Why protein pancakes?
My first words were “mm, good” while licking a cake beater, and I’ve been a baking enthusiast ever since. So when I transitioned to a plant-based diet to address my gut health and rheumatoid arthritis, I wasn’t going to give up baking. First things first, I had to figure out a pancake recipe that fit my new “food as medicine” diet. I like pancakes because they mimic cake, yet I can tailor the recipe for one serving—because everyone in my household knows I will eat an entire recipe of cookies in 24 hours if left to my own devices. It’s best to portion control myself with the recipe itself.
I’m also a dessert junkie. Getting protein into my diet requires constant effort. If I can make pancakes and get protein at the same time, it’s a win-win.
How important are these ingredients?
My approach to making major diet changes is to figure out one or two healthy, comfort-food staples that nourish my body as well as my food cravings, so I have a crutch while transitioning to a new way of eating. This recipe delivers a whopping 34 grams of plant protein as well as three different plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids to keep my microbiome healthy: flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Because I believe a healthy microbiome is the key for a healthy life, I think about my microbiome every time I put something into my mouth.
I’m also a big believer in plant-based sources of protein. I love this recipe because it doesn’t use eggs or dairy, and I don’t miss those things. These pancakes are still moist because of the pureed pumpkin or sweet potato.
Also, I like using oat flour because it’s naturally sweeter than other flours. It’s also gluten-free and a good source of fiber.
Lastly, while I love a good icing or glaze on my baked goods, I don’t love sugar crashes. By mixing a tablespoon of maple syrup with powdered peanut butter, I’m getting both the “icing” that I crave while getting an added kick of protein and avoiding a sugar crash.
The importance of omega-3 fatty acids.
In Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, it says omega-3 polyunsaturated fats “promote the growth of beneficial microbes, correct dysbiosis, and reduce bacterial endotoxin release. They even enhance microbial diversity. These fats actually protect the microbiome” (page 43). The health of the microbiome is important because “all health and disease starts in the gut” (Fiber Fueled page 12). I get 2+ servings of Omega-3s from ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, chia seeds and walnuts daily. Making vegan protein pancakes is a fun, easy, way to get Omega-3s into my diet.
Customize it to your taste.
While my husband dislikes cinnamon, I think you can never have too much cinnamon. To each her own. For this reason, I believe all recipes should be customized to your liking. Experiment. Play. If you prefer oat milk, use that. Don’t like cinnamon? Use another spice or delete it altogether. Tired of pumpkin? Switch it up and use mashed bananas instead. You get the point, right? Besides, switching it up is good for your gut because it means you’re eating different plants. “By focusing on diversity of plants, you maximize the different nutrients that your food contains to reverse your medical problems and even heal the ones that you don’t yet realize exist. And by choosing plant diversity, you are fueling your microbiome with the scientifically proven number one determinant of a healthy gut” (Fiber Fueled page 76). Repeat after me: diversity, diversity, diversity.
Vegan Protein Pancakes
Pancake Batter Dry Ingredients
- 1/4 cup oat flour (gluten-free as necessary)
- 2 tbsp Anthony's premium pea protein, unflavored
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Pancake Batter Wet Ingredients
- 1/2 cup pistachio milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp sweet potato (or pumpkin) puree
Pancake Batter Stir-Ins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1+ tbsp water (to desired consistency)
- Preheat your cast iron griddle on low heat (or pan of your choice) while preparing the pancake batter.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients and stir.
- Add the pistachio milk slowly, just shy of ½ cup gets the batter to the consistency I like.
- Lastly stir in the walnuts and chia seeds. Chia seeds soak up the moisture in the batter, so don’t add the chia seeds until you’re ready to put the batter on the griddle.
- I typically place a little olive oil on the griddle before I place the batter on it, and I make two large pancakes. Flip the pancakes when they look slightly brown on the edges.
- While the pancakes are cooking, in a small dish, mix the syrup ingredients together to the consistency you prefer.
- When the pancakes are done, place the first pancake on your plate, then add half of the syrup. Then place the second pancake on top and add the rest of the syrup (like you’re icing a double layer cake).
- Add toppings. I typically add berries, but any fruit of your choice works: bananas, apples, berries, etc.