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The Pancake-Diet Pancakes Formula

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Gluten-Free The Pancake-Diet Pancakes Formula: Healthy and diet-friendly pancakes featuring Whey protein, multiple grains (high fiber), pumpkin, and more

(mike): I originally wrote a detailed discussion on my Gluten-Free Blog about my gluten-free pancake diet recipe experimentation and results. This entry is here for a quick-reference to the recipe/formula discussed therein.

Gluten Free Pancake-Diet Pancake

To begin with, these are no ordinary pancakes, as they are extraordinary in both composition and flavor and nutritional value. I would almost call them a "gluten-free meal replacement" diet product, as one pancake constitutes my entire mid-day meal (lunch or very late breakfast) on many days.

I had a few objectives in mind when I designed these wheat-free and gluten-free pancakes for my diet, and I put a lot of time into tuning them and improving them over time - which didn't take long, since I eat them regularly.

My diet-pancake recipe goals included:
  • Consistency and taste: always my top priority in baking! Gluten-Free or not, it has to taste good and have great texture in order for me to eat it — especially if I am going to eat it regularly!
  • Simplicity: I needed a formula or recipe that was simple to mix up in a hurry and bake without much thought or effort, plus one that is adaptable to simple flavorful/healthful variations.
  • Healthful: not just "empty carbs", but rather a mix of ingredients with a reasonable glycemic index coupled with a nice balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, and overall nutritional value.
The Results:

I met all my goals with the gluten-free pancake diet recipe that evolved from months of continual use. The consistency and taste take care of my "need" for bread-like foods that I would so otherwise miss in a traditional diet, and I have enough flavor and variation in flavor to keep me wanting them day after day.

"Simple" would be understating how easy these are to "get right" just by eyeballing the ingredients. I can make any of a wide variety of these wheat-free Pancakes now just by pouring, shaking, or adding ingredients into a single bowl as I go, without any measuring equipment (don't worry - I give close approximations for proportions of ingredients in the recipe below).

And, healthfulness objectives were met on most levels, though I vary the recipe a bit based on my add-on ingredients (which can include chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, etc.!) But, overall, these are pretty good on the "health scale" and they make up roughly a third of my daily 2000-calorie target diet.

Gluten-Free Recipe Card and Pictures

Gluten-Free The Pancake-Diet Pancakes Formula
Gluten Free Pancake-Diet Pancake Recipe-1

I'm going to include a few pictures here to demonstrate how simple, and rather free form, this "recipe" is. This picture shows my various ingredients accumulating in a bowl. And, here is an approximation of what my typical "diet pancake" includes...

The "core recipe" Ingredients
  • roughly ¾ Cup buckwheat flour (yes, pure buckwheat is safe, gluten-free, and not related to wheat in any way). If you need gluten-free buckwheat flour, you can get the Pocono Certified GF Organic Buckwheat Flour here.
  • roughly ⅓-½ Cup pumpkin puree (I am using all my freshly cooked pumpkin-pie pumpkin filling I make and freeze - see my various gluten-free pumpkin recipes blogs and such for prior discussions). I have used canned pumpkin too. This is a super-healthy ingredient with a low-calorie, low glycemic index, and full of nutrients (Vitamin A being one standout, and plenty of fiber!)
  • about a tablespoon of cinnamon. (Why so much cinnamon? Read a sub-discussion on my gluten-free blog entry about Cinnamon and health benefits).
  • roughly a tablespoon of molasses. This is a great source of Iron, Calcium, and Potassium!
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon Inulin (i.e., ground chicory root) - essentially just pure soluble fiber.
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown rice bran (I use Ener-G's products for this). Again, great fiber source and more! Some studies have shown it useful for lowering cholesterol too. Note: don't use TOO much - this is one case where "too much of a good thing" is easy to reach...the flavor and texture can easily ruin the pancake if overdone.
  • ½ ounce of the miracle gluten-free "gluten" product: whey protein isolate. I did a gluten-free blog about the marvels of baking with gluten-free whey protein. This truly is an amazing product, and makes these pancakes hold up to any comparison to "real" (wheat-filled or gluten-containing) ones.
  • A bit of baking powder: ¼-½ tsp generally
  • Water : enough to reach proper consistency... add some, mix, add more, until desired batter thickness (see below for discussion...)
Recipe Variations / Options / Add-Ons

I will regularly add one or more of the following to this mix for both flavor and varied nutritional / diet objectives. Some options include (at whatever level of extra flavor - and calories - you desire):

  • Chocolate (a weakness of mine!) - chips, chunks, even cocoa on occasion. Full of antioxidants, fiber, iron, magnesium, and more (good excuses for sure!)
  • Cocoa - I use this like a flour! It is high in fiber and has low net-carbs; I replace the brown-rice bran with cocoa and even replace some other ingredients with cocoa as I see fit; works great!
  • Frozen blueberries (or other frozen fruits), Raisins (or other dried fruits) - more antioxidants
  • Mashed banana instead of pumpkin
  • Chopped nuts - walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc. All of them go well in here, and walnuts are full of Omega-3's!
  • Other grain(s) - I've mixed in some teff flour or Flax Meal on occasion, and have even tried some perhaps unusual "experiments" (that came out fine) where I pre-cooked some whole Teff grain, and mixed the cooked grain into my pancakes (for a nice added Whole-Grain benefit)

Here is what the gluten-free diet pancake batter (wet) looks like:

Gluten Free Pancake-Diet Pancake Recipe-2

The above picture shows the resulting pancake batter after being hydrated. I don't know how to best advise getting the moisture level right, other than by a bit of trial and error, since altering the ingredients list varies the amount of water needed.

Even the different batches of cooked pumpkin I use vary in their water-content, and thus alter the amount of extra water I must add. I just know what the consistency and thickness needs to be in the end to get the pancake right. It's probably not much different than what a "normal" pancake batter would be like.

NOTE: the batter may be a bit "lumpy" looking with all that pumpkin-fiber (and optional nuts, fruit, chocolate) in there.

Directions - Frying/Baking the Pancake
Gluten Free Pancake-Diet Pancake Recipe-3

Notice I said "pancake" and not "pancakeS" here — I am making one LARGE pancake (10" wide, nearly 1" thick), though you can certainly split into smaller batches. I use a 10" cast-iron frypan, and pour the entire bowl of batter on to a well sprayed (cooking spray) pan that I pre-heat a bit. I have found that getting the heat-level right is important, especially for these mega-pancakes.

I cook on low heat for a longer period of time. I have found that 7-10 minutes frying on the first side makes flipping easier by far, and then I cook the mega-cake for another 4-5 minutes on side two. The end result is the plate-sized super-pancake pictured at the beginning of this recipe (top).

Gluten Free Pancake-Diet Pancake Recipe-4

It's always hard to get a sense for scale in a picture, so here's a cross-section picture showing the full depth of this cake, while also exposing my chocolate chunks! :) Now you can see how a single pancake can be so utterly filling (And fulfilling!)

Nutritional Data

If you were trying to count carbs, protein, sugar, and so forth during the ingredient list above, I can help out here (in approximation). I'm targeting about 600 calories total in my single massive meal-replacement pancake, and the breakdown is roughly:

  • buckwheat: 300 calories, 66g carbs (9 of which is fiber), 12g protein, 3g fat, 15% RDA potassium
  • cinnamon: 20 calories, 6g carbs (4g is fiber)
  • molasses: 50 calories, 12g carbs (all sugars), 15% RDA potassium, 15% RDA Calcium, 20% RDA Iron
  • pumpkin: 20 (yes, only TWENTY) calories, 6g carbs (¼ of that is fiber), 1g protein, 100% vitamin-A RDA
  • brown rice bran: 25-50 calories - high in potassium, carbs are nearly 50% fiber, and it's high protein
  • Inulin: 2.5g carb (2 of which is soluble fiber)
  • Whey Protein Isolate: 50 calories, 12.5g protein (25% RDA)
  • [optional recipe ingredients]100-200 calories of walnuts, blueberries, etc.
  • Cocoa (when used) introduces a lot of fiber with very little caloric, far, or net-carbs influence.

I point out the fiber content of the carbs here, since fiber is quite important in the diet plan, as it "fills you up" and makes you feel full, while keeping the overall glycemic index of the carbohydrates in check a bit (keeps "net carbs" quite low). I wanted something that would satisfy my tastebuds while making my stomach think it had plenty to eat, and something with a "slow burn" (vs. simple sugar and carbs). This seems to do the job nicely!

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