When we first started feeding solid food to Cullen, I remember smiling with delight as I watched him shovel down as much quinoa, avocado, and lentils as his little stomach could hold. There was no food he wouldn’t try, and I reveled in offering new things and knowing that his diet was well balanced. I wondered what all the fuss was about picky eaters – my kid was eating everything!
And then he became a toddler. Former favorites were tossed from the high chair with disgust, and anything beyond basics like toast, almond butter, and blueberries wasn’t even given a second glance.
Food is now rejected upon sight, not taste, and I spend a lot of time scratching my head wondering just how he knows that ice cream is worth a lick but green beans should be thrown to the dogs. And like any mom – I worry. I worry that his little body is almost entirely made of squeezable pouches, watermelon, and corn on the cob.
And so I’m doing what moms have been doing for as long as it’s been a cliché – sneaking vegetables into his meals in whatever way possible – smoothies, baked goods, and now, breakfast.
Whenever I think of a vegetable pancake, the image that comes to mind is more that of a fritter or hash or some sort. Lots of shredded veggies held together by a little bit of flour and egg, and then pan-fried. Delicious, yes, but still looks like a vegetable. I knew that the key to getting Cullen to eat a veg-ified pancake was that it had to actually look like a pancake. Something fluffy – made with plenty of flour – with green and orange stuff tucked secretly inside.
And so that is exactly what I made. I kept it light on the sugar and let the raisins add their own sweetness. Judging from the empty plate left at the end, I think we’ll be adding these to our regular summer menu rotation!
Fluffy Summer Vegetable Pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but feel free to sub)
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 cups unsweetened original almond milk (or other milk)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed oil (or sub other oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1/3 cup raisins
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk together. You know the drill.
Using a box grater, grate a large zucchini into strands. (Ignore my hair – it was air-drying.)
Mine yielded a little over a cup, packed.
Put zucchini in a shallow bowl and press with paper towels to try to remove as much excess water as possible. Even though you’d be adding it to wet ingredients, you don’t want extra water cooking out when heated.
I used the bagged shredded carrot for this recipe, since it’s a bit heartier and it tends to have less water than freshly grated carrot. If you grate your own, you might want to use a bit less since it will be a bit finer. Once batter is mixed, add the veggies and raisins and fold in until well distributed.
Then let the batter sit for at least ten minutes before cooking. This helps the baking powder take action and makes the final product much fluffier!
Heat a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium high heat, and wait to start until pan is nice and hot. Drop batter into individual pancakes, sized depending on how big you want yours to be! The batter will be thick, but it will spread and cook through as it heats. Once you see bubbles forming on the top surface, it’s time to flip!
Flip and cook another minute or so until all batter is cooked through and both sides are evenly browned.
Serve immediately or freeze for later!
I know veggie pancakes are often considered to be savory, and are topped with things like applesauce, sour cream, or Greek yogurt spreads. You can certainly do that with these, but I’m going to keep mine sweet.
These were perfectly fluffy in every way that a pancake should be, and the veggies and raisins reminded me a bit of a summer carrot cake.
Time to get serious.
You can see how the vegetables are mixed within the batter, rather than acting as the main component. Of course, you can always up the veggie amount too as well as swap in other favorites like sweet potato, winter squash, or fruits like apple and pear. Get creative!
I was personally sold at first bite, but I knew that my target audience was a bit more discerning…
In case you don’t recognize it, this is Cullen’s “mmmmmmmmm” face. He ate every pancake that was offered and asked for “more again!” long after they were gone.
As just because this is a kid-friendly recipe, that doesn’t mean you need to be a kid to enjoy them. I don’t know anyone who feels like they need less vegetables in their life.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!