How To Turn a Pancake Into A Healthycake

August 9, 2011   22 Comments

Pancakes are not known for their health benefits. Think of the fluffy, white, butter, and syrup confection that is probably the opposite of how we should start our day.

Spinach Pancake Recipe

But, we love them so! They are handy at breakfast time because they cook quickly (as opposed to muffins) and they can be eaten on the run.

I decided to do something kinda revolutionary to the pancake and add one of the healthiest foods on the planet, spinach. You see, just one of THESE pancakes will get you 11% of your daily value of Iron, 64% of your Vitamin A, and 18% of your daily value of Calcium.

And, you will like them so much that you will eat TWO of these bad boys and double that nutritional hit. Take THAT multi-vitamin!

How do they taste?

I found that they were a bit bland all on their own, so I added cumin, scallions, and salt and made a savory pancake. You could go an entirely different direction and add some raisins and nuts for a sweeter pancake with more texture.

Make these for breakfast, lunch or dinner and just toss the leftovers (if you have any) in the fridge.

This is what the batter looks like after you mix everything together:


Do you see how it is just spinach added to pancake batter? It is a simple addition that makes a HUGE difference in the relative healthiness of this food.

For everyone who gives this a try, I am promising a free trip to Barbados via the internet :)

Have you ever mixed spinach into your pancake batter?


Spinach Healthycake Recipe

(no reviews yet)

(makes 7 small pancakes)

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1/2 pound frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup whole grain flour (wheat, oat, barley, etc.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup low-fat milk (or any level of fat milk you own)
non-stick spray
optional ingredients:
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 scallions chopped


Thaw spinach in microwave and then place in fine mesh sieve. Using the back of a spoon press out the water in the spinach.

Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix. Add egg and milk, mix until smooth and then stir in spinach. Add optional ingredients.

Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick spray. Place a soup ladle full of batter on the pan and cook until the wet side of pancake bubbles (about 3 minutes). Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until brown.


These pancakes are great for freezing and will keep in the fridge for a week.

Nutrition Facts

For one pancake using low-fat milk and zero added salt: 80 calories, 1.8 g fat, 13.8 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g protein, 2.5 g fiber, 53 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 22 )

I have for my kids, it didn't taste any different but you'll have a hard time masking the green color...I blended up fresh spinach...I'm going to make it for St.Patty's day though!!

on August 18, 2011

I add either a maznes banana and vajilla or grated Apple and cinnamon to my regular pancake batter, which also has whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed, oatmeal flour, sometimes a little wheat germ and canola oil for the omega 3s. They're still sweet but healthier too and my kids love them not only at breakfast but as a snack sometimes and even in their lunch boxes. I'll have to try the spinach ones, though, I love spinach!

on August 18, 2011

I haven't done spinach per se, but there's a japanese recipe I ran across recently called okonomiyaki (translates to something like 'whatever you want, fried') that was quite tasty.

For my regular breakfast pancakes, though, I change all the whites to browns to make them a little better--white flour becomes whole wheat flour, white sugar becomes brown sugar, and white vinegar becomes cider vinegar. I have been known to add ground flaxseed as well, which is also nice.

Personally, I'm not buying the 'quick cooking' part of the pancake process. Of course, if I'm going to make pancakes, I make a *lot* of pancakes and freeze the leftovers for breakfast the rest of the week.


on August 18, 2011

If you want a more traditional pancake you can use whole wheat flour and add a little ground flaxseed and pumpkin puree or banana. It sounds much tastier to me. :)

on August 18, 2011

Love this idea!! I make my 2 and 4 year old "Dinosaur Eggs" every other day for breakfast, which is basically an omelet with a cup of spinach pureed into the egg. You can't taste the spinach and they think it's fun. You have inspired me to start making them Dinosaur pancakes as well. I already have a great all natural whole wheat pancake recipe that I LOVE (…) and next time I'm definitely going to add some pureed spinach into the batter. Thanks for the idea!

on August 18, 2011

This brings back memories of super yummy pancakes I used to buy at a Chinese restaurant in Berklee, CA. Here is a recipe I found on line…

on August 18, 2011

It's been a long time since I've visited your blog and I don't know why. I love your posts. I just added you to my blog roll to remind myself to visit more often.

on August 18, 2011

These look awesome! I'm imagining them topped with some cilantro chutney...

on August 18, 2011

I have a recipe for oatmeal / blueberry pancakes.

6 egg whites

1 cup oats

1 cup fatfree cottage cheese,

cinammon to taste


agave to sweeten.....they also keep in the fridge and are a real afternoon treat

on August 18, 2011

I haven't tried it but I've read about adding cooked pureed cauliflower to pancake mix.

on August 18, 2011

These would be awesome for dinner!

on August 18, 2011

I am SO trying this! I could use my spelt pancake recipe, then just add spinach to it! Wah, genius ^^

on August 18, 2011

Maybe for dinner or lunch. I've been doctoring and changing up pancake recipes for years. Lately, I've been using spelt flour-whole and white. I also add flaxseed or old-fashioned oatmeal. I use olive oil though I just love melting butter and adding it or ghee(clarified butter). Brown sugar or maple syrup or honey for sweetening. I've also thrown in five spice, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon. When I make blueberry pancakes, I add fresh grated lemon peel. When I want buttermilk and don't have any, I'll mix plain yogurt with water to thin it a little and add that. I also use soy or almond milk instead of regular milk. Pancakes can be as healthy or junky as you want them to be. I may also experiment with zucchini and carrot. Thanks for the idea!

on August 18, 2011

A co-worker just made beet pancakes! He pureed the cooked beets, added some applesauce to his pancake batter with wheat flour. It was amazingly very yummy! Great pink color for Valentines day :)

on August 18, 2011

I've been making blender pancakes - wonderful (you start with whole wheat berries so you're making the flour as you make the pancake). I like the spinach idea for a change.

Cranberry pecan pancakes are one of my favorites! Mix the dried cranberries into the batter and drop on griddle, then sprinkle the pecans on top. When you turn the pancake over to cook the other side it also toasts the pecans - delicious!!!

on August 19, 2011

I have to try these! I have been adding grated zucchini to my pancakes for years and my family loves it - it's sort of like zucchini bread for breakfast. So I think spinach is the next obvious step! Thanks!

on August 24, 2011


on August 26, 2011

To help 'mask' the color for my daughter, I make a big deal about how I'm adding green (or blue works too) food coloring to the batter. Then she doesn't think it's weird. I also tell her I'm making red or orange ones when I add in sweet potato or carrot puree.

on September 30, 2011

I made this before. I wasn't really a fan of it, unfortunately. The spinach gave it a bitter taste, so I would make this in a blender and process the spinach until it's smooth.

on October 1, 2011

Love your site!

on March 5, 2012

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