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Hidden Veggie Pancakes

By Christine O'Connor, September 17, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Christine O'Connor
In this ongoing blog series, Christine, a budget-minded first-time Mom and Team Member, explores ways to create healthy, organic foods that appeal to both toddler and husband. See other posts on making homemade popsicles, vegetable soup out of a pea base, a carrot ginger soup from locally grown carrots, finger foods, zucchini pesto, berry cobbler and a green smoothie. play·date noun: a play session for small children arranged in advance by their parents. As a new mom, the concept of having a “play date” was completely foreign to me. I mean, when I was single, dating was hard enough and now I’m expected to be social and meet new parents with a baby in tow? However, after going with my son on his first play date, I discovered that play dates aren’t scary at all. In fact, they provide an environment for children to meet other children, while moms and dads can interact with other adults. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about everything from child development to healthy foods for children while sipping coffee and chatting with other parents as our kids happily played with toys. I am always trying to find ways to add more vegetables to my family’s diet. On one of our play dates, my new mom friend, Mandy Hutton, suggested vegetable pancakes! Mandy said, “It's great to have more options for meals and I like the fact that this recipe is an all-in-one meal. I try to make a big batch ahead of time, then just microwave each pancake one by one, as needed.” As soon as Mandy mentioned the pancakes, I couldn’t wait to get home and whip up a batch of my own. My toddler seems to gravitate toward foods such as toast and crackers rather than the vegetables I wish he’d eat. It seems to be a textural thing rather than taste, so by marrying grains with vegetables, I can give him a healthy, well-balanced meal he’ll enjoy eating. Here’s the veggie pancake recipe that I’ve come up with:

Wet Ingredients

1 ½ cups of vegetables (shredded zucchini, carrot, onion and frozen corn)

3 eggs (1 full egg and 2 egg whites)

4 TB (½ stick) butter

1 ¾ cups milk

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

¼ cup oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

This may seem like a long list of ingredients, but these pancakes are really very simple to make. The most time consuming part is preparing the vegetables, so do that first.

Start by shredding 1 ½ cups of vegetables. For my pancakes, I used zucchini, carrot and onion and then added some frozen corn. But you can use whatever vegetables you like. (And if your child is not ready for chunky foods, you can pre-cook and puree the vegetables and place them in the batter that way). Once shredded or pureed, place the vegetables aside. Crack open three eggs and place one full egg and two of the egg whites into a small bowl. Whip the eggs and then add the butter and mix until creamy. Now, add the milk and vegetables and stir all of the wet ingredients together.

In a large bowl, add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together. At this point, heat up a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan, if desired, to help keep the pancakes from sticking. Pour on about 1/8 cup of batter for each pancake – on my griddle I cooked three pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes, until bottom of pancake is set. Flip and continue cooking for 2 minutes. The recipe makes about 12 pancakes. I like to keep the cooked pancakes in a warm oven as I cook the remaining batter.

My family enjoyed the pancakes topped with butter and sour cream. I also served homemade apple sauce on the side, which turned out to be a lovely combination. The texture of these pancakes is great! My son loved them and I loved seeing my son eating up his vegetables (secretly hidden in those pancakes) and since breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal, he loved them too! Now, its “breakfast for dinner” at our house. For other yummy pancake recipes that sneak in the veggies, try these Fresh Corn and Zucchini Cakes or Carrot Cake Pancakes. I am anxious to hear how other parents slip veggies into their kids’ meals. Let me know!
Category: Food & Recipes




Paulette Hutton says ...
This sounds as if the pancakes would be delicious and the kiddos would be eating some veggies without even knowing it. I think grandpa and I would like them also. Thanks for the recipe.
09/18/2011 2:52:35 PM CDT
Jenna says ...
I have also tried with shocking success Jessica seinfeld's "pink" pancakes made with beet purée. I could hardly believe it when my boys were asking for seconds of those!! The other awesome savory pancake is a chickpea pancake made w chickpea flour. I'll send you the recipe if you want, this one is delicious.
09/19/2011 7:43:29 PM CDT
Peggy says ...
What a wonderful way to get children to eat their veggies. I like the use of whole wheat flour to make it an even healthier pancake. Nice about the homemade applesauce. Playdates for moms and tots are important in this busy world of ours.
09/20/2011 11:33:03 AM CDT
Katie says ...
This might even work for me ... a "grown-up" pickier than most kids!! ;)
09/20/2011 1:43:56 PM CDT
Joe says ...
This is a variation of potato pancakes that I have been making for over thirty years.
09/21/2011 6:39:04 PM CDT
Margaret Simone says ...
Sounds delicious but I need recipes that are dairy free and egg free for my grandson. Thanks
09/21/2011 9:22:30 PM CDT
Ti'Moune bintijuwa says ...
Hi, While this is a great idea, I am very disturbed at feeding babies 1/8th of a pound of butter!!! What is that all about? As a 40 year vegan/vegetarian, I am aware of many healthy substitutions/alternatives that could be used. Try using LESS or an omega 3-6-9 spread or Earth Balance (again focusing on the "less"). Then, at the end, she says her family enjoys them with "butter and sour cream". More FAT. Also, feeding onions to babies and small children may not be in the best interest of their little developing digestive systems. Onions can be irritating and cause gas. Lastly, many of us sit in wonder about childhood obesity being an epidemic. WAKE UP CALL ~ this is how it starts!!! Please consider making some serious changes before making these pancakes.
09/21/2011 9:37:07 PM CDT
cindy minardi says ...
I thought the recipe was a lovely way to get small children to eat veggies but was very sad to read that with all the information available about the dangers of microwaving that this mother would choose to destroy the food she was trying to get her child to eat by putting it in the microwave. Please people do yourselves and especially your children a favor and don't microwave anything that goes in your body!!!
09/21/2011 10:10:14 PM CDT
Bethy says ...
Been eating zucchini latkes since I was a little girl, and make them at home. Easy and yummy. Any and all leftovers can go into them, too! I like them with ketchup.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
09/22/2011 12:37:01 PM CDT
colleen says ...
I have been eating shredded zucchini in pancakes and waffles since I was a kid, and am now doing it with my own. I can't wait to try the author's veggie-loaded pancakes, however. I also sneak in some finely shredded squash to my kids' quesadillas and mac n cheese (not big squash eaters in this house). Even add finely shredded veggies to hamburgers too. Love to puree veggies an add them to sauces I make too. I think they are on to me, but no one has protested yet.
09/22/2011 12:48:54 PM CDT
gwen says ...
Great idea! we love dinner pancakes! Id like to suggest another option for the batter for your pancakes- brown rice! these wheat free pancakes are sure to be a new favorite. Brown Rice Pancakes In a food processor, purée ½ cup leftover cooked rice with 3 eggs and a pinch of salt. Mix in 1 tablespoon chopped scallion and thin shredded veggies.. Pour into an oiled skillet and cook as regular pancakes. Serve with soy sauce and stir-fried veggies piled on top or tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. To make breakfast pancakes, omit the veggies, add vanilla and a pinch of sugar, and top with maple syrup.
09/22/2011 2:08:10 PM CDT
Michele says ...
My children love veggies(except broccoli). I am always looking for new recipes so that I dont bore my family with the same ol same. I am definitely trying this recipe tonight. Thank you for sharing (:
09/23/2011 7:54:47 AM CDT
Laura says ...
I tried making these for my son. He just picked out all of the veggies and then ate the pancakes.
09/23/2011 10:10:19 AM CDT
Jennifer says ...
Love! Pancake night at our house is a favorite too, although mine are whole wheat and nut/fruit, etc. I always blend up a batch of fruit "syrup" to go with: hot berries, applesauce and maple syrup, either chunky or smooth. I'll be trying these veggie cakes soon; sounds great! Another favorite for my kids is sloppy joes. I make them with crushed tomatoes, shredded carrot, lots of onion, smashed beans and 1/2lb ground beef. We serve them on dinner rolls, which are the perfect size for my 2yo and 4yo.
09/23/2011 10:15:00 AM CDT
emily says ...
Thanks for sharing. Sounds yummy! I have triplet toddlers with different likes and dislikes, so veggies can be tricky. I 'hide' them in a smoothies, pureed in pizza sauce, pureed with a fruit and added to yogurt. For some reason, butternut squash soup is everyones favorite :)
09/23/2011 10:21:20 AM CDT
candice says ...
Try putting them in the toaster rather then the microwave so you don't kill the vitamins in the food. I liked the idea till I heard how you heated them up!
09/24/2011 6:14:18 PM CDT
Cindie says ...
These sound wonderful. I have been "dressing up" recipes since my son was a little one. He is now 20 and has no idea that I add very finely chopped (food processor) carrots in my meatloaf, spinach chiffonade (fine) in red sauces and a "salad" made with just fresh spinach. I always had to walk out of the room when he would tell someone how much he hates spinach!!! LOL.....he is way less picky now...but please let these little tricks be our secret for now. I will share when he has children of his own and is complaining how they don't like veggies!
09/25/2011 7:35:06 AM CDT
Alicia says ...
Add protein too! My three young children love to eat hotdogs and cheese in their pancakes! Add the hotdogs to the batter and sprinkle the cheese on top before the first flip. It take a little practice not to burn the cheese, but it works if you let it "sink" into the batter. Hot dogs can be healthy too. We use all natural, all beef and nitrite free kind, like at Trader Joes or Hebrew National. You could also use all natural turkey sausage. I cut them in circles or "pac man" shapes. Hot dog cheesy veggie pancakes...an all in one meal that will leave them asking for more every day!!
09/26/2011 11:28:04 AM CDT
Alicia says ...
This morning I made an egg omelet with finely chopped fresh broccoli, frozen, spinach and added salmon from last night's dinner. Wrapped in a corn tortilla "burrito" they love it!
09/26/2011 11:31:22 AM CDT
Anja says ...
Can't wait to try those. My twins (17 months) are at a stage were they seem to refuse everything. I hope it is just a phase. Also, one easy way to add hidden veggie to their favourite meal is by adding a can of organic squash or pumpkin puree to their tomato sauce. It gives it a velvety texture and balances the acidity of the tomato sauce. That's one thing my boys will always eat. Love all the great recipes in your newsletter! Thanks!
09/26/2011 7:37:17 PM CDT
Amy says ...
I just made these and they were a hit! My son (age 2) who doesn't eat hardly any veggies ate two of these. Another mentioned concern about the butter content but it's really not much per pancake because this makes over 12 pancakes. I used Smart Balance instead of butter and it worked out fine.
09/26/2011 8:00:25 PM CDT
Kristine says ...
Umm... Microwaving has already been mentioned, but here's another consideration: Do you really want to be cooking on tefflon with all that is now known about the chemicals leached into food and air with non-stick cooking? I can't be 100% sure, but the picture does look an awful lot like tefflon.
09/27/2011 5:09:35 AM CDT
Juliet Cohen says ...
I have been doing this for months, I make sweet potatoe and spinach ones.
09/27/2011 12:05:53 PM CDT
Kennedy says ...
Love this. I too am always looking for away to get my 22 month old to consume more veggies. She loves low sodium veggie juice which I dilute to minimize the sodium even more and fortunately she eats carrots. Can't wait to try this recipe out on her! To those of you freaking out about butter, Teflon, and microwaves... Kick back and crawl back into your holes. Most healthy parents aren't whipping up 3 meals of butter filled Teflon cooked food for their kids every day. Plus most of us didn't grow up with as many healthy foods as we have today. Most likely your parents cooked with butter and look how you turned out. Just fine, right? It's all about healthy balance and most things are ok in moderation. To the person crying about onions making one gassy. That really only applies to infants, not toddlers. You try to give a helpful idea and there is always going to be someone out there with a complaint. Good grief!
09/27/2011 5:19:05 PM CDT
Clara says ...
When my kiddo was on his first foods, he refused - REFUSED! - any food *not* in the form of a pancake. I, too, resorted to creating all kinds of veggie-pancake creations to get the proper nutrients in him. It's good to hear that Kiddo wasn't the only one reticent to eat his veggies. (I'm still trying to convince him that carrots are tasty.) My biggest sneaky veggie tip is to puree spinach - and any other veggies, for that matter - into crushed tomatoes. I can serve that on top of spaghetti or homemade pizzas or in lasagna. I also shred carrots into fish cakes. By the time the fish is cooked, the carrots are easily passed off as "seasonings." He's old enough now, though, that I challenge him with as many bites as he is years old of either a new fruit or veggie - or one that he still thinks he doesn't like. So each night at dinner, he knows he has 4 bites of fruit or 4 bites of a new veggie that he has to try. Sometimes he even likes it!
10/02/2011 12:00:12 PM CDT