I am a carboholic. Not new news. Don’t praise me for coming to terms with it. I’ve known this for over thirty years now. I love bread, pasta, rice, grains, and most things made with grains. That is probably why ‘breakfast food’ is my absolute favorite. When I say breakfast food I do not mean bacon, sausage, and eggs. I mean pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, blintzes, bagels, English muffins, scones, oatmeal, cold cereal, farina, and mush – to name a few. I could (and do) eat these foods morning, noon, and night. Out of this love came a healthy pancakes recipe.
That breakfast carb love is why I am constantly on the lookout for a healthier version of these dishes. Probably fifteen years ago I came across a cookbook that contains Low-fat recipes. The book by Dean Ornish, Everyday Cooking has a Wholesome Pancakes recipe in it that I come back to from time to time. It has oatmeal and whole wheat flour in it, so it is definitely a little more dense than, say, a buttermilk pancake. I love them.
Several weeks ago I was at a restaurant whose name actually has the word ‘pancakes’ in it! Yes, IHOP. I tried the ‘Harvest Nut and Grain’ pancakes and it was love at first bite. (overdone?) They were reminiscent of the Ornish pancake, with a little more substance. I, of course, wanted to do my best to replicate these at home.
My first try was a success. I altered the Wholesome Pancakes recipe by adding some chopped walnuts and pecans. The girls liked them, too.
A short while later (2 or 3 days) I was hungry for pancakes again. So I whipped up the Wholesome Nut & Grain pancakes, and added a new twist; pureed spinach. I worried that the girls would NOT want anything to do with them. To my surprise the girls liked them. They even asked for seconds! So, I found a healthy way to get greens and nuts into the girls without feeling bad about eating pancakes! Win-win!
I have several people in my family who do not like syrup on their pancakes (or waffles, French toast). Some use peanut butter or eat them with cut up fruit. This makes the health pancakes even healthier. That is one of the best parts of pancakes, is the versatility! If I make extra, I can wrap them in foil or plastic wrap (I know about the environment!) and have a great easy breakfast (or lunch) for the following day.
I hope you enjoy these morsels and feel compelled to try these healthy pancakes experiment with your own healthy options.
Wholesome Nut & Grain Pancakes
- ½ cup rolled oats (quick are fine, not instant)
- 2 ½ cups almond milk (soy or nonfat if preferred)
- ½ cup baby spinach
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 egg whites (or liquid egg substitute equivalent, beaten)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup walnuts and pecans (chopped)
Preheat an electric griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
In a blender combine ½ cup milk with spinach and puree.
In a medium bowl, combine oats with spinach mixture and remaining milk. Stir gently and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Add egg whites and vanilla to oat mixture; stir to combine. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in nuts. Do not over mix.
When griddle is hot, pour pancake mixture, using ¼ cup per pancake. When bubbles on top of pancake begin to pop, flip pancake over. Cook until both sides are browned.