The title “Quinoa and Beet Pancakes” sounds descriptive in an objective kind of way. It doesn’t say how great they are. But titles like “Wonderful Quinoa and Beet Pancakes” or “Quinoa and Beet Pancakes To Die For” might not have their places in a serious cookbook… Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, by the way, is probably one of the best cookbooks I have. I don’t get to use my cookbooks nearly enough, but that’s another story.
I was looking to use some of my quinoa flour, because it had been sitting in my pantry for a while. I spotted this recipe in Good to the Grain, and when I realized I already had some beet purée in the freezer, this was a sure thing. The original recipe also calls for ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour, but I used 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour, with great results. Once the batter was made, I did add a little milk to get a better consistency, though this might depend on exactly how much beet purée you have. The result was a truly delicious, quite fluffy pink pancake. The quinoa and beet complement each other very well and are both somewhat earthy, though you have to know there’s beet in there to taste it (if you present these to your kids and call them pink pancakes, they’ll never know there’s a vegetable in them). I served them with maple syrup, and they were wonderful; we both really loved them. That being said, I think they were even better the next day! I froze the leftovers for a lazy morning.
3 medium-small red beets
½ cup quinoa flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups lactose-free whole milk
1/3 cup lactose-free plain Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat the oven to 400 ˚F. Place the beets in a glass or metal baking dish with about ½ 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 ½ 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 ½ 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. (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 or oil. Working quickly, dollop ¼-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 them 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 or oil 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.