This is probably the most fun recipe I’ve worked with so far. And really delicious too! These red velvet pancakes are gluten-free and protein packed, with a crazy secret ingredient. It took a fair bit of experimenting, lots of absolute failures in between but I was so determined that this had to work. A tweak here and a tweak there, and I finally got pancakes!
Okay, these were not as naturally red as I hoped. The batter looked incredibly promising in the jug then the colour sort of cooked out. If you really want to, and I did, you could add natural red colouring, just a tad, to give you the right hue. It’s not really necessary. I really wanted to call these red velvet pancakes. Try and stop me. I will in the near future reattempt this with beetroot and will report back to you on my findings. Meanwhile, natural red food colouring. Or none at all, and you’ll have…. Chocolate pancakes?
The secret ingredient is kind of an open secret in the healthy food world. I got the idea from the very popular “secret ingredient” brownies which are just about everywhere. So……….. what is it? What’s this magical secret ingredient? Get ready for it, because I don’t think you’re ready for it: kidney beans.
Yeah, as I typed that out I realised how unattractive that sounded. Honestly, black bean brownies get away with it but kidney beans just sound… kind of gross. I guess it’s the “kidney” part of the name. A bit unfortunate, but someone out there thought they looked like kidneys (well, they do), and the name stuck. I actually wanted to use adzuki beans, but I couldn’t find them canned in the supermarkets. If this wasn’t breakfast I’d say just cook them from scratch but, this is breakfast. It’s the morning. I want my food as fast as possible. Sorry, not sorry.
And the good news is, kidney beans are a very good source of protein, full of fibre and are one of the few sources of a trace mineral, molybdenum, which is an essential component of sulphite oxidase, an enzyme that detoxifies sulphites, a common preservative. They also have folate, magnesium, manganese, thiamine and iron. Ironically (or not), I can’t find any direct benefit to kidneys.
Red velvet isn’t red velvet without a white frosting, so I created a healthy, “faux cream cheese” frosting using tofu (more protein!), half a ripe banana to sweeten and lemon juice for tang. If you blend this up the night before and keep it in the fridge, it will harden up a bit. And it means less work in the morning too.
Oh, and a tip for successful pancake flipping: Keep the pancake sizes small, or else it gets a tad difficult to successfully lift off the pan to flip. Then stack them high!
- Half a block of firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ a ripe banana
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- Pinch of salt
- ½ a can kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: a couple of drops of natural red food colouring
- Note: add a tablespoon or two of water if batter is really thick.
- Frosting: The night before, break up the tofu and banana. Add all the ingredients into your blender jar and blend. I used a hand blender, handy for small batches but a normal jug blender will work, though you might have to add a tablespoon or two of water to get things moving. Keep covered in the fridge overnight.
- Rinse the kidney beans under running water. Throw all ingredients into your blender jar and blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon or two of water to get things moving. Batter should not be watery, and should be at “thick ribbon” stage. Set aside.
- Heat up a frying pan, coating very lightly with coconut oil (use a pastry brush, if you have one). Once heated, bring the heat down to medium-low, and pour out a couple of pancakes, about 2 tablespoons worth of batter. I used a ¼ cup measure and scooped out enough batter to fill halfway. Depending on the size of your pan, you could cook two to four pancakes at any one time.
- Let it cook for a couple of minutes. It should bubble up on the surface slightly, and start looking a little “dry” and a little bit more firm especially around the edges once it is ready. Once it has reached that stage, use a spatula to carefully get under the pancake and flip over.
- Cook for another couple of minutes. Peek under the pancake if you have to – it should be ever so slightly browned. Remove on a plate, and repeat until all the batter is finished.
- For dramatic effect, layer the pancakes with the frosting. You should get two tall towers to feed two people, or just one very hungry person. Serve with a side of fruit, berries are best!