Quick & Easy Banana Oat Pancakes

My husband Jeremy has been making me pancakes for breakfast quite regularly on the weekend for years. On Saturday mornings when I get home from the gym he’ll have pancakes waiting for me. His recipe is not necessarily complicated, but it’s not super fast to make which is why pancakes were reserved exclusively for weekends or when we have more time to prep, cook and clean up.

I was recently in Alabama visiting my my sister and her family. One morning my 3 year-old-niece Marley wanted me to make her pancakes. I was tempted to make Jeremy’s recipe, but time was tight and there was lots of commotion as we hurried to get Marley ready for daycare. It dawned on me that I could probably simplify things a bit and create a quick, easy recipe that my niece would like and that my sister could recreate on busy mornings. I took to google as I usually do and came across this stellar recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. I ultimately ended up modifying the recipe but it provided the inspiration I needed. I’ve changed the quantities a bit, made some omissions and additions, but from the get-go these pancakes were a huge hit with my niece. My sister and my mom have both started making this recipe regularly. Jeremy also loves the simplicity of this recipe and he’s been making pancakes more often… even on weekdays!

This super simple recipe is vegan and gluten free. It contains ingredients most of us are likely to have in our kitchens. Bananas, oats, plant-based milk, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder & salt. That’s it! The bananas give the pancakes some sweetness and the oats take the place of flour. Although you could use quick oats, I recommend using rolled oats as they are higher in protein and fibre. Jeremy and I have played around with different variations of this recipe and have added flax and protein powder with great success.

Just a little disclaimer: these will not be your typical white, fluffy diner style pancakes. They are a bit more dense and not-so-fluffy, but if you are looking for a healthy, yet delicious, and quick alternative, give these a try! Scroll down for the full recipe and be sure to let me know how it goes or if you make any of your own modifications.

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BANANA OAT PANCAKES

Makes 6 - 8 small pancakes

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup of unsweetened plant-based milk
1 cup of rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
A big pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Add the bananas and plant-based milk to a blender and process on high for a minute (or until the bananas are thoroughly blended into the milk). Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high speed for a minute or two until the oats are fully processed and you have a nice, even batter consistency. If the batter is too thick you might need to loosen it by adding a bit more plant-based milk.

Warm a non-stick frying pan or griddle on medium-high heat. Lightly coat the surface with a bit of oil. Once the pan is hot pour the batter (in 1/4 - 1/3 cup batches) onto the hot surface directly from the blender or scoop out some batter using a ladle or measuring cup. Make sure the pancakes are relatively thin or they may not cook all the way through. Cook the first side until bubbles form on top (about 4 minutes). Gently lift the edges around the pancake with a spatula and then you should easily be able to flip it. Cook on the other side for 2 - 3 minutes. The pancake should be golden brown on both sides. Clean off the surface of your pan or griddle, if needed. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the batter.

Enjoy your freshly made pancakes topped with hemp hearts, blueberries, extra banana, maple syrup, nut or seed butter, or other toppings of your choice. We usually eat all our pancakes in one sitting, but they can be refrigerated for 3 - 4 days, or frozen for a month or so.

Notes from the kitchen:
- I’ve never had any trouble with this recipe, however if you your pancakes are too thick or too runny, you may need to increase the plant-based milk or the amount of oats.
- If the pancakes are still “raw” on the inside after cooking them, it could mean that your batter is to thick, or that your pancakes were too thick. Sometimes flattening down the pancakes when they are on the skillet or in the pan can help with this.
-A hot non-stick surface is the key to perfect pancakes. You’ll want to warm the pan/skillet for a few minutes before adding your batter.

If you enjoyed the recipe I shared above be sure to check out my Plant-Based Breakthrough program, which is a 4 week online crash course in health, nutrition, and meal planning.  For details on when the next program starts click here. You can also join the Plant-Based Breakthrough Community on Facebook where I share recipes, inspiration, and information on plant-based nutrition.

My Go-To Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble has been a staple in my diet for years and it’s definitely one of my favourite weekend breakfasts. Enjoyed on its own, or with a side of roasted veggies, a bit of salsa or guacamole, or a slice of toasted sourdough, it’s so so tasty! My friends and family love it too and I get requests for it regularly.

If you’re new to the world of tofu scramble, let me tell you, this dish is a game changer. The crumbled tofu is reminiscent of scrambled eggs, and I love jazzing it up with tons of veggies and aromatic spices. Turmeric, the anti-inflammatory superstar, gives the dish a yellowish colour and nutritional yeast adds a subtle hint of cheesiness.

When you read through the recipe you’ll notice I’ve listed an ingredient called “black salt” or “kala namak”. Although it’s called black salt it’s actually pink in colour. It’s not quite as salty as regular salt and it has a slightly sulphuric essence. It adds an eggy taste and aroma to the dish. I really enjoy adding it to the scramble, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any on hand. If you want to try it out, you can usually find black salt at Indian or ethnic grocers, some health food stores, or you can order it online.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. If so, please share your feedback in the comment section below and/or tag me on social media with your photos. I love to see what you’re cookin’!

TOFU SCRAMBLE

Makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoons turmeric
1 - 2 tablespoon chili powder
1 zucchini, diced
2 - 3 portobello mushrooms, stems removed, roughly chopped, optional
1 block organic firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces, using a potato masher, fork or your hands
1 large tomato or heaping handful of grape tomatoes, chopped or halved
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 - 3 tightly packed cups of leafy greens of your choice
Sea salt or black salt (kala namak) and pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions with a few pinches of salt, cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until they become slightly transparent. Add the peppers and sauté for a couple minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the chili powder and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the mushrooms and zucchini, cook, stirring every so often, to allowing them to release water (approximately 5 minutes).

Mix in the crumbled tofu. Then stir in the nutritional yeast, followed by the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. Then add the leafy greens and cook until they’ve wilted and have become bright green. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy.

You may wish to serve your scramble with a side of roasted potatoes, topped with avocado slices, or a few splashes of your favourite hot sauce.

Keeps in the fridge for 5 days.

If you enjoyed the recipe I shared above be sure to check out my Plant-Based Breakthrough program, which is a 4 week online crash course in health, nutrition, and meal planning.  For details on when the next program starts click here. You can also join the Plant-Based Breakthrough Community on Facebook where I share recipes, inspiration, and information on plant-based nutrition.

Photography by Ana Tavares.

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Chocolate Chia Pudding & Raw Brownie Bites

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed that I've been partnering up with Kardish Health Food Centre quite a bit lately.  Kardish is an Ottawa-based, family-run health food and natural products store with 9 locations across the city. I know many of the staff, the owners, and I've been to almost all of their stores and I couldn't have been more excited when Kardish's Director of Communications approached me to be its first nutrition ambassador. I'm so pleased to take on this role with such a fantastic local company.  This means I'll be doing lots of events and nutrition talks with Kardish in the coming year! Be sure to visit my events page regularly or sign-up for my newsletter to stay in the loop!

Recently Kardish created a Chocolate Guide (right on time for Valentine's Day!) and included a couple of my recipes. Both recipes are chocolate based, super easy to make and healthy too. The Guide also includes interesting chocolate facts, the health benefits of chocolate and also the best brands to buy.  CLICK HERE to access the guide. You can also scroll down to see the two recipe I provided. Please comment below or send me a message if you try any of the recipes. I always love getting feedback!

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Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

Happy Thanksgiving! Like most Canadians, I typically spend this weekend eating lots of foods among family or friends (for me the terms are a pretty much synonymous).  Generally, our plates are full of roasted or steamed root vegetables, peas, sauerkraut (growing up in Nova Scotia it was always Tankcook), mashed potatoes, and turkey (nowadays I swap out the turkey for homemade chickpea patties or a bean-based casserole).  Of course, there always has to be pumpkin, usually a pumpkin pie.  Keeping with the theme of friends, family and pumpkins, I invited my long time friend Heather to contribute one of her fantastic fall recipes. And yes, it includes pumpkin. 

Although Heather's been working in the financial industry for most of her career, she's one of the best home chefs I've had the pleasure of knowing. Her meals are always beautifully plated and full of flavour. Not only is she a great chef, but she's a foodie and is always in the know of food trends. Her trend spotting ability also applies to health products and health foods.  Naturally, we always have lots to talk about. 

As you may remember, I've written about chia in the past, and just to give credit where credit is due, it was actually Heather who first told me about these nutrient dense seeds. Years ago, I remember her talking about chia puddings and to this day, she's still making these puddings and coming up with new and creative recipes. In her post below, Heather shares her recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.  Read on and enjoy!

Guest blogger, Heather

Photo courtesy of  Katia Pershin .

Photo courtesy of Katia Pershin.

‘Tis the season: pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice everything. For some reason in the fall, I have a tendency to rebel against the pumpkin for a few weeks, but inevitably give in by Thanksgiving weekend. 

I’m a bit of a creature of habit. I actually don’t get bored by eating the same things over and over (and over) again. Lunches and dinners are varied, but my morning always begins with a smoothie, and rarely a day goes by where I don’t have hummus and celery sticks or Mary’s crackers for an afternoon snack. 

One of my habitual morning treats is chia pudding. I tend to make it year round, and I change up the flavours depending on the season. Last week, for the first time, I tried a seasonal autumn version by adding some pumpkin and spice. 

Chia seeds are a superfood that supplies a lot of bang for your buck. They are high in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and protein. They’re also loaded with antioxidants, and very easy to add to your diet! Pumpkins aren’t so shabby either, with one cup providing well over your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and like other bright orange vegetables, are full of beta-carotene. Their fibre content keeps you feeling full longer, and they’re high in vitamin C. Don’t throw away the seeds, either—those delicious, snackable pepitas are full of tryptophan, an animo acid that produces serotonin, a mood booster. 

Just one warning about the Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding: it ain’t pretty. 

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PUMPKIN SPICE CHIA PUDDING

Makes approximately 6  to 8 servings.  

Ingredients:

3 cups of pumpkin purée
1/3 cup of chia seeds
2.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
4 Tbsps pure maple syrup
1.5 Tbsps pumpkin pie spice
1 to 2 tsps cinnamon

There are two different methods of making this, depending on where your pumpkin purée comes from. I’ve tried it with both canned and roasted pumpkin. 

Roasting your own pumpkin version: 

Use one small pie pumpkin, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Rub a little bit of coconut oil on to the inner pieces before placing the halves (skin side up) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, then bake for 30 minutes at 400°. 

Once the pumpkin is cooked and cooled, the skin should come off easily. Then place the pumpkin flesh in to a blender or food processor with one cup of the almond milk and blend until smooth. 

In a mason jar or BPA-free plastic container, mix the chia seeds with the remaining almond milk and maple syrup. Then add the purée a cup at a time, and mix well with a wooden spoon, and continue with the recipe below. (This version, in my opinion, is much better tasting than the canned pumpkin version. Don’t forget to reserve the pumpkin seeds for roasting!) 

Canned pumpkin version: 

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, like a mason jar or BPA-free plastic container, mix the chia seeds, almond milk, and maple syrup, and shake until combined. Add the purée a cup at a time, and mix well with a wooden spoon.  (It will be very liquidy, but once the chia seeds start to absorb the almond milk, it will become much thicker.) 

Now that you've combined your purée, chia seeds, almond milk, and maple syrup, add the spices and mix well again. 

Put the jar or plastic container in the fridge overnight. By morning you will have a thick, slightly lumpy, superfood pudding, ready to eat for a healthy breakfast or snack. The seeds don’t break down, but rather expand with liquid, so the texture is reminiscent of tapioca. And like I mentioned above, this recipe would never make the cover of a food magazine; she’s no supermodel. Just remember, it’s what on the inside that counts!