Carob Buckwheat Pancakes with Almonds and Carob Chips (Sugar-Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Xanthan-Free)

[Stacked high, topped with homemade apricot jam and plumberry sauce]

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  When she was a puppy, I would have sworn that Elsie had no vocal chords. She never made a peep until she was about six months old. No barking, no whining, no howling, no growling–nothing.  (In retrospect, I’m guessing that her inauspicious beginnings, raised as a stray in a shelter cage with at least 20 other bigger and more aggressive pups, taught her to be quiet in the same way that babies become silent if they’re never picked up or soothed when they cry. I know: heartbreaking. Excuse me for a sec, I just need to grab this tissue. . . .).

Even once she learned to bark, Elsie remained an exceptionally quiet dog–that is, until Chaser entered the picture.  The complete antithesis of Elsie in every way, Chaser came into the world wailing, and pretty much hasn’t stopped since.

Chaser barks at car headlights as they flit by on the street outside our house; she bays at other dogs being walked by their owners, even if we happen to be driving in the car when she spies them; she howls when she wants me to throw her ball; she yaps when she’s hungry; she growls at the fly that’s buzzing in the windowpane.  Whining comes in a close second: she whines when she needs to go “do her business” outside; she whimpers when I don’t respond to the request to throw her ball; she shrieks when she sees a squirrel at the end of the street.  And in recent months, Elsie has begun to imitate her vociferous sister.

These days, it’s a fairly noisy trek to the local trail where The Girls enjoy their best romps.  I’m treated to Canine Cacophony–in stereo–as we make our way to the parking lot just beside the field. And while I’m glad to see my Girls so excited, I think I’d rather preserve my hearing into old age, thank you very much. So here’s what I do:  just as my friends are wont to do with their young children, I distract the Girls into silence with a question. As soon as Chaser launches into her trademark keening, I glance to my left and remark, “Oh, Chaser, is that a bird I see over there?” [silence.]. Then I just keep talking, pointing out various landmarks, until we arrive at our destination. Works every time!

This little sleight-of-focus came in quite handy last weekend with the HH (because, let’s face it, underneath it all, he’s really just a big kid).  I was jonesing for pancakes, but didn’t want to repeat any of the recipes I’d already made before (I’m a food blogger, after all). In recent weeks, I’ve also decided to reduce the amount of grains I eat in a day in an attempt to stave off even more unwanted poundage that seems to be mysteriously accumulating on my belly and hips. (Please note: I am not among the crowd who believes that white potatoes are the edible spawn of Satan, even though I do eat grain-free a good deal of the time. Potatoes don’t seem to elicit the same frenetic, “gotta-have-it-now” reaction from me that other white stuff does–to wit, white flour, white sugar, white rice, white wedding dresses during my twenties. . . so glad I’ve put all of those behind me now).

[Brunch plate: pancakes alongside the Best Home Fries Ever]

After being so enamored of Ashley’s Carob and Buckwheat Breakfast Bake recently, I decided to combine those two flavors once more, this time in a pancake recipe of my own.  Once the cakes were ready, I noticed the HH eyeing the platter with some suspicion.

“So, what are those made of?” he asked.

Should I tell him, and have him refuse to even try them?  Should I lie?  Ultimately, I decided to go for the same “redirection-of-attention” technique that worked so well with the dogs:

Ricki: Um, they’ve got carob.  And almonds.  Oh, and carob chips.

HH:  That’s it? But what kind of flour do they have?

Ricki [stalling]: Um. . . . I’d rather not tell you.

The HH grimaces, staring wryly with eyebrows raised. 

Ricki: I told you, I’m not happy with my weight these days. So I have to eat grain-free.

HH: Which part is grain-free?

Ricki: [almost inaudible] Buckwheat. . .

HH: But I hate buckwheat!!! [pause]. You mean buckwheat’s not a grain?

Ricki [seizing the opportunity]: No, it’s a seed. [Glancing toward the stovetop]: Oh, sweetheart, are those potatoes getting too browned? Would would you mind giving them a stir?

HH [stirring]:  No, they seem fine.  They look good.  Mmmmm, I love homefries. . .

See how easy?  😉

These pancakes combine the beauty of buckwheat flour (ie, technically not a grain) with unsweetened carob chips and optional chopped almonds for textural interest.  They offer up a light, moist (but not wet) and subtly flavored result with an alluring, yet somehow mysterious, blend of buckwheat and carob, the latter neutralizing the brashness of the former. I loved these with some of my recent plumberry jam dolloped on top.  For those of you who can  tolerate it, maple syrup would produce a spectacular flavor combination here, and I can attest (having watched the HH wolf down 3 of these ‘cakes), they won’t become saturated and then disintegrate the way many gluten free baked goods do when moistened.  And no xanthan!

In the end, the HH loved these. At first, he guessed that they contained chocolate, then decided they didn’t. At the end of our brunch, he pronounced this recipe “at the top of the list” and remarked, “It’s not often that you find a new flavor that works this well.”  Just exactly what “that flavor” was, however, he’d forgotten by the time we sat down to eat our meal.  And that, my friends, is the beauty of distraction.

This recipe is my submission to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday  and Traditional Tuesdays this week.

To all who are celebrating this week, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”

“Hey, Elsie, is that a bird I see over there? Better drop that ball. . . “

“Good try, kid. Unless you can get me one of those pancakes Mum made, this ball is mine.”

Last Year at this Time: Pan-Seared Oatmeal Wedges with Warm Plum Sauce (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Reprise: Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas (some gluten free; some ACD friendly)

Three Years Ago: Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings (dumplings are not gluten free; ACD all stages, except for dumplings)

Four Years Ago: Yet Another Chocolate Tofu Pudding (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Brilliant! You are such a superstar. I’m always amazed by how innovative you are with ingredients. I’d love to come over for brunch – it isn’t really a “thing” here in India.

  2. Oh man, the texture of those looks really lovely. I think the most adventurous pancake I ever made was with spelt flour, which was awesome. Totally gonna try these sometime. 🙂

  3. Looks Great Ricki! I’m venturing into a grain free diet here pretty soon to manage my Crohn’s symptoms and so these will be on my list to make for sure.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Be Well,

  4. What a beautiful stack of pancakes! I want to try cooking and baking with buckwheat, but I tried roasted buckwheat before and did not like it at all so it scared me off all buckwheat.

    • Thanks, Ashley! I know that buckwheat can be a strong flavor for lots of folks. The carob here helps to mitigate it, but I think the best bet (if you can find it) is light buckwheat flour. 🙂

  5. are they really a seed? ha, didn’t realize that. I loved the buckwheat pancakes i made awhile back, don’t know why i haven’t made them recently. guess i need to make these!!

  6. Buckwheat and carob? This may be the weekend to try them. My own recipes lately have been duds – comfort food will be welcome. Husband will have enough Thanksgiving leftovers to carry him into next week so it’s not like I’m being selfish!

  7. Those pancakes look good although I have never had anything buckwheat before (I think). I love the look of uber-healthy foods these days. In the past I would scowl, now I rejoice and drool.
    I will have to try that technique with my dog also. We thought he didn’t bark either for the first two years of his life (I guess being the last of his litter to be adopted will do that to a pup) so when he started last summer, we were all shocked but in a delighted way. We love when he barks. I think it is hilarious. When I speak to him, he always turns his head as if he totally understands what I am saying…which I actually think he does. He is a super smart dog. Aw, I love him so very much.

    • Rhona, thanks so much! Hope these pancakes turn your ideas of buckwheat around. 🙂 And your dog sounds so cute–and so sweet how mucy you love him! (we feel the same way about The Girls). 😀

  8. Oh you are too cute my dear. I use that power of distraction a lot, but mostly because I jump from topic to topic all the time. That “quirk” of mine actually seems to help with the hubby 🙂

    Love this recipe, just pinned it! I actually keep all of these ingredients on hand (pre-GF, yeah, I’m weird that way).

    • Ha, ha! Yes, I’m pretty all over the place, too, which drives the HH mad sometimes! 😉 And thanks for the pin! Hope you like the pancakes (which are good for everyone, GF or not). 😀

  9. Before I became vegan, I was just like HH, EWWWW I don’t like that or this or whatever looks “weird” on the plate… Now I’ll try anything and everything, except meat, EWWWWW!

  10. You are a superstar Ricki-I think this is what I will make this weekend with my family for brunch!

  11. I LOVE Buckwheat but don’t tolerate Carob. Are there particular baking properties it brings to the mix or is it purely for flavor? Would Organic Cocoa powder work as a replacement?

    I borrowed Dark Teff Sandwich Bread from Whole Life Foods Kitchen and replaced it with Buckwheat earlier this week and it’s yummy.

    I’m willing to add or substitute in Buckwheat to just about anything.

    • I’ve found that a one-for-one switch between carob and cocoa doesn’t always work for me, since carob has so much less fat than cocoa. You could try to remedy this in one of two ways: use a bit less cocoa (maybe a teaspoon/5 ml less or so), or use less fat (also a teaspoon/5 ml less or so) and see how that works. If you reduce the cocoa, add the same amount more buckwheat flour. Let me know how they turn out if you do give them a try! 🙂

  12. forgot to check the notify me feature.

  13. When someone comments on a blog, if you don’t check the “notify me” one may never get a email that there’s been a reply. That’s why I made the second post and checked ’cause I got your reply. 😉

    I will try reducing the fat first. probably tomorrow for breakfast/brunch as I’m not doing a batch of holiday cooking or traveling. Just a quiet day with my two cats.

  14. I am impressed! Nary a starch, unless you count those potatoes 🙂 I couldn’t live without potatoes, just sayin! You are the pancake Queen Ricki. I hope your grain-free adventures help those pounds melt away. xo

    • Thanks, Maggie! It’s true–I adore pancakes (my fave breakfast dish, alongside those potatoes). 😉 I think a pancake ebook is in my guture or something! 😉

  15. Potatoes aren’t the “white evil” they’ve been made out to be. I learned that if you cook them, then chill overnight or several hours until fully cooled, the carbs are altered so as to be far less problematic in triggering insulin. Also, combining them with a decent fat like coconut, pasture butter, olive, grape seed, and protein like dairy or meat, potatoes aren’t likely to cause a spike. just be careful to not over-indulge.

    I steam or microwave a batch of 6-8, chill them overnight and then use them for home-fries, salads, baked dished

  16. I’d just cook 3 or 4 or however many you’ll use. I don’t know if they’d keep their texture after freezing. I pop cleaned unpeeled potatoes in a covered glass casserole and microwave them for 7-8 minutes for small batches. I use a pressure cooker with a small amount of water for larger batches like potato salads.

    • In my experience, potatoes don’t keep that well if frozen. They’re all right if cut into pieces in something like a stew, but I haven’t had much success retaining the texture in larger pieces.

  17. I do love buckwheat, especially in the winter, but not carob, as it makes me feel headachy. Would it be sacrilege to use cocoa? 🙂

    • I think you could use cocoa, but use a bit less as it adds fat as well. Or maybe just reduce the fat (as mentioned in previous comment). Let me know what you think. And have a great Thanksgiving!

  18. these sound great to me – just wish I could distract sylvia more at the moment – have had an evening where no amount of distraction can take her away from her new torch – but I suspect that choc chip pancakes with choc chips would appeal to her her enough for her to be parted from the torch

  19. I wish I could’ve used that distraction technique on the blatantly homophobic and racist people I came across on a work trip recently. Trying to call them on it didn’t work. NO DELICIOUS PANCAKES FOR THEM EVER. *still fuming*

    P.S. My dog barks a lot at other dogs… as long as she’s inside the house protected from them by glass 😛

    • So sorry to hear that, Hannah! Argh on ignorant people. And of course, Chaser ONLY barks like mad when she’s protected by that glass–either our front door’s or the car window’s. She’s basically a wimp. 😉

  20. unfortunately, ignorance abounds and it’s not easily distracted. This is one of many reasons I had to divorce my family. There was no getting through to them no matter how many techniques I tried. Whatever my efforts, the mesaage was/is always twisted to victimize the attackers (family members) and attack the victims (poor, persons of color, unemployed, disabled, women, etc).

    Hope you’re having a peaceful day.

  21. omg these pancakes sound perfect! all my favorites together

  22. These are beautiful, Ricki. I love this recipe and these are on my to-make list for next weekend!
    Thank you; hope you had a fabulous holiday.

  23. Hi There Ricky~

    Just a quick note to share I featured your recipe in my allergy-friendly themed monthly round-up.

    Be Well,

  24. I had this for breakfast this morning. I made a few changes: I accidently left out the baking powder; I replaced the chia seed with one egg (per half recipe); I omitted the carob chips. They were pretty good. I accidently used just 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk so the batter was REALLY thick so my half batch yielded 4 very dense pancakes. Still, I thought they were tasty & satisfying 🙂

    To increase the protein, I topped these with a mixture of plain Greek yogurt, carob powder, cacao nibs, So Delicious’s original coconut milk creamer and spices (cinnamon, cloves & cayenne).

    • Thanks, Heather! I think the lack of baking powder also makes a huge difference in how light/fluffy they are.. . I’ve used less on occasion (by mistake) and they are much denser. And too bad about forgetting the other half of the milk!

  25. I just made these, using the milk to the 1 2/3 cup mark, not the 1 cup in the text, given the amount of buckwheat flour. I must be the first to actually make them.

    Ooh, Ricki, they are yummy!

  26. Hi Ricki,
    What a moist, chocolately, crunchy, aromatic pancake! The taste was out of this world. I, along with my mother, tested a few pancake recipes today trying to find one that incorporated the kinds of flours and ingredients that my husband and I could eat. I have celiac disease and my husband has gluten intolerance plus we each have several foods that act as cross-reactives that are off limits to us. This pancake recipe was a HUGE HIT in our home! We will be making thiese luscious pancakes again. Thank you so much for this tasty & delicious breakfast entree (or lunch or supper). I think anytime of the day would be fitting for these award-winning ‘cakes.

    • Thank you so much, Susan! I’m so glad they worked for your dietary restrictions and that you enjoyed them. These were a hit with my hubby, too, who has no dietary restrictions. And thanks for the reminder that I really must make these again! 😀

  27. Can you tell me how many pancakes this recipe yields?
    Thanks so much, Ricki!
    Love your site 🙂

  28. These sound so yummy and I wanted to make them, but wanted to get some clarification first- in the ingredients list you mentioned using 1-2/3 cup milk, but in the text of the directions it says one cup. Which amount should I use? Thanks!!

    • Hi Becky,

      So sorry about that! I started with 1 cup but found that the batter became very thick very quickly. You can start with 1 cup and add up to 2/3 cup more as it thickens, or just start with 1-2/3 cup (it will be a tiny bit thinner at the beginning, but it will still be fine). Hope that helps!


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