The Green Pancake Challenge

Earlier this week, one of my friends invited me over for St. Patrick’s Day pancakes.  I immediately offered to make them because…well, she knows why.  Then she challenged me to make them green – WITHOUT artificial coloring!  Not being one to turn down a challenge, I got to work.

I immediately thought of savory pancakes, like zucchini or potato with spinach, but that seemed like cheating.  We wanted a pancake to eat with maple syrup, that just happened to be green.  Then it occurred to me that if I can make a green smoothie sweet and delicious in spite of its spinach content, why not a pancake with spinach and banana?

My first batch started with my regular pancake recipe as a base, which includes a banana and a flax egg, simply with the addition of half a cup of frozen thawed spinach, squeezed as dry as I could make it and blenderized with the milk.  They were tasty, but tasted very strongly of banana and were much too moist and dense, as well as so thick that they couldn’t be cooked through.  (I’ll save that batch for when everyone’s really wasted.)  I did think that with a few minor modifications  they’d make great muffins.  Since my heat was out this morning yet again, I made the changes and baked some fabulous bright green muffins.

Mixing up my green batter.

Mixing up my green batter.

While the muffins were in the oven warming my apartment, I got back to work on the pancakes.  I added more milk and halved the banana, while also upping the sugar content to make up for the lost sweetness of half a banana.  I’m not totally convinced they really needed more sugar, but I included it here, since I haven’t tried making them with less.  After cooking the first two, I could tell they still weren’t perfect, so in a burst of inspiration, I threw in a handful of oatmeal.  Pancake perfection!  Moist but not soggy, not too dense or too airy, and bright green inside.  The Green Pancake Challenge is won.  Plus, you get two recipes in a single entry!  Happy St Pat’s, and happy eating.

Ingredients for Green Pancakes:

1 c white flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c rolled oats

2 T sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

a dash each of cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice

2 c plant milk (I used almond)

1/2 very ripe banana

1/2 c frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as you can

2 T maple syrup

2 T canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

1.  Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.  Blend wet ingredients until smooth in a blender.

3.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined.  There can be some small lumps; it’s important not to overmix!

4.  Fry them in a non-stick skillet over medium heat like any other pancake, and serve with maple syrup.

Shamrock cake!

Shamrock cake!

Ingredients for Green Muffins:

3/4 c white flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 c sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each ginger and cardamom

2 T ground flax

1/2 c frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible

1 1/2 c plant milk (I used almond)

1 very ripe banana

1 tsp vanilla

Optional but highly recommended: 1/2 c mini semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375F and lightly oil a muffin tin for 12 muffins.

2.  Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3.  Blend wet ingredients until smooth in a blender.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

5.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 25 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

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