I thought I’d kick off the new year with a hearty, healthy and easy breakfast recipe. I wanted something that was both protein and fiber rich, but without any use of protein powders. Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes were the answer.
(As a public service announcement, if you only really love fluffy pancakes or diner style pancakes, and all this healthy pancakes business isn’t for you, then let me save you some time. Head over to Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes or Cream of Wheat Griddlecakes.)
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming….
I know that my Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups have become a favorite for so many of you. We still love that recipe and all the variations of it like Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal, Blueberry Pie Baked Oatmeal and Ultimate Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal.
I also love steel cut oats and have been stocking up because we’re going through them pretty quickly these days. I often make them plain, but Toasted Coconut Pecan Steel Cut Oats is a fun treat when I have coconut milk on hand.
Oh, and apparently it’s National Oatmeal Month. And, while I didn’t know that until recently, I suppose it’s a nice coincidence.
Protein is pretty much mandatory for me at breakfast. I always make sure there’s some balance of protein and carbs to start off the day.
Even when we’re having “treat” breakfasts like scones or muffins, you can bet that they’ve been anchored by some eggs or meat or cottage cheese or yogurt.
I’m going to call these pancakes, “Healthy.” But we all have our own ideas of what healthy means. What works for me, might not work for you.
And since research and opinions continue to evolve, you really have to do your own research to make your own best decisions. The information is often confusing and contradictory.
Common sense, moderation and balance drive many of my choices, as well as a preference for whole foods.
So let’s talk about some of the ingredients I used in this recipe.
For instance, I like egg whites. I’ve made Spinach Feta Egg Cups more times than I can count. But, it also makes sense that eating a whole egg can you give you more balanced nutrition.
I only bring this up because I decided to use whole eggs in this recipe. I also used a 2% fat cottage cheese. So there’s two sources of protein.
For those of you who keep up on this stuff, there’s been a lot written about the advantages of eating full fat dairy. This threw me for a bit of a loop when it first came out, since I happen to like skim milk.
It made sense to make some changes to the dairy products we buy. So, while we don’t do full fat dairy all of the time, I have moved to higher percentages of low fat dairy for some things.
In other words, very few things are completely off limits. I make decisions daily and weekly on what I think is best for my family or best for a recipe.
I know some of you will substitute egg whites and non fat dairy, but just know that taking out that fat will change the texture, moisture and some of the satisfying “staying power” of the pancakes. Still good, just different.
I chose not to use protein powder because, well, I haven’t researched a protein powder that I feel comfortable using. So I don’t. I feel better about just going to the source and eating the whole food instead of a concentrated version of it.
As far as the oats? I used quick oats here. I used quick oats because I figured they’d be easier to grind up in my food processor and might have a softer texture than if I started with rolled oats or steel cut.
I also thought they’d work best for a pancake batter, especially since I wasn’t grinding them down to a fine powder.
For sweetness and a bit of flavor, I went with just a touch of maple syrup. The banana also provides a bit more natural sweetness.
As I always say, everyone can add more sweetness at the serving table, if they desire.
Enough about the ingredients, let’s get to how easy it is to make these. l used a food processor. I imagine it would also work well in a blender, but I didn’t try that option.
I started with the oats and other dry ingredients and pulsed them until I had a texture I liked. As I just mentioned, I didn’t want to grind them down to a fine powder; I wanted some texture left.
Then, just add the banana and all of the wet ingredients…the cottage cheese, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup. Process until thoroughly mixed.
And that’s it! One bowl. Easy peasy. I let mine sit for about 10 minutes to give the oats some extra time to soak up all of the liquid. I used that time to preheat my griddle.
Then it’s time to cook them. I set my griddle to 340, which works for most of my pancakes. You might have to experiment with the temperature, especially if you’re making these in a frying pan.
If your griddle or pan is too hot, then the first side will get too dark before the pancake is set and ready to be flipped. Go for a medium to medium high heat and do a test pancake to see if the temperature is right.
My pancakes took about 2 minutes on the first side. That gave me a nice, deep golden color and enough stability to flip it without batter spilling off the top when I turned it.
If you’re still reading this, you already know these aren’t going to be fluffy pancakes. They’re going to be completely different than most other pancakes you’ve had.
They will puff up a bit after you flip them, but then they will deflate and become a nice thin pancake.
Now…what these ARE going to be are moist, tender, yet hearty pancakes with a satisfying chew to them. They might be thin, but there’s a lot packed into each bite.
They’re kind of like a hearty oatmeal crepe. My family really enjoyed them.
In the photos, you can see that we served them with Greek yogurt (more protein) and a fresh fruit salad. We also loved them spread with a bit of jam and/or peanut butter (more protein :) Of course, they’re great with a bit of maple syrup as well.
We tried to keep the additions to either additional protein or small hits of sweetness with the jam, fresh fruit or syrup.
And, they might look rather thin and unassuming. They look like you could eat that whole giant stack I have pictured. But don’t let the food styling fool you.
In reality, we ate about 3 each, along with our choice of added toppings. And, they had staying power. No one was hungry until lunch time.
They’re also great for a quick snack. I reheated just one with a scrape of peanut butter and a bit of jelly and rolled it up to go.
I, unfortunately, kicked off the new year with the flu :( Hopefully, the flu isn’t anywhere in your sights this season.
But these Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes?
Now that’s something that should be :)
Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes
- 2 cups quick oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups cottage cheese I used 2%
- 6 large eggs
- 1 banana ripe and sliced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Healthy topping ideas:
- Greek yogurt
- fresh fruit
- chopped nuts and nut butters
- fruit jams
Add oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Process to desired texture. I ground mine down but left some texture. (See photos in blog.)
Add the cottage cheese, eggs, banana, vanilla and maple syrup. Process until smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes while you preheat your griddle. (If making in a frying pan, preheat just before cooking.)
Spray your griddle or pan with cooking spray or brush a thin layer of your preferred oil to prevent sticking. Using a measuring cup or ice cream scoop, place a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto cooking surface. (The first side should take about 2 minutes to cook without the bottom getting too brown.) Flip and finish cooking the other side.
- Serve pancakes warm with your choice of toppings.
*It may take you a few tries to get the cooking temperature right. Too high and you'll burn the bottoms before the top is set and ready to flip. Start with a medium to medium high heat and adjust from there. How will you know? Use your spatula to lift up the edge of the pancake to check the the bottom color. If it's a deep golden brown, and by lifting up the edge, the batter on the top isn't sliding and spilling over the edge, it's ready.
*The batter will spread, so don't be too heavy handed when placing it on the griddle. Doing a test pancake will give you lots of info on how the batter reacts. Then you'll have a better idea of proper temperature, how much batter you want for each pancake and how much oil you need to keep them from sticking.
*I used a food processor, but I believe you could use a good blender. I've never ground oats in a blender, but I've seen others who have, so it should work just fine.
*I didn't measure the cottage cheese in a measuring cup. I just used a 16 ounce tub and added it directly to the food processor.
*Store pancakes covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, I layer the pancakes with waxed paper and place the stacks into a zip top freezer bag. Then, I can easily remove just what I need. As with almost any pancake, these reheat beautifully in the microwave, so they are a perfect make ahead option.
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