These hearty pancakes are made with oats instead of wheat flour so they're naturally gluten free. They're also a cinch to make and crazy good. Plus, you can make a double or triple batch to freeze so you can have have a quick breakfast anytime. Trust me, once you make these healthy pancakes you'll be hooked!
My mom was definitely in charge of meals when we were growing up. She diligently put dinner on the table six nights per week (the seventh night was "cereal night," but that's another story for another day) and made sure we were fed for all the breakfasts and lunches in between. Every once in a while, though, my dad made an appearance in the kitchen. And when he decided to cook, it was usually breakfast. Pancakes in particular. Or maybe waffles. If he was feeling crazy.
He liked to use The Joy of Cooking pancake recipe, a classic for a reason. Then he'd top the fluffy white-flour cakes with plenty of maple syrup and a squirt of whipped cream from the can. If we were lucky he'd also squirt the whipped cream directly in our mouths. It was a bit of a sugar fest.
I loved those pancake breakfasts, but as I've changed my habits and focused more on healthy eating I skip those decadent pancakes. I couldn't handle the blood sugar crash and I always ended up hungry within an hour of eating them. Then, a few months ago Elle asked for pancakes and I realized she'd never eaten a pancake. Gasp! It's really not that I was trying to deprive my 3 year old of such a classic breakfast, it's more that we just got stuck in a breakfast rut.
After coming to this realization I quickly set out to create a healthy pancake we could make anytime we craved the breakfast treat. I ground whole oats in the blender to create an oat flour to use in place of wheat flour. It's pretty simple to make your own oat flour in a blender, but if you're not into it you can buy pre-made at many grocery stores and natural food markets. These pancakes are naturally gluten free. If you're sensitive to gluten check your oats to make sure they are certified gluten free. I also used non-dairy milk and coconut oil making this recipe naturally dairy free as well. If you're vegan or have an egg allergy you could try these pancakes using flax eggs instead of eggs. I didn't test them this way, but if you do let us know how they turn out in the comments.
These pancakes are slightly sweet from a hint of maple syrup in the batter and made extra special with a topping of fresh sliced nectarines and cherries. You certainly don't have to use nectarines and cherries though, feel free to use any seasonal fruit you like as a topping. You can also add an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter breakfast. I'm happy to report that Elle went crazy for these pancakes. The only problem I have now is that she asks for them every single morning. Maybe she and my dad, "papa," can start a new tradition and make these together.
The good news is that these healthy pancakes freeze really well. Go ahead and make a triple batch to freeze for a quick weekday breakfast. To freeze, place a piece of parchment or plastic wrap in between each pancake so you'll be able to remove one at a time. Then place the separated pancakes in an airtight container or plastic bag and put them in the freezer.
When you're ready for a quick breakfast, simply place a pancake in the toaster or warm oven to reheat. Note that this recipe only makes six medium-sized pancakes, so if you're feeding a hungry crowd be sure to double the recipe. Leftovers are also great smeared with almond butter and topped with additional fruit or naturally sweetened jam. So good!
Kid-friendly notes. These pancakes are a hit with kids, but here are some options for resistant eaters:
- Serve the fruit on the side.
- Offer maple syrup drizzled over or on the side for dipping.
Now, onto the recipe!
Oatmeal Pancakes with Nectarines and Cherries
⅔ cup non-dairy milk (I used Super-Fast Cashew Milk)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can substitute butter)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole oats or oat flour*
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 nectarines, thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup cherries, pitted (optional)
maple syrup for serving
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, coconut oil (or butter), vinegar, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs. Don't worry if the melted coconut oil solidifies when combined with cold ingredients; just make sure everything is well mixed together.
2. Pour one cup of rolled oats (if not using pre-made oat flour) into a food processor or high-speed blender and process until it is ground well.
3. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the oat flour. Pulse once or twice until well combined. If using pre-ground oat flour simply combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and stir together.
4. Add the oat flour mixture to the the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. It’s okay if there are a few lumps. The batter will be thin. It will thicken a bit while it sits but it should remain thin and pourable. If it thickens too much add a splash of milk to thin it out.
5. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or nonstick griddle over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, lightly oil the cooking surface with butter or coconut oil. Ladle or pour ¼ cup batter onto the pan for each pancake, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Let the pancakes cook until small bubbles form on the tops and the underside is golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Once the bottom side has cooked sufficiently, flip and cook for another couple of minutes or so, until golden brown on both sides.
7. Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven. To serve, top pancakes with sliced nectarines, cherries, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
8. To freeze, allow pancakes to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer, separating each pancake with parchment paper or plastic wrap. When read to eat, reheat in a warm oven or toaster.
*You can purchase pre-made oat flour at many grocery stores and natural food markets these days. If you are gluten-free be sure to buy oats that are specifically labeled gluten-free.
Makes 6 pancakes.
This recipe was adapted from Cookie + Kate's Caramelized Peach and Oat Pancakes.
Making this recipe? Let me know what you think and any adaptations you make in the comments. I really love hearing from you!
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