Quinoa and Beet Pancakes

in Breakfast, Pancakes

I never had “cool” cereal growing up.  My parents jumped on health-freak bandwagon in the early 90s and never looked back.  They bought a juicer, and soon we were drinking lunch; they started boiling cabbage and making these weird soups; we never had real milk anymore, it was all rice and soy milk.  Obviously, at that moment, I knew the potential for mornings filled with Captain Crunch and Corn Pops were long gone. It really put a cramp in my sleepover style since the morning after all of us girls were subjected to a few boring options: Kelloggs plain, boring as hell corn flakes, or my Dad’s buckwheat pancakes.  Yeah, not bisquick with Aunt Jemima syrup, but buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup.  Now, as an adult, I’d leap at the latter, but when you’re nine and donning Care Bear PJ’s with three of your best girlfriends, the former is where the fun is at.   So when I picked up Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, I was a little hesitant.  Is everything gonna taste mealy? Is it going to taste too grainy, and all “healthy-like”? Are the muffins going to weigh 10 lbs? I’d baked with whole wheat flour and oat flour before, but my experience was really limited, and associated those types of flours with being healthy, something that of course I’m concerned with, especially in the month of May when the possibility of being in a bathing suit is one wretched heat wave away.

In the beginning of the book, Boyce explains how baking with different flours actually enhances flavors, makes them more complex, and adds great texture.  As I was flipping through the pages, these bright red pancakes flew off the page.  My first thought? Healthy red velvet pancakes! Well, not exactly, but close (kinda).  These pancakes call for three types of flours: quinoa, whole wheat, and all-purpose.  Now, I generally never advocate running to the store for super specialized ingredients. But with this recipe, I totally do. And plus, it’s just one special ingredient: quinoa flour. It can be used over and over (see below, I included links to other recipes utilizing the flour).   Aside from being strikingly beautiful, these pancakes were subtly sweet, had a great earthy, nutty flavor and texture, were surprisingly light and actually tasted healthy (whatever that means).

If you’re a parent, facing some serious bummed out kids from the lack of sugary cereals in the cupboards, these flashy, hot pink pancakes will be a winner.  Or if you’re just some girl (like me), trying to be healthy and feel less guilty about a pancake addiction, these are for you too.

Quinoa and Beet Pancakes

Recipe by Kim Boyce from Good to the Grain

Print this recipe!

Since I’m now sort of a psycho fan of this book, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more recipes from it shortly, but if you do buy quinoa flour, here are two more recipes using the ingredient:  Heidi Swanson’s (101 Cookbooks) Quinoa Cloud Cookies, and Sarah Easterling (BlueRidge Baker) Quinoa Cookies (also from Good to the Grain).

Butter for the pan

3 medium-small red beets

Dry Mix:

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 egg

Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.  Place the beets in a glass or metal baking dish with about 1/2 cup water in the bottom.  Cover with aluminum foil and roast until very tender, about 1 hour.  Cool, peel, and purée the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need 1/2 cup of beet purée (any remaining purée can be frozen for another time).

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.

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.  Using the 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.

Although the batter is best if used immediately, it can sit for up to 1 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. When you return to the batter, it will be very thick and should be thinned, 1 tablespoon at a time, with milk–take great care not to overmix.

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; this is the key to crisp, buttery edges, my favorite part of any pancakes. Working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup 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.  Wipe the pan with a cloth before griddling the next batch.  Rub the pan with butter and continue with the rest of the batter.  If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly to keep results consistent.

Serve the pancakes hot, straight from the skillets, with a pitcher of warm maple syrup, encouraging your guests to pour as they please.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

DessertForTwo May 24, 2010 at 6:27 am

Heidi (101 cookbooks) made a Kim recipe today too! This book is becomming so popular! I must have it now :)


Joanne May 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

I have heard SUCH good things about this cookbook over at 101 Cookbooks and now here too, that I absolutely have to have it! Those pancakes look delicious.


Maggy@ThreeManyCooks May 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm

These are beautiful. Love the color. And they are perfect for Meatless Monday!


Katrina May 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Yum! What a unique pancake!!


Adrianna May 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

DessertForTwo and Joanne–I highly recommend the book. It’s a beautiful cookbook with interesting recipes accompanied with beautiful photographs. I just saw the cake that she posted and it looks delicious. Who knew rosemary and chocolate would go so well together!


MarchMusings May 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

So glad I found your blog. I’ve been told to eat less wheat-based and more low-GI foods like quinoa. Will def try out some of your recipes.


Carrie May 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I just want to thank you for a brilliant post. I love quinoa and use both the flakes and the powder in muffins and cookies. As someone who has had to swear off wheat and grains for a celiac condition, it is great to have the alternate flours. I’m going to try to adjust this recipe to replace the wheat flour and give it a whirl! Excellent!!


ps-isn’t it crazy how parents can instill health into us? i grew up with a few frosted flakes, but my dad was ixnay on the mr.bubbles in the tub. when i was little and my mom chucked it and got out the palmolive or whatever it was, welp there was a breakdown in the house. now?? couldn’t be more grateful. x


Adrianna May 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Carrie–I’m so grateful my parents instilled good eating habits in me. I might be a completely different person–I’d have it no other way!

When I was typing this blog post up I realized that most of her recipes aren’t GF, but I’m really curious how they’ll adapt. Please let me know how the pancakes turn out! :)


Chez Us May 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Too funny! I am going thru my RSS feeder when I see the beautiful photos of your pancakes and I think to myself, “looks familiar”. I was just at a speaking engagement where Kim Boyce was speaking. I don’t own the book but I flipped through it and I am very intrigued. I am going to have to get it after reading your mini-review! Thanks!


Noelle May 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

So funny! I was just talking about eating habits instilled early with my mom. Parents are just as hippy-dippy as the day I was born. I had to buy crappy cereal with my allowance, and man, did I buy it. But, I got over it pretty quickly. When I was really small, though, my mom had to bribe me with veggies to eat the meat on my plate (grew up on a farm). I loved the fresh veggies. I now eat all sorts of veggies, and have to bribe myself to eat protein (either in meat or non-meat form!).

Now I can’t wait to try these, but cooking alone kinda sucks.


M. May 25, 2010 at 10:26 am

I’ve been eying this book for a while now….and your post totally convinced me to “invest” in it :)
Pancakes look beautiful, love beets and I’m always on a look out for some interesting recipes that incorporate them.


Harrison Rice May 26, 2010 at 6:56 am

Leave very small beets whole, slice or cut larger beets. Harrison Rice


Pamela May 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

Oh shoot! ACozyKitchen just dropped a BEET in my muthaluvin pancake! Gatta try these!


jessica May 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I just made these for dinner and they are wonderful! I was not able to get quinoa flour in time for this batch (not even Whole Foods had it) but I plan on finding some for the next. I can’t wait to use beets to make other things the same beautiful color. Thanks for the great find!


Adrianna May 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Jessica–I’m so glad they turned out! That’s so strange WF didn’t have the quinoa flour since it’s where I got it. What type of flour did you use? And I agree, I want all my food to be this beautiful bright pink.


sweetbird May 31, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I love quinoa as a grain, but I’ve yet to use the flour. This might be a perfect way to venture into it for the first time.

Also, I think I begged my mother for two months for a box of Cocoa Pebbles once when I was a child. After two bites I went straight back to the health-nut stuff she made herself. She was pleased as punch and didn’t let me hear the end of it…


Uncle Ray June 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm

keeeewa huh! OK, I’ll bite, I’ll have to round up the flour. But tonight, it’s just straight Beet pancakes for the first time. I’ll let you know!


Kasey October 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I’m kind of a psycho-fan of Kim Broyce, too. In a non-scary way :) Been obsessed with Good to the Grain, but have yet to try these pancakes..They look so tantalizing and I LOVE the color!


Kim June 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

These were great! I have a heart shaped waffle iron so these made some great looking pink heart waffles! I can’t wait until my baby gets older and can eat them. She was born around valentine’s day so this may just become a birthday breakfast tradition!!!


Adrianna June 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Oh that must’ve been so so cute. Healthy and adorable. LOVE!


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