Pancakes for Dinner!

by Maria on November 30, 2011



Squash or Zucchini Pancakes 2.JPG


I did not make it to the grocery store as planned yesterday. And thus, at 4 pm, when I usually start thinking about what I need to prep for dinner, I realized that the pantry and freezer meals I could scrape together would not be a hit with the kids. (They had eaten Swedish meatballs from the freezer the night before). I had a butternut squash that I was planning on turning into a delicious bisque, and lots of arugula salad, but again, nothing that would be a hit with the kids.

So I decided to make pancakes. Not just any pancakes, but wholesome pancakes made from whole wheat flour and with a bit of that butternut squash mixed in. And because these pancakes are so easy to make, I was able to serve an early dinner, before the kids had a chance to start in on the "I'm hungry" whine, or start helping themselves to pre-dinner snacks.

Squash or Zucchini Pancakes.JPG

This pancake recipe is our go-to recipe, whether for Sunday morning blueberry pancakes, or Tuesday-night dinner pancakes. I usually cook the pancakes on a cast-iron pancake griddle, the kids love the small, silver-dollar size of the pancakes. On the weekends I sometimes make bigger pancakes on our griddle, in fun shapes with a pancake pen that my sister gave to me last Christmas, they love that too.

I've added a variety of different vegetables to these pancakes, and they always turn out great. The most daring was spinach pancakes. I added a bit of spinach puree to the batter, and then mixed frozen blueberries into the batter to make the pancakes more blue than green. Grated carrots, zucchini, or yellow squash all mix in well, as did the cooked butternut squash. I recommend starting with 1/2 cup of puree, and if that works, you could try increasing it a little next time. I often add some frozen wild blueberries to each pancake after I pour it onto the griddle, whether dinner or not.  


Whole Wheat Pancakes

Servings: 4

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or substitute 3/4 cup whole wheat and 3/4 cup white)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat buttermilk or kefir (or, for an extra flavor kick, try vanilla yogurt)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium carrot, finely grated or 1/2 cup butternut squash puree or 1 small grated zucchini
1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries 
Cooking spray

1. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together with a whisk. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together kefir, eggs, oil, and vegetable. Add to flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir until just moist. Add blueberries to each pancake just after spooning them onto the griddle; though it's a bit more tedious than mixing them with the batter, this method controls blueberry distribution and prevents blue streaking.

3. Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Use a small measuring cup or soup ladle to spoon the batter out onto the griddle. If pancakes seem thick, use the back of a spoon to spread them out a bit. 

Tip: Refrigerate (for up to 24 hours) or freeze pancakes for a quick, kid-approved snack. Reheat in microwave, toaster, or toaster oven. 

Nutrition Information (using grated carrot and nonfat kefir or buttermilk)
(For 1/4 of recipe) 340 calories; 55 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 7 g fat (1 g sat); 5.5 g fiber; 740 mg sodium. 

Serving suggestions:
 Maple syrup, butter, and sliced fruit.


After my kids scarfed down about 10 mini pancakes each, I asked if they could tell what the mystery ingredient was.

"Sugar?" Asked my 5-year old son Elliott.

I said "no, there is already a little sugar in there," and then added "it's a vegetable."

Elliott looked around the kitchen, and his eyes fell on the butternut squash, which I had cooked in the microwave for 8 minutes on each side (a great trick to know) and then cut in half and scooped out some flesh. "Butternut squash" he yelled.

"Yes!" I said.

"But mom, that is not a vegetable, we learned in school that squash and pumpkins are fruit."

"Hmm, well people still consider them vegetables." I said, knowing that he was probably right, like avocados and tomatoes, gourd-like squash were technically fruits. 



Posted by CooksAid on
Hi Clara!
I'm so glad you are enjoying the recipes. The pancake pan that I use is made by Nordic Ware. It looks like you can purchase it on amazon. I have had mine for over 10 years and these days I use it every week. I highly recommend it!
Happy Cooking!
Posted by Clara on
I've been reading your posts and absolutely adore your recipes! This is one of the first blogs I've found in a while that manages to combine real food, traditional food (like kefir) and kid-friendly food that looks great and is actually healthy. Fantastic!
Also, I love your pancake pan. What brand is it?
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