Quick and Easy, High Protein, Single-Serve Breakfast Pancakes (Gluten Free; Dairy Free; Egg Free; Sugar Free; Easily Grain- or Nut-Free)

[High-protein, vegan and gluten-free pancakes made with buckwheat groats and almond butter]

Now that we’re approaching the end of our semester at the college where I teach, seems everyone has studying and exams on the brain.  So I figured this would be an ideal time to present you with a little DDD pop quiz:

Q.  If we eliminate chocolate, what is Ricki’s favorite food to eat?

[I know: that’s like saying, “If we eliminate air, what is your favorite thing to breathe?”  But indulge me here.]

Think you know?  I’ll give you a hint:

A. Pancakes.

(Darn! Guess I’d never make it as a contestant on Secret Word.)

I adore pancakes. They are the perfect breakfast food, whether sweet or savory.  (Of course, if you choose sweet, be sure to top them with some melty, oozy, drippy chocolate or butterscotch nut butter, perhaps some homemade fruit preserves, or, if you’re really fancy, coconut whipped cream and fresh fruit.).  Pancakes are quick, easy, and–as their name suggests–cake-like!  What could possibly be better?

But most people think of pancakes as “weekend food.”  Like most of us, when I wake up on weekday mornings, I’m not exactly in the mood to cook something.  I’m running around trying to get showered, dressed, packed for school, or out to the gym. My articulation skills aren’t yet at their full running speed, either.

(Typical morning conversation in the DDD household: 

HH [Standing at the front door]: “Okay, I’m going to wake the pearls for a talk!”

Ricki [Barely out of bed. Yells down the stairs.]: Whaaaaat? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you!

HH [Yelling up from the front door]: “I’m going to TAKE the GIRLS for a WALK!”

Ricki: Okay! Grab a gun and I’ll see you when you get smacked!”

HH [Yelling]: Whaaaaaaaat?

Ricki [Yelling]: I said, ‘Okay!  Have FUN and I’ll see you when you get BACK’!)

Then, while the HH proceeds to take The Girls for their AM perambulation, I stumble about the bedroom, bathroom, and down to the kitchen, thankful that I don’t have to speak aloud again for the next 20-25 minutes.  By that time, I’ve either exercised, had some matcha tea, or showered, all three of which stimulate my synapses sufficiently that I can speak (relatively) articulately once more.

[Variation with quinoa and tahini]

No matter what my schedule (or garbled speech), I ensure that I eat breakast every day.  (Not a hardship, considering that my appetite makes itself known pretty much whenever I’m awake–which includes those times when I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break). Given the frenetic morning schedule, however, weekeday breakfasts are, perforce, quick and easy. Sometimes I’ve got leftover porridge or quizza at the ready, so I just heat and eat.  Other days, with nothing prepared in advance, I throw together a quick smoothie.

And then, there are the magical days when I concoct something like these pancakes: so quick and so simple that they barely merit the term, “cooking.”

On six mornings over the past two weeks, I’ve eaten a variation of these griddle cakes for breakfast.  There’s something irresistibly appealing about them–even if I can’t quite articulate exactly what it is.  Is it the fact that an entire, freshly cooked, hot breakfast can be ready in less than 15 minutes? That this produces exactly one major serving (so major, in fact, that you won’t be hungry again until late afternoon)?  That the protein content here is a whopping 21.5 grams and the fiber is 10.2 grams (41% of your daily requirement)?? Or that the texture and taste are so unusual, so idiosyncratic, so. . . singular, that eating these makes you feel like a rebellious teenager again, boldly asserting your individuality?

Light in texture while still remaining moist inside, these hotcakes are not like your typical dry pancakes, either. I wouldn’t quite call them “cakelike,” but they’re not exactly as dense as savory patties, either.  Their texture is closest to a well-browned griddle cake with a dense, moist, muffin-like interior; substantial without being too heavy.  And I just adore them.

As for flavor, depending on which grain or nut butter you use, you’ll find yourself savoring a neutral or slightly nutty pancake with just a whisper of cinnamon.  If you’d like to jazz up the spices, feel free to add cardamon and cloves for a chai-like vibe. I loved the combination with some melted Walco-Nut butter, but walnut-cacao nib butter was also splendid; I bet coconut, chopped nuts, or other add-ins would work well, too.

The other morning, after the HH returned from his walk with The Girls, I was already sitting at the table enjoying one of these treats when he walked in.

“Hey, I bet I still have time to eat one of those,” he said as he glanced toward my plate.

“What?” I yelled back. “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you.”

(Shhh–don’t tell the HH. That time, I had actually heard him just fine. It’s just that I didn’t want to share).  😉

“Don’t worry, Mum, we won’t tell Dad.  And we won’t tell him that you gave us each a little piece of pancake once he went upstairs to shower, either.”

And if you’re looking for another quick and easy, grain-free breakfast, here’s another favorite.

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Other pancakes and breakfast foods on DDD:

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  1. Yum! I love when I make pancakes on the weekend (because they are weekend food, after all!) and I have leftovers, so I can enjoy them during the week. Love your version. 🙂

    • Thanks, Alta! I actually think of these more as weekday food, though, to be honest–quick enough to have on a “regular” day! 🙂

  2. Seriously, now that I think about it, don’t you have like a dozen pancake recipes on here? 🙂

  3. how did you read my mind? I literally woke up thinking about pancakes! I didn’t have the right ingredients, but I am going to get them and make these as soon as I can, I miss pancakes and thanks for showing me how to make them ACD friendly.

  4. That’s an awesome take on single serving pancakes! Love the use of buckwheat groats!

    On the “to-make” list 🙂

    • Thanks, Gabby! I think they are my new staple for breakfast. 🙂

      • Awesome 🙂 I want to do a spring cleanse starting on Monday where I’ll be cutting out grains and refined sugars. I just realized these completely fit the bill so I will definitely be trying them then!

        • Thanks, Gabby. And that’s exactly the reason I created them–I’m off all sweeteners except stevia right now, and often go grain-free for most days of the week when I feel the need to cut back. 🙂

  5. pancakes are becoming such a must in our house too. these sound super healthy and filling, esp perfect for hubbs who doesnt snack in between. I am a snacker. if i pass on this recipe to mum, she will make it into a savory version.:) not many people eat sweet in the morning back home.

    • Richa, they’d be GREAT as a savory pancake, too, I’m sure! I bet topped with some sauteed veggies or avocado. . . mmmm, now you’ve got me thinking! 😉

  6. Thank you, thank you for continually making recipes that I can actually try!!! Pancakes are my favorite too…if you eliminate pizza. 🙂

    • Iris, I could say the same to you about your recipes–love that I can actually eat them!! I have 5 from your amazing cookbook tagged to make as soon as I’m back from Nourished 😀 (And okay, I will accept pizza as a second choice. . . but barely). 😉

  7. Yum, these look great and I love that you’ve said that you’ve enjoyed them so frequently… even on the busiest of days!

    • I’m amazed at how quickly they come together–almost as fast as a smoothie! Just buzz, mix, pat and cook. The cooking time is what takes the longest, and in those 10 minutes, I make my matcha tea and clear up the bowl from the pancakes–easy peasy! 🙂

  8. Wow Ricki – These look and sound awesome. I love that there’s no starches and no sweetener. Perfect breakfast food to me. I’m looking forward to trying them! A great vehicle for nut butters 🙂

    • Thanks, Maggie! But there is a wee bit of stevia in them (unless you don’t count that as sweetener?). And I agree wholeheartedly–a GREAT vehicle for nut butters! 🙂

  9. Wow! What a great way to start the day. I’m sold. 🙂

  10. I was patiently waiting for you to post this – I was so intrigued! And then after biking home in the rain, I craved something homey like pancakes and whipped them up! I made the buckwheat-tahini combo and feel like I could have added a lot more flavour next time…. Have you thought about decreasing the flax or chia? I found it had that funny gel-like consistency that I don’t like too much.. your instant porridge has that funny texture, too, unfortunately. 🙁

    • Hmmm. . . you know, I didn’t find that at all! I know what you mean about the porridge, though, as I find sometimes if I don’t add enough liquid it will be a bit gooey. Do you find the same thing with other flax/chia-based recipes? You could try decreasing them and see what happens (I suspect the pancakes will fall apart, though, in that case).

  11. I started following your food board on pinterest after you repinned one of my pins and I love all that you pin. And just today I was wondering if you had a blog…I thought you must. And looky here you are already in my google reader (as of a week or so ago). Love all of your recipes!

    • Kristy, thanks so much for your comment! 🙂 Glad the recipes appeal to you, too. I need to spend more time on Pinterest (how often do we hear that?!)–I really don’t get there as much as I’d like to!

  12. I don’t adore pancakes, normally (I associate them with that over-full feel-a-bit-sick feeling), but I think I might adore these. The things they don’t have allows me think the over-full feeling might be replaced by one that is just right!

    • Kari, these are not “regular” pancakes by any means! They are very filling, but I don’t find them too heavy. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

  13. Well, now that classes are out and I’m just writing essays, I could make these not only for weekday breakfasts, as you suggest, but, oh, maybe even lunch (okay, maybe for lunch only on those days when I’ve been up ’til 3 or 4 a.m. and wake up somewhere between breakfast and lunch)? 🙂 Your genius self is always at work, Ricki! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂 Good luck with the end of the semester!

    • Thanks, Christina, for the end-of-term good wishes! (and you too–good luck w/ exams!). I think these would work great for lunch (or dinner, or snack). . . I just like them any time! 😉

  14. I see a version of these in my future, Ricki! They look amazing. Thanks for not only our morning pancakes, but some great entertainment (per usual), too! 😉


    • Thanks, Shirley! Are you off of buckwheat these days? Which part would you have to change? (just curious). 🙂

      • I haven’t been able to tolerate buckwheat for years and more recently don’t do well with chia seeds either. 🙁 So I’ll go for a quinoa/tahini variation with a tad of almond flour or coconut flour instead of protein powder (don’t eat those either). 😉

  15. I’m loving this site. I am new to this new way of eating & I’m actually loving the way I feel eating this way!! Can you post the nutional info.? Thank you for all these wonderful recipes!!

    • Hi Sonia,
      As a rule, I don’t post nutritional info. Because I ensure that all the ingredients are ones I feel comfortable eating (ie, gluten free, sugar-free, whole foods) and because I am learning to eat what my body needs, I don’t want to focus on the calories, fat content, etc. as long as the food is good for me. That said, once in a while I will include some nutritional info (such as the protein count here) if I think it’s worth noting. However, there are lots of sites online that will do it easily for you if you plug in the ingredients. 🙂

  16. Ricki: This is so interesting. Where do I find Buckwheat Grouts? I have never heard of this before. I make a great gluten-free, sugar-free and organic pancake that everyone loves but it would be nice to have a change of pace. I’ve also been working on some raw syrups that are turning out terrific. Would love to hook up on some recipes.

    • Hi HomeCookedHealthy,
      I don’t know where you’re located, but many bulk stores, Whole Foods, health food stores or Trader Joe’s type stores will have it. I also linked to the product on amazon for people who can order that way. Buckwheat groats are just dried buckwheat kernels. You can buy them pre-toasted or raw (either will work for this recipe). I prefer the taste of the toasted ones. The syrups sound intriguing, too! 🙂

  17. I just made these and had to write about them! I don’t like regular pancakes, but decided to try these because I have been on the ACD diet for around 4 months now and wanted to try something new. They were amazing!!! So fluffy and light but filling. I put macadamia nut butter on top and it was super yummy! Thanks Ricki for continually making delightful recipes that are ACD friendly, I don’t know what I would do without your website! 🙂

    • Jillian, thank you so much–what a great way to end my day! I’m thrilled that they worked out so well for you and offered a change from the regular ACD. Now, macadamia butter on top is a brilliant idea. . . must try them that way next time!! 😀

  18. Yum! If I didn’t want to use the protein powder and have fewer dietary restrictions, what might work instead? I do like that it’s gluten, dairy, egg and sugar free!

    • Michelle, you could probably use soy or chickpea flour. . . just guessing on this one! If you do try it, let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  19. these look so good!

  20. I too am much better at eating breakfast in the morning than carrying on an articulate conversation – love buckwheat – am wondering if some buckwheat flour might do the trick as I don’t have a coffee grinder and fancy any shortcuts possible in the morning – but I do fancy these pancakes

  21. Oh my gosh. I love all of the protein in this recipe. My biggest thing is getting protein into my kids before they head out of the door for school. And a perfect thing to put my buckwheat groats to use for.
    And that conversation with your husband had my LITERALLY laughing out loud!! Seriously. That same thing happens to us in our house too! 🙂

    • Hee hee! That’s what we get for talking at each other from different floors in the house, eh? Glad the recipe appeals–I’d love to know if it’s kid-friendly, too! 🙂

  22. Trust you to make me crave pancakes when I’ve neither eaten them nor wanted them for over ten years! You and your wily talk of “griddle” this and “nut butter” that and mmmm spices….

  23. I just made these, so delicious! I haven’t had pancakes in several months and they really satisfied! I had to eat the first one right away before the other even finished cooking. Next time: double recipe so I can freeze the others or just pig out. 😉 I enjoyed them with some coconut butter and a few berries (yes I am doing ok with a few berries a day-yippee!)

    A question: it did seem a little too thick, but I trusted your directions but it was a little hard to spread into the pancake. I was curious if I added just a touch more liquid would that help or just ruin the whole thing. I am assume you’ve played around with this recipe a bit so I wanted to ask. If not, no biggie, it still did spread, just used to a thinner batter I guess.

    • Yay!! So glad you liked them!! 😀
      Re: the liquid, I think that the degree of thickness will differ slightly depending on the brand of milk, the elevation where you are, the humidity, etc.–so if you need a bit more liquid, just add it. The batter should be spreadable but not pourable, though–when I added enough to pour it, it just never set up in the middle and remained wet and gooey. It might take a wee bit longer to cook through if the batter is moister, but should still be okay as long as it’s thick enough to spread. Hope that helps! 🙂

  24. I was so surprised at how delicious these were! I’ve had so many whole-wheat pancakes, and they always turn out tasteless and dense! I decided to take a risk by making these this morning before a big track meet, and they were delicious! They filled me up until after all of my events, which was five hours later. I’ll definitely make these again soon!

    • So glad to hear that! I’m perhaps not *quite* as active as a track meet, but they do keep me feeling happily satisfied until late afternoon. Thanks so much for letting me know! 😀

  25. MMM,…What appetizing & lovely good-for-you pancakes! I have made them & loved them so much, so did my husband!

    • Yay! So glad you enjoyed them, Sophie! I’m still on a high-protein pancake kick. . .there are so many variations, I never seem to tire of them! 🙂

  26. Nice thank you! Gluten-free pancakes were the first thing I learned to make when I went GF. Without guidance it took 2 tries to get it right, wish I had known about your blog before I attempted them.

  27. Made these just now! Used buckwheat, 1/4 tsp ginger, peanut butter (needed to finish that jar that’s been in the fridge for ages. I tend to prefer raw nut butters and tahini now so it’s been sitting there a while lol), unsweetened almond milk and 5 drops stevia. Spread it with Artisana Cacao Bliss and sprinkled coconut flakes. So good! Thank you Ricki! 🙂

  28. Just made these – AMAZING! I used my cuisinart to grind everything together. And only nut butter I had on hand was peanut butter. Tasted great!!!

    • Thanks so much! I bet they’d be fabulous with peanut butter. I’m still not allowed to eat it on the ACD, but will try them that way as soon as I’m able again!! 😀

  29. Wow! These are yummy!! I topped them with mashed sweet potatoes. Will make these over an over again!! <3

  30. I finally made these this morning, they are simply wonderful! I didn’t have tahini but I used chocolate pb2, and they still turned out great.

  31. Hi,

    I made it today but they were still raw inside, and brown outside after 30 minutes.. I had it eaten because I had nothing else in the house. Later felt sick and tired! i think I’ve done something wrong?
    I think it goes better with buckwheat flour than seeds?
    Why do you not soaking the chia seeds?
    why do you use tahini in the batter? and the baking powder is it really necessary?

    Hope to hear from you!

    Greetings Nathalie

    • Hi Nathalie,
      Sorry these didn’t appeal to you. They do remain a bit moist in the middle when I make them, too, so not sure whether they were raw or just still moist for you. Thirty minutes seems like an awfully long time to cook these! I like the combination of multiple seeds with just a few grains in these, but if you prefer buckwheat, I’d suggest these pancakes instead. As for the chia, I know it’s better to soak them and I do so when I have time or remember in advance. However, when I’m in a rush in the morning and just want some pancakes NOW, I may not have time to soak. In that case, I just grab the dry seeds, grind, and go–I know it’s not going to kill me to have unsoaked seeds once in a while. 🙂 As for the tahini, you could use any nut or seed butter you like instead. And in my opinion, yes, the baking powder is necessary because it adds a bit of leavening so the pancakes isn’t even more thick/dense. Of course, I did include it in my recipe, so obviously I think it’s necessary. 😉

  32. Poor HH lol! Great post. Will be making these!


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