We’re going to stick our neck out and say that pancakes are maybe the most delicious breakfast food around. And we’re not the only ones who think this way.
Some of the earliest accounts of pancake eating go back 5,000 years, with records of pancake-making (and eating) found in both Ancient Greek and Roman texts. Different cultures have since adapted the mix to their tastes, from the wafer-thin crepes enjoyed on the continent and Japan’s hefty okonomiyakis to those fluffy mounds in North America or the buckwheat blinis ubiquitous in the Baltic.
Here at Form, we’re all about the vegan life, so we take ours without dairy and with a sprinkle of vegan protein powder added to the mix for a welcome nutritious hit. Luckily that’s exactly how Amy Lanza, friend of Form and the brains behind the brilliant, plant-based food blog Nourishing Amy, takes hers. So to help you (and ourselves) in your protein pancake endeavours we asked Amy if she could help us get the necessary basics down. From there you can adapt your protein pancakes to however you like them, just as humankind has done for centuries.
Nourishing Amy’s Top Protein Pancake Tips
The Baking Powder To Soda Ratio
Finding the correct balance of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda is key: not too much otherwise you’ll have super fluffy pancakes that taste awful, but just enough to get that fluffy inside texture.
I also love to use a vegan homemade ‘buttermilk’ for fluffiness and as an egg replacer which keeps the pancakes light and airy. Simply stir together some plant-based milk and an acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
As far as other egg replacers go, you can use mashed banana which adds natural sweetness to the batter as well as binding it together like an egg would do. There are also chia seeds and ground flaxseeds which are both great but not everyone has them at home. My favourite would definitely be a vegan buttermilk as it is the most accessible.
Pick Your Flour Wisely
Some recipes call for half flour, half protein powder, where the powder acts as a flour. This adds a lot of flavour to the mix, and protein too, but don’t overdo it.
I love using oat flour (grind up oats in a blender into a fine flour) as it is naturally gluten-free, as well as buckwheat flour. A less common flour, but perhaps my favourite, is chickpea flour. It has more of a flavour to it and is great for sweet and savoury pancake options and is naturally GF. If gluten isn’t an issue, classic plain flour works a treat and I love the wholesome nuttiness of spelt flour.
A Great Pan Is The Key
Finally, the key to a perfect protein pancake has to be the pan. It has to be non-stick (changing your pans regularly is a real game-changer) and lightly greased with oil.
Only start frying your pancakes when the pan is really hot and keep it at a medium-high temperature to cook the pancakes: too hot and the pancakes will crisp and stay raw in the middle, too low and they’ll never crisp up properly but dry out. Also, remember that the first pancake is usually the worst, so use that one as a tester.
The Most Common Protein Pancake Mistakes
Don’t Use Too Much Protein Powder
A key mistake when making protein pancakes is using too much protein. If your batter is more than half protein powder, the resulting pancakes tend to be dry, rubbery, and fall apart. To prevent this, reduce the protein powder and increase the flour element of the batter.
Have Enough Liquid To Hand
Often the batter will not hold together either, which is where a vegan egg replacer or vegan buttermilk will really help. It also adds a lot of moisture to the batter. Protein powders absorb a lot of liquid, so make sure to use enough liquid like milk, mashed banana, apple puree, or mashed sweet potato for example.
A Little Bit Of Fat Can Be Your Friend
Another key tip is to add a bit of fat to the batter to help with the light and fluffy texture and to hold the pancake shape: some nut butter or melted coconut oil works a treat.
The Best Protein Pancake Flavours To Serve Up
There are so many flavour combinations to make with protein pancakes and depending on the flavoured protein you use, you can really let your imagination run wild.
You can never go wrong with chocolate chunk pancakes drizzled with more chocolate, some fresh berries, syrup, and cacao nibs. Caramelised banana will make any pancake stack even better (simply fry off sliced banana in coconut oil and syrup until golden and sticky) and goes especially well with vanilla pancakes spread thickly with crunchy peanut butter.
Try cinnamon roasted pears and lots of almond butter and cinnamon for a warming autumnal stack or in the summer, I love lots of cooling coconut yoghurt, fresh tropical fruits, and tahini.
My key points to make any pancake stack exciting would be add something warm like melted chocolate or warmed berries, add something cooling and smooth like yoghurt or ice cream, top with something crunchy like cacao nibs or granola, and then finish with something sticky like syrup or nut butter.
2 Delicious Pancake Recipes To Get You Started
Mini Oat Pancakes
- 100g oat or plain flour (grind oats into a flour in a blender)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 120ml plant-based milk
- 2 tbsp syrup
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Coconut oil, for frying
- To serve: fresh or frozen fruit, yoghurt, syrup, nut butter
- To a bowl add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and stir. Whisk in the milk, syrup and lemon juice until thick and smooth. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag or resealable bag and cut the end off (or skip this step to use a spoon). Heat some coconut oil in a large frying pan and pipe some of the pancake batter to form mini pancakes, about the size of a £2 coin. Or, use a teaspoon to drop the batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes for 1-2 minutes until cooked underneath, flip over and cook on the second side. Repeat to cook all the pancakes.
- Serve warm or cold with fruit, yoghurt, syrup and nut butter.
Blueberry Vanilla Protein Pancakes
- 100g oats
- 1 ripe banana
- 60g vanilla vegan protein powder
- 240ml plant-based milk
- ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 100 blueberries
- To serve: extra berries, yoghurt, syrup, nut butter
- Add all the pancake ingredients, apart from the blueberries, to a blender and process until thick and smooth. Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Heat a large non-stick pan with a little coconut or other oil and add 1 large tablespoon of batter. Sprinkle over a few blueberries and cook for a few minutes until bubbles form and the edges are browning, flip over and cook until golden on both sides. Repeat to use all the batter.
- If necessary, keep the pancakes warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature.
- Serve stacked and topped with your favourite toppings.