Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes

Imagine light, moist, gluten-free pancakes that are healthy for you and have enough sweetness that you don’t need sugar or syrup (unless you want to, of course).  Impossible, you say?  Not in the least.

Thanks to Nora at the Natural Noshing blog who recently posted a wonderful quinoa waffle recipe, I was inspired to create what seemed to me to be one of my ultimate verboten foods, ingredient-wise and diet-wise: pancakes.

This recipe proves, once again, that being a gluten-sensitive, lactose-intolerant dieter does not mean a life of despair (sob!) and deprivation.  These pancakes are a wonderful comfort food.  In fact, I tweaked the original recipe so that I could eat all the pancakes in one sitting and not create a ripple in my diet.  And, while they were delicious with blueberries, I’m going to try diced peaches next.  Yum!

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Makes 5-6 pancakes

Cooking tip #1: If you’re dieting, you’ll want to fry these pancakes in a non-stick pan using cooking spray.  I used a large skillet as follows.  I sprayed one side of the pan and poured in 2 pancakes (¼ cup batter) when the pan was medium hot.  When they were ready to be flipped, I sprayed the other side of the pan and turned them over onto that side.  Then I sprayed the original side and started another set of pancakes.  I used medium heat and, if any smoking occurred, I turned the heat down a bit.

Cooking tip #2: Unlike their gluten-flour counterparts, these pancakes do not announce that they’re finished on the hidden side by creating bubbles on the visible side.  You’ll need to cook these on one side for about 3 minutes or when the edges are fully browned.  Flip them carefully and cook for another 2-3 minutes or when a spatula pressed into the surface does not leave a dent.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ¼ cup quinoa flakes
  • 2 tbsp. sweetener (Note: Weight Watcher points for this recipe are based on the use of artificial sugar.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup soy milk or other alternative milk
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup blueberries

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all liquid ingredients: milk, pumpkin, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.
  4. Add blueberries to combined mixture.
  5. Heat frying pan over medium heat.  Use ¼ cup as a measure to hold the batter per pancake.  Cook 3 minutes on one side and 2-3 minutes on the other. (See Cooking tips #1 and #2 above).

For Weight Watchers: The entire recipe is 7 points on the Points plan and 8.5 points on PointsPlus plan.  If you wish to reduce points on the Points plan, make these without any fruit.

Quinoa Pudding #2: With Pumpkin or Butternut Squash

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

I’ve been experimenting with this pudding and have discovered that it offers great versatility.  Quinoa Pudding #1 had cranberries and was delicious.  I then made the pudding with 1 cup of pumpkin purée and liked it even better.  It was filling and a sweet comfort food.  I also had to cook the pudding longer because there was more of it.

Yesterday I made it with mashed butternut squash to see what would happen.  Another success and it made the kitchen smell like butterscotch!  My husband liked the pumpkin pudding better, but I’d rate both as equal.  Also, both pumpkin and butternut quash are great foods for dieters because both are 0 points on the Weight Watchers program.

Update: I have also created a summer version with banana that is now posted.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 9-10 ½-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa seeds
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute
  • ½ cup artificial sugar
  • 2½ cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée or butternut squash, cooked and mashed

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa seeds if the manufacturer has not indicated that this has been done.
  2. Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Add quinoa and bring to boil again.
  4. Lower heat to simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.  The quinoa should have absorbed all the water, and you should have approximately 2 cups.
  6. In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk.
  7. Stir in artificial sugar, milk, vanilla, salt, spices, and mashed squash.
  8. Test the flavour to ensure that it is sweet enough for you or needs more spices.
  9. Add cooked quinoa to liquid ingredients.
  10. Bake in 325 degree oven for 55 minutes. The quinoa will not be set yet.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes for liquid to absorbed.

For Weight Watchers: 2 points per ½-cup serving on the Points plan and 1.5 points per ½-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

Pumpkin-Romano Risotto

Elegant enough for a dinner party, this risotto is smooth and creamy, enriched by pumpkin and romano cheese, but made without the traditional oil, cream, and wine—all ingredients which move it way out of the dieter’s range.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 4 1-cup servings

 Ingredients

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder and ½ cup water
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1¼ cups pumpkin purée, unsweetened
  • 6 tbsp. sheep romano cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • Artificial sugar and salt to taste
  • 

 Directions

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan and then reduce heat, keeping it at a simmer.
  2. Using a large, non-stick pan, heat chicken broth powder–water mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  4. Add rice and cook, stirring, until the outer shell is translucent, about 1 minute.
  5. Add 1½ cups of broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Continue to add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring each time until it is absorbed, until rice is just tender.  This should take about 20 minutes of steady stirring.  If you run out of broth, add warm water by ½ cups.
  7. Lower heat to medium.
  8. Mix in pumpkin purée, cheese, and spices.
  9. Taste and add artificial sugar and salt if necessary.
  10. 

For Weight Watchers: 4 points for a 1-cup serving on the Points plan and 5 points for a 1-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Pumpkin Risotta” in Best of Weight Watchers Magazine.)