These vegan cornmeal pancakes are made with flax “eggs”, grated apple, almond milk and coconut oil, and are sure to become a Sunday morning staple.
One of the biggest challenges when transitioning to a mostly plant-based diet is breakfast. While morning eggs and a celebratory wedge of Brie (and, okay, a cheesy pizza every now and then) are still part of my diet, things like yogurt and milk are pretty much out. This poses a serious challenge for classic breakfast foods – how does one make fluffy pancakes or crispy waffles without buttermilk? Or how does someone with a thoroughly Soviet palate (namely, me) eat any kind of carby breakfast food without a proper dollop of sour cream?
I’ve made a handful of vegan pancake recipes from the internet in the past and they mostly seemed… well, careless. Some of them forgo substitutes for eggs and buttermilk altogether, while others utilize mashed banana or store-bought applesauce (a processed, fortified product = no bueno). Thus, I stuck to my favorite Martha Stewart cornmeal pancake recipe (sans blueberries) whenever the craving struck. Her dairy-filled recipe yields a fluffy yet chewy product that’s accented by the grainy texture and sweet flavor of cornmeal that I love so much. Adding a proper pancake recipe to my blog has been on my to-do list for quite some time and I figured, why not make it vegan? While I thought it would be nearly impossible to replicate the texture and flavor of a traditional cake without dairy, I was not trying to develop the best pancake ever – I simply wanted a dairy-free alternative that would at least be comparable to Martha’s.
The results were
a pleasant surprise actually pretty shocking. These vegan cornmeal pancakes are fluffy yet dense – thanks to the leavening power of baking soda, the moisture from a freshly grated apple, and the binding power of flax “eggs”. What I ended up with totally rivals Martha’s original template! My roommate – a fellow fan of Martha’s recipe – actually said she may like these better. Boo-ya! Another part of the challenge was replicating my favorite of all time topping for everything – sour cream (#ukrainianpride4life). Sour cream is creamy, cooling and slightly tangy. To make a vegan version, I combined tahini with a bit of lemon juice and maple syrup, which also yielded surprisingly good results.
If you are unfamiliar with flax seeds, don’t fret – they are now readily available in most grocery and health food stores, and online. This superfood is high in omega-3’s and antioxidants, and when combined with water, it takes on a gel-like consistency that replaces dairy eggs in most baking recipes perfectly. So how do you make a flax egg? Combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 2 tablespoons water and let it sit for 5 minutes. You may also use the same formula to make a chia egg, using ground chia instead of flax. This recipe features coconut oil in the batter and on the skillet; if you are not a fan of the flavor, feel free to substitute with organic canola oil.
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup coarse cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon turbinado/raw sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup peeled grated apple (about 1 medium apple)
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil, plus more for the skillet
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, plus extra for serving, if desired
- In a small bowl, stir flax together with 4 tablespoons of filtered water (this is what’s known as a “flax egg”). Place bowl in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (5-10 minutes); the resulting "egg" should be thick and slightly gelatinous.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together apple, milk, coconut oil, vanilla and flax egg. Then stir wet ingredients into the dry just until combined – do not overmix.
- Heat about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Ladle batter into skillet, making 2-3 pancakes at a time. Cook until pancakes start to set around the edges, 2-3 minutes, flip pancakes and cook for another minute. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more coconut oil to the skillet as needed.
- To make tahini drizzle, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup and ¼ cup filtered water in a bowl until smooth.
- Serve pancakes with tahini drizzle and extra syrup, if desired.