Monday, January 17, 2011

Vegan Coconut-Oat Pancakes with Blackberry-Peach Compote

It’s January, which means many of us are attempting to eat healthier to negate the many calories packed on over the holidays.  I'm trying to eat better this year, but not because I overate this past month (or did I, hm), but because my detox diet last year made me more attuned to the types of grains I eat, so my sort-of resolution for this year is to eat less gluten and, if I do eat gluten, it should be of the whole grain variety.

Although there is no way I am giving up pizza at Roberta’s. So when I made pancakes for brunch last weekend, I started to scheme about how I could make them healthier. Add to that the fact that, for the past few months, I’ve been getting a number of requests for egg-free recipes, and I came up with this.
I based this recipe off my standard buttermilk pancake recipe that calls for all-purpose flour and eggs. Replacing the AP flour was easy enough thanks to whole wheat flour (I dig Trader Joe’s white whole wheat) and homemade oat flour (very easily made from grinding rolled oats). Replacing the eggs and buttermilk was also not that hard – I used coconut milk thinned out with water as a substitute for the buttermilk and since coconut milk is higher in fat than buttermilk and oats are higher in protein than wheat flour, I decided I had no need for an egg.  Since there wasn’t really any acid present (because of the omitted buttermilk), I left out the baking soda, which reacts only with acids, and increased the amount of baking powder, which reacts with both acid and heat, to ensure fluffiness.

The end result was better than expected. While they’re not quite as tender and fluffy as a traditional pancake, they certainly are very good: still soft and fluffy, tasty (thanks, coconut milk), and hearty (thanks, oats), not to mention a bit better for you than a regular pancake given the whole grains, oats, and no cholesterol (although they are a touch higher in fat courtesy of the coconut milk). But, hey, it’s not like you’re eating pancakes every day. Added bonus: these kept me full way longer than regular pancakes, so perhaps the extra fat in these was negated by the fact that I didn’t need to eat something else within a few hours.

The compote was, in fact, a complete afterthought. I had intended to serve these with a mango maple syrup but I was cleaning out the freezer and discovered some peaches and berries from our CSA share that I had frozen last summer, so I thought it would be a nice treat to have summer fruit in the dead of winter. You can top these pancakes with absolutely anything, but the summer fruit was a welcome touch in our slightly chilly apartment (thankfully the heat has been turned up since last weekend). I decided to extend the coconut theme by adding a spoonful of shredded coconut to the compote, but it’s totally optional.

Although this might not be the best vegan whole grain pancake recipe out there (not that I’ve looked for another one – I’m too lazy), it’s a start towards revamping my diet for the better, and who can argue with that?


Vegan Coconut-Oat Pancakes with Blackberry-Peach Compote
serves 2

For the compote
2 peaches (or 1 ½ cups frozen peach chunks/slices)
½ cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon dried unsweetened shredded coconut

For the pancakes
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut milk
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup


Make the compote
Chop the peaches into ¾” chunks. If using frozen slices, cut each slice into a few pieces. Place the peach chunks, blackberries, and coconut into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the peaches have softened and formed a thick sauce, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and keep covered while the pancakes cook.

Make the pancakes
Set a large non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat (I use two pans so that I can cook all the pancakes at once).

Place the oats in a mini chopper and pulse until most of the oats are finely ground – don’t overprocess, as you want some texture to remain. Pour the ground oats into a bowl and add the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the coconut milk, water, and maple syrup, and whisk to combine.

Ladle ¼ cup of batter into the hot pan – you should end up with 6 pancakes. Cook until the bottom is medium golden brown, the flip and cook until the pancakes are cooked through – each side will take about 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately, topping each serving with the compote.

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