Fluff-no-flop Protein Pancakes

Parents adore every spotty mis-shapen mole of you, partners and spouses enfold you unconditionally with all of your flaws, dogs slobber you with wide-eyed, wholehearted loyalty, and friends grow indignant on your behalf at the drop of a pin. But what’s the most readily forgiving, all-purpose go-to comfort? Pancake batter. Mmmmmmm, yeah. If you don’t already realize this, you should. You can throw anything at it (or in it), you can beat it to a state of sloppy submission, and it will only reward you with next-to instant gratification. Of course, it has a sneaky way of gifting you with a little too much remembrance of it if you’re over-indulgent in your enjoyment, but if you’re conscious, you can really pack your pancakes with beautiful nutritious goodness.

I’ve been playing around with combinations for a protein-rich pancake, one that would ideally be a good, simple and tasty replenishment after a long run or ride, and could also stand alone without excessive addends like butter or slathered maple syrup (though a little maple syrup, the real stuff, is usually too good to pass). I had written a high protein brown-rice pancake recipe for a Natural Solutions short, and I like it, but it is definitely on the dense and heavy side, and belongs more with savory accompaniments, while I’ve been thinking sweet and fruity:

Brown rice pancakes. Combine 1 cup pre-soaked, cooked brown rice, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Heat a griddle and pour batter by large spoonfuls to cook pancakes.

What I do like about this recipe is its simplicity, and also the inclusion of lowfat cottage cheese, a great protein source. But I really wanted something lighter, and more of a standard template that could be tweaked easily to accommodate seasonal fruits. Here’s my current favorite:

Fluffy whole wheat and strawberry cottage cheese pancake
Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 cups skim milk
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg white
* 1/2 cup nonfat or lowfat cottage cheese
* Strawberries to taste–about 1 cup chopped to mix in batter, then additional sliced for topping (use whatever fruits are available/in season, apples and raisins/dried cranberries in fall, any combination of berries)
* 1 medium sliced banana
* Cooking spray

Preparation

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine milk, oil, egg, and egg white, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in cottage cheese and chopped strawberries.

Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve topped with sliced fruit and pure maple syrup to taste.

This recipe makes quite a lot, easily 12-14 pancakes. I understand that olive oil is best when used in dressings and drizzles–it loses some of the nutrients when cooked. I’ve personally found a noticeable improvement using olive oil in this recipe, however, though canola works well, too.

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