So You Think You Hate Vegetables: Savory Pancakes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's National Pancake Day, but pancakes aren't just for breakfast anymore.

And they're not just sweet treats. In my house, we make them with all things green: grated beets or zucchini, chopped and steamed spinach, kale, or Swiss chard, onions, garlic, pureed pumpkin or squash, even potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Grated carrots, chopped celery, diced onion… you're only limited by your imagination. They're a great way to hide vegetables and shake up your average dinner.

Recently, one of my favorite chefs, Mark Bittmann (aka the Minimalist of The New York Times) featured a recipe for Spinach Pancakes. Soon after, I made my own batch (using Swiss chard, but you can use any green you prefer!), along with some Maple Glazed Salmon! (This vegetable pancake recipe can be modified to include any and all vegetables you like!)

(Don't you love the magenta and green bits from the Swiss chard?) Zucchini Pancakes would be great alongside beef stroganoff (omit the noodles).

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes instead of taco shells some time.

You can also try:
Veggie Pancakes or Yellow Lentil Pancakes.

Vegetable Pancakes


3 cups spinach, chopped and steamed in about 1/2 c water (dice the stems, and reserve the cooking water, which is full of nutrients)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 to 2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil (for pan)

(Sub 3 cups fresh spinach or about 1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and mostly squeezed dry. Or use 1 cup grated carrots, 1 large grated zucchini, or 3 cups steamed and chopped kale.)


Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the yogurt, eggs and olive oil, mixing well. Fold in spinach and the cooking water, plus the garlic and onion.

Batter will be scoopable but not pourable.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Use a small amount of the reserved tablespoon of olive oil, adding more if necessary later on.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle or into skillet . As it cooks, spread out the batter into rounds, flipping after a minute or so. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Breakfast for dinner, for grownups.

More tips:
  • If you've got a picky eater, try puréeing vegetables in the blender or grating them before adding them to the batter.
  • I served these with a slightly decadent sauce (maple syrup and butter). When you want something a little lighter, try creamy pesto (purée basil with light sour cream), spaghetti sauce or even salsa. (I like spaghetti squash pancakes with tomato sauce, pesto with spinach pancakes, and sweet potato pancakes with salsa!)
  • Top two spinach pancakes with a hamburger or turkey burger, a slice of low-fat cheese, shredded lettuce and tomato. Use mustard and ketchup as "syrup." Even the most finicky child will like it!
  • Serve a zucchini pancake with a scoop or chili or stew on top.
  • Use a carrot and onion pancake as the base for your favorite chicken or turkey salad.

    Have you ever tried savory pancakes? Would you? What combinations sound good to you?

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    "Top two spinach pancakes with a hamburger or turkey burger, a slice of low-fat cheese, shredded lettuce and tomato. Use mustard and ketchup as "syrup." Even the most finicky child will like it!"
    I have a son with Aspergers, pickiest eater EVER! He will not eat vegetables on his sandwhich, he will eat the lettuce on the side, and will not touch a tomato to save his life! I am always amused when articles say "even the finickiest eater, will eat etc." Yeah, sorry no.

    I have been eating zucchini cakes for years I wonder why I never branched out to other vegetaables? Thanks for a great concept. Report
    I ate these type of pancakes as a child, but we always called them fritters. Haven't had them in a long time. Makes me hungry! Report
    sounds delightful, can't wait to get experimenting! Report
    I would perhaps try the onion, cheese and spinach ones. Report
    I make what I call squash fritters in the summer--but basically a squash pancake--and I put grape jelly on them---dh eats them plain---my grandmother made them so I learned for her. Report
    That sounds like an amazing idea! I am going to have to puree the vegetables but if I can trick a whole family of pickey eaters - meaning vegetable haters - it is worth the effort for sure! Thanks for this post! :-) Report
    Savory pancakes are very common in traditonal Indian homes. They start with a batter made of lentils or chickpea flour, and sometimes a little Cream of Wheat thrown in. They include vegetables of your choice - most common being corn, onions, peas, tomatoes. Awesome with a bit of cheese on top. And then finally - they are eaten with a tangy /spicy cilantro or coconut sauce (chutney)- not a sweet syrup or a hot lentil soup (sambar). Delicious. My biggest disillusion with the IHOP and pancakes in America has been that they can only be eaten with syrup......Try savory - they are delicious. Report
    I finally made the spinach pancakes. They were great, even my husband ate them. Report

    And to think I was about to give up pancakes! Report
    These sound wonderful, like savory crepes. I can't wait to try them, and am glad to have another alternative to potatoes, rice, and pasta. Report
    Yes, "HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING" is a fantastic cookbook. Every bride should get one for her wedding gift, and every GUY should get one for college graduation. Report
    Mark Bittman is also a cookbook author. I have "How to Cook Everything" and it's the MOST used cookbook in the house. It truly DOES tell you how to cook everything! Report
    I'm going to try this recipe, but I'm going to have to puree the veggies. LOL Report
    My mother has been using veges in pancakes ever since I can remember. She would add even protein to the pancakes like different kinds of cheese, beans etc. This is because, she always said that there was absolutely no nutrition in processed all purpose flour. So she made them nutritiously healthy. It is a favorite in my house. Children too simply love it. Report
    spinach pancakes are good and so are zuccinni ones, so having other vegie pancakes would be interesting. Report
    Sorry, this concept of vegie pancakes sounds absolutely yucky. Report
    Oh- I love veggi pancakes, one of my friends makes them and they are delish. Thanks for the recipie link, now I can make my own. Report
    Potato pancakes are awesome! I'd probably try all of these ... sans pesto. Can't stand the stuff. Tastes like grass. Haha. It's weird how many people my age cannot stand vegetables.. but I think that goes to show how most of us were raised on highly processed food and fast foods. Report
    I can't eat spinach. I would have to pass on this one.
    While I'm not from Montreal, I agree with HFEATHERINA. Stuffed crepes with mushrooms or asparagus or other assorted veggies is absolutely delish! Makes me think it's been a while since I had crepes... :-) Report
    Looks like something just for me in the family. I have picky husband and kids and they will never pick up the fork if they see them in the pancake. The only way I can get them eat veggies in the meal is to grind the veggies up so they can't see or pick them out. Report
    I made zucchini and cream corn pancakes a long time ago. They were so good. Thanks for reminding me about savory pancakes and the recipes! Report
    we have made veggie fritters, love those. Not sure about savory pancakes. to make veggie fritters simply shred your veggie, (we like carrot) add some chopped onion and a beaten egg. i like to cook my in my electric skillet with just a touch of olive oil. Cook 4ish min on both sides - you wont be able to make them fast enough. Report
    Thank you for the wonderful idea. I will definitely try it. This sounds like a way to liven things up and avoid the same old boring foods. My son loves vegetables, but I have a terrible time getting him to eat bread and meat, This may just be a great way for both of us to get what we need. We don't eat alot of bread, it seems to go to waste before we can eat it all, yet I love tortillas which are not so good for me. I really like this idea and I am so excited to try it. Thank you again! Report
    I hate any kind of vegetable that is cooked. Its a texture thing but I might actually try these. Some of them sounded ok and since I gave up bread, a pancake might be good. I gave up bread because I couldn't get through a loaf without it molding. I'm hoping these will freeze well. Report
    these all sound just wonderful but I would want to know the nutritional values first..

    Thanks, debbie Report
    I've actually had something similiar to this & they really aren't bad. Good way to get in your veggies! Report
    pancakes with veggies-ick.

    i'm from Montreal and we don't really do the pancake thing - too much dough. Crepes with veggies though - yummy. Crepes are lighter and thinner (and usually sweeter). I love crepes with spinach and swiss. Report
    It would be helpful if the nutritional info was listed when a recipe is given. I might try these sometime. How about using broccoli? Report
    I love potato pancake and zucchini fritters. Report
    I have eaten spinach pancakes as well as potato pancakes. They are very good and if you use sour cream or applesauce as a condiment with them they taste even better. Report
    I started making various kinds of pancakes this year, adding flax and oatmeal to them that decreased the amount of carbs in each pancake, increased the protein and all over nutrition. I make a big batch of these and use them instead of prepared bread. Now reading this about adding vegetables to the pancakes has me all excited. Sounds delicious and I started thinking wow these would make great 'bread' substitutes as well, I can put hummus on the pancake as a snack, open face sandwich and on and on. Thanks for the great ideas. All of the ideas sound wonderful to me.
    Yummy! Thanks for all the fun recipes! Report
    My mother used to take the flowers from the squash plant take off the little green stickers and dip them in pancake batter. I have been eating them ever since. Her Mother was from Sicily. It was a recipe from there. It was also used with mustard greens and mushrooms. Love it. Report
    Sounds Great - I'll be trying them soon! Report
    Okay I got to admit that I won't try any of the pancakes listed. It just doesn't sound interesting in any manner that I can think of. Report
    sounds good!I'm going to try that. Report
    This is something I will be trying real soon. Especially the spinach and zucchini,with tomatos, onions and low fat cheese should be good. Report
    My family is of Czech descent. One of the family recipes is saurkraut pancakes made with a good dosing of sauteed onions added to the "Bavarian" style saurkraut. Even my non-Czech in-laws hover around waiting for a bite. Report
    I use to make zucchini pancakes and they were delicious. Now I have to figure out a great vegan way to make them : ( Report
    My dad used to be a cook in the Marines and would add all kinds of things to the pancakes and eggs to give the men a variety so when he came home he did the same to us. Yuck! I haven't had pancakes in over 20 years, its just to traumatizing. Report
    We make hamcakes from deviled ham.
    1 can deviled ham, 3 eggs, a splash of milk and some diced onions. Mix all together and griddle them up just like regular pancakes...yum! Report
    Yum. What a great way to "sneak" veggies into picky eaters foods. I have done them with pumpkin but will sure try the zucchini ones. Thanks Report
    They eat Crepes' with veggies rolled in them. So what is the difference. It is still a pancake batter just thinner. Love the idea. I would try it as I don't like too much sweet for breakfast anyway and would eat them for other meals. And also we sometimes eat corn fritters...which I add whole corn and peppers and onions...same there. Thanks good article and good recipe. Report
    Sounds like a great idea. I've made something similar with corn. Report
    You can do your cup-to-gram conversions online at

    Pastry flour is more finely ground than regular flour. Whole wheat flour tends to be coarse, so buying the whole wheat pastry flour makes it lighter and easier to substitute in baking. Report
    Love zucchini pancakes, had them lots growing up. Put in some garlic, ooh what a treat! Report
    I would like to know how many grams 3 cups of spinach is? and what is pastry flour? I love veggie pancakes but I can't figure out the cup measurements. We are used to grams. I hardly never use frozen veggies as the fresh ones taste much better. Report
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