Perfect Vegan Whole Wheat Pancakes

I am well-known in my extended family for making light and fluffy whole wheat pancakes using this recipe, so my standards were extremely high when I adopted a mostly vegan diet and went searching for a pancake recipe that didn't use eggs, milk, or oil. After testing multiple ideas and options, I've finally come up with a combination I love. These pancakes are light and satisfying using all whole food, plant-based ingredients and the only sugar is what you add on top, which is fruit and pure maple syrup for me or maybe a berry sauce. 

Perfect Vegan Whole Wheat Pancakes
Makes about 12 (4-inch) pancakes

Before I get started mixing, I take the maple syrup out of the refrigerator and place it in a deep bowl of hot water to take the chill off. I don't like to warm it up on the stove or in the microwave because it gets too thin and runny.

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
scant 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk (I use cashew, almond, or soy)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed in 3 tablespoons warm water or 1/4 cup aquafaba*
2 cups whole wheat flour ( I use freshly ground soft white wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce or apple butter (you can also sub mashed banana)

First, make "soured" milk by placing the lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup and adding non-dairy milk to the 1 1/2 cup line; set aside for 10 minutes. If using a flax "egg" instead of aquafaba*, add the ground flaxseed to the warm water and stir well; set aside to form a gel.

Begin heating a non-stick griddle or large frying pan over medium heat. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl to combine. When the milk has curdled, add in the flax "egg" or aquafaba* and the applesauce and whisk together. Pour this over the flour mixture and whisk gently, just until well-combined, with no dry spots. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter by 1/3-cupfuls onto the hot griddle or pan. Cook until bubbles form all over the surface, then flip with a pancake turner and cook until the centers spring back when gently pressed with a finger. (Adjust heat as necessary so they don't burn before the centers are cooked.) Stack on a serving plate, lightly covered to keep them warm, while you cook the remaining batter. Serve hot, topped with fruit and/or sweetener of choice.

*aquafaba is the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas. It makes an excellent egg substitute and really has no beany flavor. Who knew? Google it for more ideas on using it. I always freeze the liquid whenever I use canned chickpeas so I'll have a ready supply.

Simple Berry Topping
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

You can use just about any juice and fruit combination in this recipe.

3/4 cup fruit juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sweetener of choice (Sucanat, honey, agave, date sugar, etc.)
2 cups berries, fresh or frozen
splash of fresh lemon juice

Stir the cornstarch into the juice in a medium saucepan. Add the sweetener and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then add the berries and lemon juice. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 - 10 minutes until berries are soft and juices have thickened.

A good non-stick griddle is an excellent investment.

There really are pancakes hidden under all that fruit!
A perfectly satisfying, healthy breakfast.

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