Ring in Spring with Savory Pancakes

Kyle and I have been on vacation this week so we both have been celebrating a bit of a spring break. I have taken advantage of the opportunity to jump right into all things spring: cleaning, gardening, hiking, and giving up all aspects of my daily routine in favor of plowing through a long To Do list. In the spirit of throwing old routines out the window and turning over a new leaf, I made breakfast for dinner the other night. I know what you’re thinking: “BFD. Been there, done that.”

But this savory take on pancakes is anything but boring. It highlights seasonal ingredients and celebrates the freshness of the big thaw-out that takes place this time of year. I have to admit, this might not be for everyone. I showed these photos to some of my coworkers and they gagged at the thought of vegetable pancakes. But if you are like me and you love spring veggies, hopefully this dish will find its way to your table soon. It didn’t last long on mine, as the light, fluffy pancakes vanished from my plate almost as quickly as they disappeared from Kyle’s.

Topped with lemon tarragon yogurt sauce and fresh ground pepper, these asparagus ricotta pancakes offer the fresh zest and comforting warmth of early spring. Preparing this dinner, I couldn’t help but think of Easter last year. A trip to the Shenandoah Valley for a quick reunion with a dear friend. Beer tasting in the warm afternoon sun of another early spring. Shuffling outside in slippers and sandals the next morning through dew-kissed grass to pluck asparagus and rhubarb from the family garden, as the aroma of fresh brewed coffee wafted from the kitchen door. And we whipped up a batch of ricotta pancakes for breakfast. Why not for dinner too?

Asparagus Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Tarragon Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, chopped, roasted and cooled (Roast chopped asparagus lightly coated in olive oil at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes until tender and vibrant green, then cool)
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Preparation:

  1. Combine ricotta, milk, egg yolks, and 1 tsp of lemon zest in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Separately, beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet, stir to combine. Add onions and asparagus to mixture. Fold in egg whites. Do not overmix.
  5. Heat a griddle to medium heat and coat with butter or olive oil. Fry pancakes in batches and remove to covered dish to keep warm.
  6. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, remaining 1 tsp of lemon zest and tarragon. Stir to combine.
  7. Top pancakes with lemon tarragon yogurt sauce and fresh ground pepper.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Honey Oat Pancakes

I turned 25 this year and my quarter-life milestone (fingers crossed) coincided with a lot of changes. I started a new job. I joined a soccer team for the first time in 8 years. I started using anti-aging eye cream. I went blonde for 4 months, then back to brunette. I shelled out the cash for DVR.

But let’s focus on the soccer, shall we? I hadn’t played since high school when I started again this spring. I wasn’t very good but I had a lot of fun. . . if you call head-to-toe muscle soreness for 43% of your life “fun.” All kidding aside, I am so glad I started up again. I am also surprised and delighted that my team agreed to have me back for the fall season and didn’t try to pass me off on some other suckers in the pre-season draft.

When the season started two weeks ago, I wanted to make a good impression on my teammates. Kick some ass and show them I ate my Wheaties that morning. Only I don’t eat Wheaties. I chose to eat this instead. I am oh so glad I did.

These whole wheat pancakes have a touch of honey in the batter and hearty oats throughout. The hint of orange zest wakes you up , and the wholesome grains keep you full all morning. I ran ninety minutes while full of energy and I wasn’t hungry after, so these pancakes clearly go to work for you.

Honey Oat Pancakes (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest
  • Cooking spray

Preparation:

  1. Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl.
  2. Add wet ingredients (milk through egg) and stir to combine. Add the orange zest and stir.
  3. Heat a pan or electric griddle over low-medium heat. Coat with cooking spray.
  4. Drop pancake batter on heated pan for desired size pancakes. When air bubbles are visible throughout the pancake and the bottom turns golden brown, flip over and cook for another minute or two more, then remove to a plate.

Whole wheat pancakes tend to be a little on the dry side, so make sure you have toppings available. Maple syrup, drizzled honey, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit or fruit compote work well.

Not a bad discovery for 25. I loved these so much I made them twice in one week. I suppose there are worse habits you could pick up. Do yourself a favor and make these pancakes this weekend. Who knows what you will be inspired to do?

And for that matter. . . Who knows what color my hair will be next? Who knows if this eye cream is actually working? Who knows if I’ll ever be good at soccer again?

At least the pancakes are a sure thing.