Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quinoa Oat Pancakes

I suppose that since it's January it's about time I post something Utterly, Unapologetically Healthy (UUH--quite the acronym, isn't it). And I don't know what says "Utterly Unapologetically Healthy" better than quinoa--that grain of the gods, superfood of the Mayans, iron-filled, full-proteined, and now suburban mother pantry staple. Sure we're going to put that UUH  food in pancakes and you're probably going to pour syrup on it (I myself would never do such a thing to a UHH food). And one day soon you will thank me for it.

Let me tell you something personal. In the last several months my oldest child--the almost debilitatingly picky one--has been struggling with some tummy trouble. I'm not sure what's going on with him yet, but I suspect that no matter what it is his limited diet (wheat products for breakfast, dinner, and lunch) isn't helping his gut. Recently we tried a little gluten-free stint (we tried this for just over a week until I read that I won't get an accurate reading on blood tests if he's not eating gluten). Our gluten-free experiement was as they say in France--Outrageously Successful (OS). (And, no, they don't really say that in France.) My son had been feeling lousy enough for the past month to try almost anything. Which is saying A LOT because every other thing we've ever tried (bribes, threats, peer pressure, shopping together, cooking together, being strict, being loose, every thing every book/magazine has ever suggested) hasn't done much to sway him in his eating until now. But recently we've tried all kinds of new foods. Strangely this tummy trouble and the no-gluten limitation sort of seemed to give Mark the freedom to let go of all his conceptions and pre-conceptions and just try some stuff with an open mind. All kinds of food. All kinds. Why only last week, he polished off two bowls of African peanut soup (peanut butter, coconut milk, onions, garlic, butternut squash, tomatoes, peppers, etc.). This being the child who routinely used to refuse new breakfast cookies (sugar, fat, whole grain, maybe something healthy) because "it smells like banana." So, yes, we've really improved leaps and bounds. Truth be told, Mark's still not too hot on meat. But tons of other things have been OS with him. These pancakes were one of those things. In our pre-tummy-ache-life, he would have seen them and noticed that they sort of looked like they had texture and he would have refused him outright. Even if I forced him to have a bite or two, he would have insisted that he didn't like them just on principle. But this time...this time--He LOVED them (OS for the UUH). My kids ALL loved them. As he snarfed them down, he said, "Mom, these are even better than regular pancakes." So I tried one too. And he was right. They are better than normal pancakes. 

They're a simple and not too crazy way to break out of the All-American wheat for breakfast, lunch, dinner rut. Because I know that there's at least someone out there with a bag of quinoa in her pantry who's terrified of touching it.

Quinoa Oat Pancakes
adapted from A Pretty Life In the Suburbs
makes 10 large, 20 smallish pancakes
Prep and cook time: 20-30 minutes (but quinoa must be pre-cooked, so that's another 15-20 if you've got to cook it)
Cost: $.90
oat flour (homemade in blender): .15, eggs: .20, buttermilk (milk and vinegar--we didn't have the real stuff): .20, quinoa: .30, other stuff: .05

Note on Quinoa: Quinoa can be found in most health food stores. It's usually cheaper if you can buy it from the bulk bins. You prepare it as you would oatmeal--2 C water to 1 C quinoa. Bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid gone and quinoa tender. You can just eat it like oatmeal too and it's good. It also freezes really well cooked, so if you make more than you need, you can freeze it to make these pancakes later, or to serve it as a side like you would serve rice, or to have as your breakfast grain like you would oatmeal.

Another important note on Quinoa that I almost forgot: Quinoa has a natural soapy coating if you don't rinse it before cooking (this is why pests never ate it in ancient times). So if you got it from bulk bins, rinse it before cooking. That said, if you should ever happen to forget to rinse it first (not that I would ever forget anything like that), you can rinse it afterwards and the world will be right. That said, if you even forget that and still make it in these pancakes you won't be able to taste anything soapy (though if you eat is as you would oatmeal, you probably will).

1 1/2 C oat flour (you can make your own in a blender--cheap and easy)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 C buttermilk (if you don't have any combine 1 1/2 C milk with 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C cooked quinoa

First you've got to cook your quinoa (rinse it first if it's from bulk bins). If you eat it on a regular basis, this is the perfect way to use up leftovers. If you're terrified of the stuff, see the note above.

Combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

To this add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk.

Then stir in the cooked quinoa. This batter will seem thinner than normal batter. You can let it sit for a few minutes and that will get the baking powder and soda working and make the batter a bit thicker, but it will also poof up a bit when heated, giving you a normal pancake. If you're nervous about thinness, add a couple more Tbsp oat flour.

Pour batter onto a buttered skillet and cook over medium heat. Flip and repeat.



  1. I made these for dinner tonight and told my kids they were 'oatmeal pancakes'. They liked them! I think you could use steel cut oats instead of quinoa if you were so inclined.

  2. I can't wait to try these!

    And this picture with syrup dripping down the pancakes makes me CRAVE pancakes! YUM!




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