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Easy Vegan Pancakes

Easy Vegan Pancakes
from John Beske

Marla is currently going through an 8-day juice fast (more power to her), and for obvious reasons she doesn't really feel like putting a lot of energy into creating some fancy dish that she can't even eat, so I offered to take over the recipe for this week. This is on one level kind of ludicrous, since she pretty much does all the cooking (though I'm expert at washing dishes). As it turns out, though, there is one dish where I rock in the kitchen, so just this one time, I think I can pull this off.

I've been making vegan pancakes for almost 20 years, and I've gotten pretty good at it. The secret ingredient, which a buddy showed me long ago, is bananas. One good banana and some kind of vegan milk, and you're golden. Beyond that, there are a million ways to improvise the recipe, so you can pull out some rocking vegan pancakes anytime with stuff that's just lying around the kitchen. I just made some for my son and myself this morning - he requested chocolate chips and chunks of mango - and I was able to send a happy boy off to school, while poor Marla sipped her carrot spinach beet juice and looked on hungrily.


Easy Vegan Pancakes
Makes about 10 pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour (we usually use gluten-free flour for Marla's sake, but this is just plain old organic white flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
A couple of shakes from a jar of cinnamon
(I'm not really up on the vernacular)
A couple of shakes from a shaker of salt
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (we usually use almond or cashew milk, but any kind is good)
1 large ripe banana (if you don't have bananas, a quarter cup of applesauce will also work)
1 tablespoon of sunflower, safflower or canola oil, plus a bit more for the pan

From here, you can add any number of things, blueberries or other berries or fruit, pecans, chocolate chips, or whatever you can imagine would taste good in a pancake.

A bit of Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
Maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar, jam, or whatever else you'd like to use as a topping (also optional)

Set up a skillet on medium high heat (slightly more to medium than hot), and spray or add a bit of high temp oil like sunflower, safflower or canola oil, though it works with olive oil, or if you use a good non-stick pan you can probably avoid the oil altogether.

Start with two bowls.
Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and any other dry stuff into the first bowl.

Squeeze or mash up the banana (or add the applesauce or you can use both, what the heck?) into the second bowl and add the milk, oil and any other wet stuff.

Mix both bowls well (we use a whisk, but a fork would also work), and then dump the contents of the wet bowl into the dry bowl, and whisk (or fork) the ingredients until you don't see any trace of dry flour. The mixture should be kind of thick, but a bit more liquid than solid. The banana can stll be kind of chunky. If need be, you can add a bit more flour or milk at this point to thicken or thin to the place where you like it. The recipe if pretty forgiving, so you don't have to do this part perfectly.

Use a large spoon, quarter-cup container or similar utensil to pour the mixture into your now hot pan. I use a plastic ice cream scoop I got years ago at some street festival, and it's just enough to make a good five-inch pancake. Depending on your pan and spoon, you can usually make about three or four at a time.

When the pancake starts to bubble on top and look a bit dry around the edges, it's ready to flip. Slide a sturdy nylon or metal spatula under the pancake and flip it over. Extra points if it lands where it's supposed to and not on top of one of the other pancakes or somewhere outside of the pan.

In about two-thirds of the time it took to cook the first side, it should be ready to take out. Same spatula thing, except this time flip it onto a plate. This flip is generally easier that the first one. Perfect pancakes should be golden brown on both sides and pretty much cooked throughout. They'll still taste good if they're a bit burned or undercooked, though.

We cooked ours this morning with a half cup of chocolate chips, and served them with a bit of Earth Balance and some pure maple syrup. Then we cut up a fresh mango into chunks and served that on top. I usually use whatever we have lying around, though and they are almost always really delicious.

2013-2016, Vegan Street

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