Beet and Quinoa Pancakes

Forgive me if I sound like a world-class drama queen for a moment...but if I see one more heart-shaped Valentine's recipe I might claw my eyes out. Just saying. Its not that I hate Valentine's day or romance...I don't. I have a Valentine (husband) whom I love very much, and I'm excited for our quiet night in together. I'm just not a fan of the hearts and the cupids, the pink and the red, the chocolates and the teddy bears. Its just not my thing. So it is a complete coincidence that this recipe happens to be something that is in the Valentine's color palette. Yes, the beet quinoa pancakes are a vibrant shade of pink/red. Yes, I am posting them on Valentines day. Did I make them for my Valentine? No. I made them for my friend Mari and then a week later, I made them for my family. So take that for what it is, and lets all put this heart-shaped madness behind us.

Now that I have that out of my system, I can tell you without any hesitation that these pancakes are my new favorite breakfast. I'd seen the recipe a while back and placed them on my list of "things to make" in 2011. I was immediately intrigued by their vibrant color, and when I saw that the recipe originate from Kim Boyce, I knew I had to make them. Kim just recently migrated to the Northwest and is the author of "Good to the Grain", which is a cookbook I've been meaning to check out as I am trying incorporate more whole grains into my diet (and Kim is the queen of whole grains!) There is only one potential problem with these pancakes: you have to get your hands on some quinoa flour. If you are lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, you can get quinoa flour from Bob's Red Mill (You can visit their store & buy their products in bulk or you can get many Bob's Red Mill products at Portland area grocery stores). However you come by quinoa flour, I highly encourage that you do so. The quinoa adds a distinct (and wonderful) nutty flavor to the pancakes. In addition, quinoa contains no gluten and is a source of complete protein. Since the pancakes are made up primarily of quinoa flour (and beets!), they are actually good for you. On top of that, they are really quite pretty. And they taste good! In case you need a little more convincing, I'll mention that these pancakes contain no gluten and very little sugar. The texture is light and fluffy and the flavors are complex and nutty. The beets add a slight sweetness (and the gorgeous color) that pairs nicely with a touch of maple syrup. My family was slightly skeptical when I announced that I planned to make beet quinoa pancakes for a family brunch (they protested that the pancakes sounded too healthy), but I am happy to say that I made believers out of all of them (even my dad had seconds, which is saying a lot). The beet quinoa pancakes were a hit. So, Happy Valentine's Day (or Single Awareness Day or Hallmark Cheesy Holiday or whatever you want to call it...).Lets be done with all this heart-shaped madness, and eat some hot pink pancakes! :)


(Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)

3 small to medium sized red beets

Dry Mix: 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa flour (available from Bob's Red Mill)

1 cup rice flour (*can use all-purpose flour, but I used rice flour in order to make the pancakes gluten-free)

3 tablespoons dark brown or muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup plain (non fat) yogurt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 egg

Method: 1. Roast the beets, Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim tops off the beets & wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil. Roast until very tender (prick with a fork or knife), about an hour. Cool, peel, and purée the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need 1/2 cup of beet purée for the pancakes (any remaining purée can be frozen for later use). 2. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg, and 1/2 cup of beet purée until smooth. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter. Working quickly, scoop/pour small, flat mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancakes, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown (about 5 minutes total). Keep cooking in batches (buttering the pan between each batch) and cook until the batter is gone. (If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the temp for consistent results). Serve immediately with maple syrup and butter (if you so desire).

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