Pour off the coconut water on top and reserve. You can add this to your next smoothie or soup.
  4. Working quickly, scrape the solid coconut milk into the chilled bowl, and add the vanilla. Use the chilled beaters to beat the cream on high speed. It may take just two minutes or up to 10. As soon as the cream is fluffy, serve or refrigerate. The whipped coconut cream can be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week; just whip briefly before serving.

Note: Make sure that you buy organic coconut milk, with no added gums or emulsifiers: Those additives can keep the cream from separating.

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Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Styling: Paul Jackman
Robin
Robin Asbell

Robin Asbell is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer and cookbook author.

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