Lighter Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes 4-5 small pancakes.
Serves 1 larger appetite or 2 smaller appetites.
As far as I'm concerned, it's still pumpkin season. This recipe was inspired by the pumpkin pancakes from the Quinoa 365 cookbook, which are delicious and decadent, but are a pretty heavy breakfast. I've created this lighter healthier version based on the more traditional paleo pancakes I whip up quickly in my blender.
These little pancakes still have all the flavour of the originals (granted they have a fraction of the sugar, so aren't as sweet), but are higher in protein and fiber and lower in sugar and simple carbs - win!
I use Nutracleanse to help bind and thicken the pancakes without flour, and it also adds a good amount of fiber. Nutracleanse is a blend of psyllium and flaxseeds, so you can make your own at home if you can't find it in a store near you. Nope, they're not paying me to say this - it's just a fiber supplement that I like that I recommend to my clients often. You can check to see where it's available on their website if you're interested. The psyllium has lots of soluble fiber in it, which can help to regulate cholesterol levels in addition to the usual fiber benefits like regular bowels, healthy gut flora, and protection against colon cancer, diverticulitis, and more!
Enough about fiber. If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know how important it is, and I'm sure I'll talk about it more in future posts! ;) Now, back to the pancakes. Warm, spiced fall goodness!
- A good blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix for this, but I think it would be fine in a magic bullet or other blender as well.
- Good non-stick frying pan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small spatula and flipper
- 1/2 cup egg whites (I use the liquid ones in a carton. If you don't have these you could also sub whole eggs - I think it would be about 3-4 large eggs, but measure to check!)
- 2 Tbsp Nutracleanse (or make your own - use a blend of flax and psyllium husk. If you can't find psyllium use just ground flax or flax and chia seeds, but your pancake batter won't be quite as thick)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree - I like this organic, BPA free one from Farmers Market Foods
- 1-2 Tbsp oat bran or quick oats (optional, but adding will give a bit more of a true-pancake texture once they're cooked)
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice - try my homemade one!
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener
- 1/4-1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (about 1 Tbsp) - again optional.
- splash of milk (any kind) to thin the batter.
- Put your large non-stick frying pan on an element over medium/medium-low heat. This is about 4-5 on my stove. When you're making pancakes you always want to pour the batter into an already hot pan. You also want to make sure the pan isn't too hot - if it is you're pancakes will be overcooked on the outside and won't cook through.
- While your pan is heating put the egg whites, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, Nutracleanse, maple syrup, vanilla, oats and protein powder (if you're adding them) into your blender and blend well. The batter will be very runny after blending.
- Let the batter stand 1-2 minutes on the counter. It'll thicken up a fair bit in this time.
- When your pan is heated and the batter has thickened, add the baking powder and blend the batter again. This helps to get the batter to a good consistency to pour or scoop into the pan. If you find your batter has gotten too thick (mine often does) add a splash of milk while you're blending until it's the consistency you want.
- Pour the batter into the pan in small pancakes and cook until the bottom side has set. If your batter is really thick you might not get the bubbles you usually wait for when you cook pancakes. Perfect pancake cooking can be a game of patience. When you lift the edge of a pancake with a flipper it should be a bit golden and the pancake should stay together when you lift it to flip it. That's how you'll know they're ready.
- Flip the pancakes and let them cook for another 3-4 minutes, depending on your stove. The pancakes should be golden on the bottom side and cooked through. They will be very moist!
- Take the pancakes off the heat and serve them with whatever toppings you like. See my ideas below.
- Greek yogurt + crumbled walnuts + maple syrup (pictured)
- Candied pecans + whipping cream or greek yogurt (if you're feeling more decadent)
- Pumpkin spice syrup - whisk together leftover pureed pumpkin, maple syrup and pumpkin spice
Nutrition info is for the entire recipe, with 1 Tbsp oat bran added, without any toppings! This is more than enough for a small appetite, and plenty for a larger appetite.
Highlights and Swaps:
- Did you know that pumpkin is a good source of iron and Vitamin A?
- If you're trying to get more iron from your diet, it helps to pair your plant sources of iron like pumpkin and spinach with a food that's high in Vitamin C. Have some sliced fruit like kiwi, cantaloupe, or orange on the side with your breakfast to get this added benefit.
- Egg whites are a great lean protein. They have all of the protein found in eggs, but without the cholesterol and fats. I know this is a bit controversial and I'll save that for another post, but if you're watching your egg intake for any reason the whites are still a good option. Don't mistake this to mean I'm suggesting that everyone should avoid eating whole eggs - eggs are still a good nutritious food!
- If you're over pumpkin and pumpkin spice, this recipe works really well with banana instead of pumpkin. Just skip the pumpkin spice and add cinnamon instead.
Happy cooking! :)