A green breakfast: Zucchini pancakes

zucchini pancakes

My sweet tooth has convinced me that virtually any food can be dessert. Olive oil potato chips, for example, are excellent in chocolate fondue. The fruity/floral flavors go so well with chocolate that I’m surprised olive oil truffles aren’t out on the market. Nutella pizza from Pie (“pie” is New York-speak for a whole pizza) is a novel idea, although it can be replicated by spreading Nutella on any white pizza (with ricotta cheese and no tomato sauce).

So when I had a leftover zucchini, my immediate thought was to make it into something sweet. Zucchini bread is a well-known option, but I wanted something acceptable for breakfast. So I took a pancake recipe and added some zucchini and slightly reduced the liquid to compensate.

I also substituted the milk and eggs with vegan ingredients for health and environmental reasons. I generally avoid meat, dairy, and eggs because their plant-based counterparts have the same proteins but more antioxidants and fiber. However, the amount of animal products in baked goods is so negligible that I don’t obsess over them. I also make exceptions for treats, like ice cream/gelato and Shake Shack burgers.

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

If five-grain flapjacks sound more like a five-pound rock in your stomach, don’t worry. You won’t taste the zucchini (just like you don’t taste carrots in carrot cake). Try these with grated carrots or apples, too.

Whisk together in a large bowl:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal, preferably stone ground
1/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Whisk together in another bowl:

1 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp plain soy milk
3 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax seeds

Add to the wet ingredients:

1 packed cup (about 1 large) grated zucchini

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto a heated (medium heat or 350 F), greased griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. Cook until the top of each bancake is speckled with bubbles and some bubbles have popped, then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 F oven while you finish cooking the rest. Serve with pure maple syrup or honey.

Makes about 24 4-inch pancakes.

The batter is thick, so it will puff up but not spread.

Soy milk and flax seed brown quickly, so turn down the heat if the insides are taking a relatively long time to cook.

For traditional pancakes, use 1 1/4 cup milk, 3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, and 3 large eggs (instead of the flax seed).

To completely veganize the recipe, substitute the honey with an equal amount of agave nectar or golden syrup. Or, use a scant 1/3 cup of vegan granulated sugar and reduce the soy milk by 3/4 Tbsp.

Pancakes freeze beautifully. Wrap cooled pancakes in plastic and re-heat (no need to defrost) in a toaster. The edges will re-crisp, giving you a fresh-off-the-griddle sensation.

Vegan Resources:
The Post Punk Kitchen’s guide to veganizing baked goods

Vegan food pyramid-how to plan your diet accordingly

Why go vegan? Read The China Study for a compelling argument.

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