It’s been an interesting week here in Casa de Om-nom Sauce. I had finally gotten the hang of this whole dairy-free thing and we had seen real improvement in The Babe’s symptoms. Things still seemed off though, so I decided, for kicks, to eliminate soy too to see if that helped, since a decent chunk of babies who are allergic to dairy also have issues with the omnipresent legume (and the only advice my kid’s doctor gave me was to wean and try a formula that is like $100 a can). It turns out that while eliminating dairy was not too tricky, soy is a different beast. Soy, it turns out, is in everything (thanks a lot, poorly-targeted far-subsidies). While this is not a big deal at all at home because we make everything from scratch and thus bypass soy additives, dining out is a different matter. I could eat out at restaurants I trust with dairy-elimination, but eating out with soy? Ridiculous and bordering on impossible, unless you have a really good server who is willing to interrogate the kitchen staff. Luckily, I have a fabulous relationship with the people at Olive, an Urban Dive, and I trust them and they’re willing to work with me (to the point that yesterday they joked about making up a special menu just for me) so The Hubs and I can still enjoy our weekly brunch date. But I digress.
So one of the huge bummers of populating elimination-diet-land is that breakfast options are severely limited. I started really missing pancakes, waffles, and crepes, but knew myself well enough to know that if I just tried to make simple substitutions, the recipes wouldn’t work as well and I would feel deprived. (See: vegan cheese. Yes, I miss cheese horribly but I don’t eat the fake stuff because I would be very disappointed in it and would feel even more deprived.) There was only one thing for it: I was going to have to make something up.
Going into my kitchen experiments, I knew that without buttermilk, that ethereally light texture would elude me. So I decided to forget everything about traditional pancake recipes and employed a few tricks I’ve used before. A friend of mine who eschewed gluten made pancakes using homemade oat-flour. Intriguing: let’s give that a try. I remembered that I had once made pancakes with mashed-up bananas and loved the result, so I put that into the bag of tricks. I knew I’d be using almond-milk instead of dairy, and in my experience it doesn’t “sour” well when you add lemon juice, so I decided to skip an acidic ingredient and use baking powder instead of baking soda. And I love toasted pecans, so I decided for kicks to add them to the oat-flour. Before I knew it, I was Frankensteining together my first batch, expecting a learning experience (code for disaster), but I ended up with something not only edible, but eminently delicious! Yes, I have tweaked the original formula that I basically made up on that first Saturday morning, but this is very, very similar to my beginning experiment. The results are not only something that I love to eat, but are food that people who can eat normal dairy-laden pancakes also enjoy — and I hope you do too!
Banana-Pecan Oat Pancakes
A Jitterbean Original
Makes about 16 pancakes
You will need:
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted for 10 minutes at 350F and cooled
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large bananas
- 1/2 cup of almond milk (any variety, though I think this recipe does best with unsweetened almond-coconut milk)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup neutral oil or melted butter
- Toppings, such as almond butter (my favorite), hazelnut-chocolate butter (favored by my Mom), maple syrup, butter, sliced bananas, shaved coconut, etc.
- Pre-heat a griddle to about 350F. Prepare it for pancakes by greasing it lightly if it needs it. Pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting (usually about 170F or 200F) and put a plate on a rack.
- Combine oats and pecans in a food processor. Process until they are well-ground and about the texture of really coarse sand. Put the mixture in a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a liquid measuring cup at least 2 cups large, mash the banana with a fork until all the big chunks are gone. You want about 1 cup, so add a bit more fruit if need be. Pour almond milk on top of the banana to the 1 1/2 cup mark. Mix well. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well in-between additions. Stir in the vanilla extract and the oil.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry and whisk together so that there are no more unincorporated pockets of oat flour.
- Pour the pancake batter onto the griddle in about 1/4-cup portions. Let cook until the edges are starting to set up, the bubbles on top of the pancakes have mostly popped, and the bottom is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and cook until the bottom is again nicely browned. Remove the pancakes from the griddle and move them to the oven to keep them warm until serving. Top as desired and eat.
- You can use regular dairy milk or buttermilk instead of non-dairy milk. If you use regular milk, keep the baking powder, but if you use buttermilk or milk that you have soured with yogurt/vinegar/lemon juice/etc., then use 3/4 teaspoon baking soda INSTEAD of the baking powder.