Summer is right around the corner! In Austin, we’re lucky enough that it’s already here — at least, the weather is. Real summer in Texas (I’m told) is reserved for multiple 110+ degree days on end where you can only survive if you’re completely submerged in a freezing cold spring or sitting in your refrigerator.
Summer means less clothes and bikinis, which are both a lot more fun if you’re feeling healthy and fit. While I can’t commit to a super-strict regimen that cuts out all things delicious, I certainly can afford to make some changes and lighten up on the heavier things I love so dearly.
Among several other fad/lifestyle change diets, I’ve heard a lot lately about eating “clean.” Which is basically limiting your intake to veggies, lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats. One recipe that seems to be getting a lot of buzz are “clean” pancakes. Consisting of oatmeal, egg whites, flax seed oil, wheat germ, and a few other things, they sounded…interesting. I wanted to give them a shot, but I don’t have flax seed oil or wheat germ in the house. Also, I’m not the kind of person who can replace delicious, fluffy, white pancakes with something that tastes like cardboard and be okay with that.
Other “clean” versions I saw looked great, but were flavored: banana walnut, apple cinnamon, or pumpkin. All sound awesome, but I was craving good, old fashioned, butter-and-syrup-soaked pancakes.
So I thought I’d make up my own version. After a bit of trial and error, I came up with something that I consider a very happy medium (while still leaning heavily towards the healthy side of the spectrum). They’ve got great texture, tons of protein and fiber, and are very low in calories (especially compared to their delicious white flour/white sugar predecessor). And much to my surprise, they don’t taste like cardboard!
The recipe below will yield 6 small pancakes.
First, you’ll need a blender or food processor. I used a blender and it was perfect. Plus, it’s a one-bowl recipe this way — you can even pour them from the blender directly into the skillet.
Add the following ingredients to your blender:
- 1/3 cup plain almond milk
- 3 egg whites
- Dash of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. agave nectar (or substitute 2 tsp. honey)
- 1 tsp. expeller-pressed coconut oil (this is the variety that does not have a coconut smell or flavor, it’s neutral; or use any other vegetable/seed oil)
- 1 cup of dry oats (not steel cut, just plain old Quaker or whatever)
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. medium- or fine-ground corn meal (not necessary but I love it for texture)
- Dash of salt
Now buzz all of it together for a good 30 seconds or so. The main point is to combine everything but also to chop up the oats so that the mixture resembles a smooth batter. The best way to control for a runnier or thicker batter is to reduce or increase the almond milk. I made one pancake with less almond milk and it was good, but different. Very thick and had a tougher muffin-like texture. See picture below.
Once it’s blended to your desired consistency, get a skillet warming on the stove over medium heat. To prevent sticking, I use a dab of the coconut oil and rub it around the skillet with my fingers (before it gets hot, of course). Spray oil would be fine, but I recently read that these can contain dangerous chemicals. If you read the ingredients on most of them, you’ll see “propellant” listed. The manufacturers don’t disclose what this propellant is (WTF, FDA?), but a study showed that it is usually isobutane or propane. All set with using grill fuel in my pancakes. I’ve heard there are air-powered oil misters too, which are totally safe. Annnnyway, whatever floats your boat.
From here, proceed as you would with normal pancakes. Once the skillet is hot, pour the batter into the pan. Wait for a few bubbles to form (2 minutes or so) and then flip, finishing up for about 1 minute on the other side. Then just stack ’em and serve.
One thing to note. If you have extra batter, go ahead and make the pancakes and save them after they’re cooked. Baking powder is most effective right after it’s combined with other ingredients — this ensures fluffier pancakes.
I topped mine with a small pat of butter (oops) and more agave nectar. I’ve been using this a lot because by volume, it’s twice as sweet as corn syrup, not processed the way white sugars are, and it’s main selling point: it has a very low glycemic index, meaning it won’t have a jolting effect on your blood sugar levels. It’s really tasty too!
Each pancake contains 75 calories (when you make 6 total out of the recipe above). Perfect indulgent breakfast for those of us watching our figures. 🙂