Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes // Gluten & Sugar Free!

I am so excited to share our first recipe that I developed out of our Healthy Start 7 challenge (which I first introduced to you yesterday in my New Year's Resolution #3 (Part 2) post). While a pancake recipe was not included in the Healthy Start 7 meal plan for breakfast, quinoa was a huge staple of the challenge. When first preparing for this challenge I remember thinking, What are we going to eat for breakfast? While I enjoy smoothies, I don't want one every day. And eggs are great (which was the only dairy included for extra protein), but I often enjoy warm grains in the morning - oatmeal, whole wheat pancakes or toast. When quinoa pancakes were suggested as an alternative to my normal whole wheat, I was up for a new cooking challenge.

I scoured Pinterest and my other go-to sites for a start on a good recipe. Many of the quinoa recipes I found still include all-purpose flour...not allowed on our plan. Or there was the other extreme (one of which I attempted), which included no flour and was super wet and watery, and lets just say it ended up in the trash. Quinoa alone didn't work out for me. Many recipes also called for traditional sugars, which we were also avoiding during this challenge. (To get super technical, we weren't supposed to be using any flours, baking soda, etc., but at the end of the day, this is still the healthiest pancake I've ever eaten!)

So what's a girl to do? I wanted a truly healthy pancake that met our challenge requirements and still tasted good...not some I'll-choke-it-down-because-I-know-it's-good-for-me experiment. I took the tips I found from the all-quinoa recipes and what I know from making my own whole wheat versions and *boom* this recipe was born. It was a major hit with both the hubby and our little one who regularly begs for "cakes" (aka, pancakes)...my true motivation for making a healthier version.

NOTE:: I have made this recipe with and without a sugar substitute. It is just as yummy without. I'd encourage you to try it without and opt for your sweetness to come from a small amount of maple syrup, raw honey or sugar-free jam on top! However, if you so choose, I recommend a dry sugar substitute, such as stevia. I originally used coconut sugar (shown in the photos below) in this recipe but I didn't feel it made a huge difference in the taste. If you want to try a wet sugar substitute, try using less lemon juice and more lemon zest to keep the lemon flavor while reducing your liquid. Try 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp raw honey, molasses, or fresh (not from concentrate) apple juice.

((Stay tuned:: I'll be sharing my research on sugar substitutes soon and will post the link here when it's published. What I found may surprise you.))

1 C uncooked quinoa
3/4 C almond milk
2 Tbsp shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp ground flax
1/4 tsp sea salt
(optional: alternative sugar*)
2/3 C coconut flour
1tsp baking soda
1 C wild blueberries

How I made it::

1. Thoroughly rinse your quinoa (this is good to do anytime you make it as it helps remove the bitterness). Soak in filtered water overnight, or for several hours. Drain and rinse.

2. Add rinsed quinoa to blender with almond milk, coconut shreds, coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, flax, and salt. Also add sugar substitute at this point, if using. Blend thoroughly. You can't over blend it so make sure the quinoa is really ground.

3. Whisk baking soda and flour in separate bowl, stir into wet ingredients until incorporated. Batter will be fluffy and slightly thick.

4. Stir in blueberries and set griddle/pan to medium heat.

5. Use a small bit of coconut oil to coat pan so the batter doesn't stick. Then follow this timer flow I use to cook each pancake evenly and without burning them. Plus, I only have to set my timer for one time, which is helpful. But do whatever works for you!
  • Set timer to 2 minutes.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan, shimmy pan so batter spreads out. 
  • At 2 minutes, flip cake. 
  • *Reset 2 minute timer.*
  • At 1 minute, remove pancake from heat, add more coconut oil to grease pan, pour batter to make next cake. 
  • Allow 20-30 seconds of timer to run out, reset timer and continue cooking first side of pancake for 2 minutes. 
  • Flip and repeat from ** until out of batter.

6. Serve with maple syrup and butter, or honey and/or sugar-free jam (on pretty paper plates for easy clean up...because, hey this mama has plenty of other dishes to do already with all the cooking that goes on around here!).


**Baby and husband approved**

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