Tigernut flour gives these pancakes their natural sweetness, nutty taste, and major fill-factor. Healthy pancakes never tasted less “healthy” than this.
Once upon a time, my dad made us pancakes for breakfast on Sunday mornings. None of that boxed Aunt Jemima stuff for him. No, his were made from scratch, the real deal. Or, as I recently learned, “OG” (original gangster, for anyone who is like me and can’t keep up with slang).
Before someone calls me out on it– pancakes aren’t technically Whole30 approved. Viewed as a trigger food for many people, the Whole30 program ruled out all pancakes, regardless what they’re made of; even those banana-egg-oil concoctions are goners.
So what gives? Why am I whipping up a batch of pancakes this week? Am I actually sticking to the Whole30 regimen, or have I called it quits already?
Allow me to explain.
In my mind, pancakes were one of the foods that came to mind when I thought of “unhealthy”. I could picture a tall stack drenched in maple syrup. And, since they were an “unhealthy” food, it was only logical that I would gain a ton of weight instantly if I ate them. That conclusion is inherently problematic on several levels, and I really couldn’t tell you exactly how I reached it, but somehow or other I did.
Pancakes, as a rule, don’t have to be bad for you.
It’s taken me years to figure this out, but now I know that it’s more about the quality and type of ingredients used than about the final ‘package’ of my meal. Frankly, sharing a stack of fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning with one of my best friends, knowing that everything that went into making them is clean and unprocessed, is just not problematic for me. Of course, if pancakes are a trigger food for you, then be strong; you can always have some of these deliciously healthy flapjacks (really, the number of times I wrote “pancakes” was getting too high) after you complete Whole30! Win-win.
For everyone else, though, you’re about to get a piping hot plate of paleo, sugar-free, nut-free, and gut-friendly pancakes. It almost sounds too good to be true, but you have my word. What’s the magic ingredient?
I know, I know, that’s not something you see on your average grocery store shelf (you can find tigernut products on Amazon, though; choose the ones sold by Organic Gemini and you can use the discount code “1LoyalOG” for 10% off! Bet you’re all going to try some now). While at Fancy Food I met the folks over at Organic Gemini, and learned about tigernuts right from the source. Pens and notebooks at the ready, people, this is one you won’t want to forget.
What’s a Tigernut?
Coming from a family rife with nut allergies, the most obvious point of interest is that this is not a nut. Tigernuts are actually the tubers of yellow nutsedge, a grass-like plant originating in Nigeria. They’ve been around for thousands of years (according to Organic Gemini, tigernuts made up 80% of our ancestors’ paleo diet), were apparently a popular snack in the 1950s and ’60s, and are making their comeback now. See, fashion doesn’t have a trademark on retro.
I was further intrigued by the prebiotic fiber content. A few years ago my PT repeatedly stressed the important of eating enough fiber every day. I also knew that probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria, another huge factor in hopefully solving my stomach issues. The concept of prebiotics is relatively new to me, though. In a nutshell, prebiotics are a form of resistant starch (fiber) that helps the good bacteria already present in the gut to grow and flourish.
In other words, these pancakes are going to help keep your digestive system quite regular.
While running a quick Google search to see what people were saying about how tigernut flour stands up to other flours, I came across several claims that it can be used as a 1:1 substitution for white flour. My jaw literally dropped. I mean, it’s unheard of for gluten-free flour alternatives to bake the same way as traditional wheat flours, which is why most recipes call for flour blends and additives like xantham gum to get the structure and elasticity that usually comes from gluten.
You can imagine how badly I was itching to put all of this to the test.
The Verdict is In
After tasting a raw tigernut with trepidation, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. They’re really chewy and have a sweet nutty taste. I could easily get on board with that, so it was on to the next test, with slightly less caution than before.
These pancakes? Bomb.com. Aced it. Off the charts. Making their third appearance in my kitchen and upping my breakfast game to unbelievable heights.
The natural sweetness of the tigernuts means that there’s absolutely no added sugar needed here. I paired it with cinnamon (it’s practically a reflex by now), which highlights the slight nuttiness of the flour. Not only does it taste awesome, but the flour actually does bake like normal flour. The first couple of times I made these there was no baking powder, producing much more dense pancakes. They were good, but I wanted fluff. After tweaking the recipe, my reaction ran more along the lines of IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE. (Yup, I loved Despicable Me.) Both are great, though, so don’t worry if you have a personal vendetta against baking powder. No hard feelings.
This breakfast stack comes together in about 15 minutes flat, only needs one bowl, and is downright satisfying. For the first time ever, pancakes left me feeling full.
For the final touch top them with fresh berries, granola (for you non-Whole30-ers), chia seeds, nut/seed butter. Anything goes. They’re perfect for brunch or breakfast-for-dinner. OH MY GOSH WE SHOULD SERVE THEM AT A TOPPINGS PARTY. That idea just crossed my mind and now I’m way too excited. If you somehow make extra, you can easily store them in the fridge. But let’s be honest, who saves pancakes for later?
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, check it out on Facebook, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram to share!
- 1 cup Organic Gemini tigernut flour
- 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup non-dairy milk*
- 2 eggs
- coconut oil for pan
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
- Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Grease a skillet with coconut oil (about 1 teaspoon per batch) and heat over medium-high flame.
- Once hot, reduce flame to medium and drop ¼ cup of batter onto skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until small bubbles form around the edges and you can easily slide pancake onto spatula. Flip and cook for 3-4 more minutes.*
- Add toppings, such as fresh berries, nut/seed butter, granola, or chia seeds.
- If have extra, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*Whatever you do, DO NOT FLATTEN the pancakes when you flip them. This is the secret to getting truly fluffy pancakes!
This post is sponsored by Organic Gemini. I was sent some of their tigernut products to try, but all opinions are strictly my own.