Transitioning to a real food diet can be tough. Often to our great dismay, staples from our childhood, the very foods we equate with leisure, celebration, and tradition - well, they are generally made up of ingredients that are not so great for your health in the long run. The fragrant cookies wafting from the kitchen on Christmas eve that you decorate with your family. The seven layer birthday cake, with your cousin's favorite cream cheese icing. Sunday morning waffles while you read the paper (or look at your phone... it's 2015 after all), drenched in maple syrup. For my family, it was weekend pancakes. My mom would always reach for the big tub of whole wheat flour as we mixed up the ingredients in my grandmother's big ceramic bowl, and I would beg her to please please just use the white flour instead- just this time! (I usually got my way, and we used it almost every time.) My brother reached for the maple syrup, while I drowned mine in Mrs. Buttersworths and extra powdered sugar. This is a normal breakfast scene in countless homes.
Of course these foods taste delicious, and couple that with the opiate release in your brain from the massive amount of sugar and carbohydrates you are consuming at once... it's easy to see that we crave them for a reason. But almost more than anything, they are emotional attachments- these foods bring us comfort, and they accompany our most treasured memories. Experiencing that emotional component is an important component of living a balanced life.
Getting rid of gluten, refined sugar, and processed foods can make recreating these foods a more daunting task. In my case, I don't eat grains or legumes and I'm allergic to eggs and tapioca... if you have ever tried to attempt a pancake batter without gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, nut flour, or tapioca then you get my predicament. Autoimmune Paleo protocol followers, you feel my pain. I actually much prefer starting my day with a massive amount of vegetables and some protein than something sweet... but every so often that Saturday morning memory of fluffy stacks of pancakes comes beckoning, and I'm so happy that every once in a while, on special occasions, I can finally answer it.
Plantains are an amazing miracle in grain and egg-free baking- they bind, provide elasticity, and enough carbohydrate content to create a batter-like consistency. This batter also utilizes tigernut flour- an excellent source of resistant starch, which acts as food for your good probiotic bacteria. I used pumpkin for a winter twist, but sweet potato would be delicious here as well. These pancakes are totally sugar-free, relying only on the plantain for a touch of natural sweetness. Feel free to add a bit of raw honey if you like them a bit more sweet, but I think they are perfect without. you can also use a yellow plantain instead of green but the pancakes will be slightly less fluffy. makes 6 medium sized pancakes.
1 green plantain, chopped
4 tbsp tigernut flour
4 tbsp pumpkin purée
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder
pinch of mace
pinch of sea salt
- combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor, and blend until batter is a smooth consistency. transfer batter to a medium sized mixing bowl.
- bring a pan to medium heat, and brush with generous coconut oil or ghee (I prefer my cast-iron pan for the best non-stick)
- spoon about 2tbsp batter for each pancake, 3 pancakes at a time
- cook for about 3-4 minutes each side, flipping when a spatula can be easily wedged underneath pancakes without sticking
- remove from heat and finish with your favorite toppings!
TOPPING IDEAS //
- For AIP protocol, top with fresh berries, bee pollen, shredded coconut, coconut butter, a touch of honey or ghee. those without restrictions, I highly recommend sprouted almond or walnut butter! Sprouted or activated nuts are much more easily digestible than raw or roasted ones.
- An easy blueberry compote can be made by simmering fresh or frozen blueberries for 5 minutes on the stovetop- remove from heat, add 1tbsp coconut oil, and mash everything together to create a syrup. no sweetener necessary
For more amazing plantain pancake recipes, check out the 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts e-book... it has a ton of other great ideas!