Happy Pancake Day! by Yasmin Ballingall

pancake with sliced strawberry

It’s time to live your 12-year-old self’s best dream- pancakes for dinner! Yes, today is Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake day… Whatever you call it, it’s a flippin’ good day!

pancake with sliced strawberry
Photo by Ash on Pexels.com

And I don’t use that pun lightly; as a child in England, pancake flipping races were intense at school. Allegedly, this tradition dates back to the 15th century with a multitasking woman making pancakes whilst rushing to church to confess her sins. Now that’s commitment.

Indeed, confessions were integral on this day. Shrove Tuesday is a long-standing Christian tradition preceding Ash Wednesday which marks the commencement of Lent lasting 40 days until Holy Saturday, followed by Easter Sunday. As the last day to indulge before the fasting season, pancakes would use up expensive indulgent foods like milk and eggs.

Today, I am eschewing tradition, and making milk & egg- free pancakes. Though you may think these are they key ingredients constituting a pancake, it is surprisingly easy to make a delicious batter which is vegan! The traditional British pancake is flat and large: closer to a crepe than the American cakes- but not as thin, with the slight leavening of the egg. This means you can achieve a British pancake easily without the need of a rising-agent. This recipe is:

Vegan Crepe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Optional add in: 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup/ 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until smooth.
  2. Cover with cling-film and refrigerate for 30 mins-1 hour to thicken and chill
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up a splash of oil until hot
  4. On a medium heat, pour part of the mixture and move around the pan until the surface is covered.
  5. Cook for around a minute. Shake the pan slightly to test if the pancake moves, or put a spatula under the edge to see if it pulls away from the pan. Then you’re ready to flip!
  6. Flip the pancake and cook the other side only for around 30 seconds.
  7. Slide of the pancake onto a plate and repeat the process with the rest of the batter, re-oiling the pan between batches.

Be warned, the topic of pancake toppings might spark a debate with your companions: what’s the best duo? Lemon and sugar? Strawberries and Nutella? Bananas and syrup? There are loads of combos which vary around the world. I know a certain someone who would have a mix of all of the above and anything else. Now that is a sin to be confessed today.

If you aren’t one for tradition though, you might be interested in my other pancake recipe. This is super healthy and just as yummy as the classic. Here are my banana oat pancakes. This recipe does use baking powder combined with apple cider vinegar to achieve a fluffy thick American-style stack. The banana is a principal binder and the oat flour adds bulk and texture, so no eggs needed!

Banana Oat Pancakes

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Same optional add in as previous: 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup/ 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Blend the oats in a blender/ food processor until finely milled
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate the batter for 10-20 mins to thicken and chill.
  4. Lightly oil a non-stick pan over a medium heat.
  5. Once hot, pour in a small dollop of the batter- aim for small-medium rounds as we want to make American-style thick small cakes, not a thin mixture spread across the circumference of the pan.
  6. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or again until there are tells that the pancake is ready to flip.
  7. Slide a spatula under the cake and flip.
  8. Cook the other side for another minute and slide off onto a plate.
  9. Repeat until all the batter is used, oiling the pan when needed.

The batter will continue to thicken in the fridge, so adjust accordingly with water. Although, they are still fragile and may not flip as well as their non-vegan counterparts. With that said, I would still really recommend giving these sin-free vegan pancakes a go. Aside from the great taste, the banana brings fibre (even resistant starch) and the oats, slow-releasing carbohydrates, meaning the pancakes will make for satiating breakfast, lunch or dinner.

These pancakes enjoy the company of cinnamon, blueberries and maybe a dollop of plain yogurt or a drizzle of maple syrup. We also had our pancakes rolled up in banana or with cinnamon raisins. Delicious.

So those are my two recipes for pancake day. Both vegan, grain-free and the latter, gluten-free; give either or both a go, and you can’t go wrong… if you do go wrong, just lash with syrup and no one will complain!