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For most of my childhood I grew up eating homemade pancakes for breakfast on the weekends and all summer long at the lake with my family. It wasn't until I had pancakes in a restaurant as an adult that I realized just how prized my mom's buttermilk pancake recipe is!! Homemade buttermilk pancakes are so light and fluffy and they're the perfect breakfast comfort food.
When it comes to breakfast foods, I'm all about taking the healthy route while still enjoying our favourite classic recipes. My kids love pancakes so finding a way to make my mom's traditional buttermilk pancake recipe a little healthier was a must! Most pancake recipes are high in fat and some are even high in sugar, but I've removed the fat and sugar and replaced it with mashed bananas to make it healthier for the whole family!
Of course if you're going to douse them in Maple Syrup it kind of defeats the purpose, but I serve these to my kids on weekend mornings with some chopped fruit thrown into the batter (apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, or blueberries all work well) or just a mountain of blueberries piled on top...no syrup required! But if you just can't bear the thought of pancakes without maple syrup, at least use the real stuff!
It's always nice to come together as a family over a pancake breakfast, especially when it's one you know is healthy for your family. This recipe makes a big batch, which is perfect for enjoying with a crowd, but our favourite thing to do is freeze any leftover pancakes individually and bring them out on weekday mornings and pop them in the toaster for a quick and easy breakfast!
Like this recipe? You'll love my Skinny Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole or this delicious Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake!
Healthy Buttermilk Pancakes (makes 12-16 pancakes)
The recipe my mom originally used is from the 1964 edition of The Joy of Cooking, but their recent editions have changed the recipe from the original. This is my healthy take on it.
2 bananas (very well mashed)
3 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups whole wheat flour (I've also had success using whole wheat flour and oat flour, 1 1/2 cups each),
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Your favourite cooking spray
Measure out the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas very well (it's ok if they go a little bit liquidy...you don't want any large chunks). Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat with a fork until they're combined well.
Measure the buttermilk into a separate liquid measuring cup and pour the buttermilk and the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
Stir everything together carefully, making sure you don't over mix, until everything is combined.
Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat.
Let the batter sit in the bowl for about 5-6 minutes before you start frying. This will allow the leavening agents (the baking powder and baking soda) time to begin their work and you'll start to see the batter start to rise slightly as air bubbles develop below the surface.
Once the oil has heated for a few seconds, turn the heat down to medium-low heat and carefully ladle about 1/3 cup of batter into the pan for each pancake, trying to disturb the batter as little as possible. This will help the air bubbles stay intact as the pancake cooks and create a light and fluffy texture. This is especially important when using whole wheat flour because the wheat particles in the flour actually interfere with gluten development, making baked goods made with whole wheat flour denser and generally less fluffy than their all-purpose flour counterparts.
Once you see the edges beginning to brown slightly and a few bubbles breaking the surface of the batter, flip the pancakes over. You can check the underside by lifting up the edge of one of the pancakes using a spatula; if the underside is brown, it's time to flip!
These pancakes won't be perfectly round - because the batter is so thick it's almost impossible to achieve anything but a 'rustic' look unless you use a pancake ring. But they brown so beautifully over a low heat and they're so nice and fluffy, we'll forgive them, won't we?
Repeat this process until all your batter is gone. The number of pancakes you make will vary based on the size you choose and the pan you're using, but this recipe feeds our family of four with several pancakes left over for the next day (usually around a total of 12-16 pancakes).
Serve the pancakes hot off the griddle with some fresh berries and maple syrup!
Like this recipe?? You'll love my Waffle Iron Hash Brown Breakfast Potatoes or this Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie Bowl!