Savoury Herb Quinoa Pancakes from Vegetarian Heartland

May 29, 2017

Day to day, I don't really experience a lot of homesickness. But every once in a while I'll have really strong waves of homesickness that stop me in my tracks - usually if I smell something that reminds me of home, or if we visit a place that looks like Manitoba (that happened a lot when I was in Sweden a few weeks ago), or if there's an especially nice sunset. People often overlook the beauty of central Canada. Manitoba is sometimes referred to as a 'gap province', meaning there's nothing worth seeing as you drive through or fly over. The cities are admittedly pretty dirty and ugly, but there's so much beauty to be found in the parks and around the many, many lakes. So I do miss home. 

Vegetarian Heartland brought those feelings to the surface in many ways. Even though Bloomington, where Shelly lives, is about 1200km from my hometown, her pictures look like home.  Her new book is full of stunning photographs of the midwestern United States, where Shelly's from, and categorized by season and adventures within the seasons. Along with the four seasons, chapters are organized into sections like Farmers' Market Day, Road Trip, Fruit Picking, and Playing in the Snow. I love it. It's the perfect cookbook for people who love to be outside, eat with the seasons, and like comfort food in general. Shelly focuses on foods inspired by her home, and the result is a book that's packed with healthier vegetarian twists on classic midwestern dishes. It absolutely challenges any lingering misconceptions people still have about vegetarians just eating salad all the time. With a full 100 well thought-out and beautifully photographed recipes, it's definitely worth adding to your kitchen library. 

This isn't a vegan book, but plenty of the dairy could be replaced with things like alternative milks or yogurt, and sometimes coconut oil. Not too many recipes use eggs. I think it's a really approachable book for people who are new to vegetarianism, or interested in trying more plant-based meals, but also exciting for long-time vegetarians. I'll be gifting copies to a bunch of non-vegetarian family members and I'm sure everyone will love it. I think even my company's coming loving aunt would like this book, and most of her cookbooks are those small-town recipe collection books (do other places have those?) that are usually made to support a community centre or hockey rink. 

Here's a sample of recipes from Vegetarian Heartland:

• Savoury Vegetable Cobbler with Herb Drop Biscuits
• Green Salad with Savoury Granola and Avocado-Lime Dressing
• Burnt Honey and Herby Citrus Soda
• Raspberry Hazelnut Pancakes
• Coffee Crunch Chocolate Ice Cream with Bourbon Fudge Ripple (!)
• Spelt Crêpes Stuffed with Spiced Pumpkin, Apple, & Onions
• Deep Dish Persimmon Pudding Pie
• Tahini and Cocoa Breakfast Shake
• Vegan Wild Rice and Potato Chowder

Today I'm sharing this savoury quinoa pancake recipe from the book, which comes from the "Brunch Potluck" chapter in the spring section. I paired it with the Lemon-Pea Pesto from the Ricotta Spätzle recipe, page 41. I made the pancakes for lunch a couple of days ago with some leftover quinoa and we loved them. They remind me a little bit of biscuits. The description above the recipe says to switch up the herbs and spices in the recipe to whatever you're feeling, so I chose dill and sumac to go with the pea pesto - see my notes at the bottom of the recipe to see what I changed.

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This recipe is lightly adapted from Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life's Adventures. Copyright © 2017 by Shelly Westerhausen. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books LLC. 

Savoury Herb Quinoa Pancakes 
Serves 4

280 grams / 2 cups whole spelt flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground sumac*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill*
120 grams / 1 cup cooked quinoa
360 ml / 1 1/2 cups oat milk*
60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil or melted coconut oil, plus more for cooking

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and sumac. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the herbs, quinoa, milk, and olive oil into the centre. Gradually stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until a thick batter forms. 

Preheat the oven to 95C (200F). Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add just enough coconut oil to coat the pan. Working in batches, ladle 1/4 cup (60ml) scoops of batter into the pan and cook until the bottoms are browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until browned and cooked through, 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Divide among plates, top with yogurt (and pesto!), and serve warm.

1. The recipe calls for whole wheat, all-purpose, or spelt flour.
2. The original recipe calls for paprika, not sumac - I think another great combo would be to use turmeric and add cilantro as the herb.
3. Use 2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon dry - Shelly recommends sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, or oregano.
4. I substituted oat milk for whole dairy milk.

9 comments on "Savoury Herb Quinoa Pancakes from Vegetarian Heartland"
  1. Yay! Thanks so much for the VH love! I'm glad I was able to evoke a little home land pride! You've really made these pancakes looks so so so delicious!

  2. Is that Bloomington, Illinois, that is mentioned? (There are many repeated names in the U.S.) If so, it's not a big place, but we drive right by it regularly when we visit family! I have often felt that there is much similarity between American geographical regions and the corresponding Canadian regions to the north of them.

  3. Homesickness is tough. For the most part, it's hard for me to miss home (Southern Ontario) because much like you described Manitoba, the cities are bleh. I mean, they have a lot of potential and the area is beautiful, but a lot of things are left unkempt and there's a strong down-on-your-luck vibe thanks to the increases in cost of living + stagnant wages. I always thought I'd be excited to visit home after being away for so long, but the truth is, whenever I go back, I feel extremely disconnected from it all. It's so strange, because I spent 32 years of my life there! I'm glad you still feel connected to your home. We drove into Manitoba when I was young (like, five). My father's Uncle has a big farm out there and I must say, I've got fond memories of the place! I also remember a massive thunderstorm like nothing I'd ever heard before. Them prairie storms be loud.

    Onto this dish! I love when people turn normally sweet things into savory dishes. This looks and sounds incredible, and I love love love the photos.

  4. These sound delicious! I love a good savoury pancake! And being homesick as an adult is such a strange thing I find. I often miss parts of other places where I grew up, but then I also like some parts of where I live. I sometimes find myself in the middle and not knowing where I would prefer to live between the two. Or somewhere new! haha

  5. AnonymousJune 05, 2017

    Yum! Do you think water would work instead of the milk?

    1. I think it technically would, but that you might end up with a pretty bland tasting pancake! Using a milk adds some richness. Any type of milk will work, though, it doesn't have to be oat!

  6. OMG I found your blog through a link on Shelly's page and am so glad I did! One because I LOVE PANCAKES and these look so good!! Second, your photography is SO BEAUTIFUL! Ugh those colors! Do you use Photoshop or Lightroom to edit your photos? SO GORGEOUS! Excuse me while I go browse through the rest of your entire blog!

    1. Thanks so much, Erika! Happy to have you here <3

    2. Oops, sorry, I use primarily photoshop and lightroom every once in a blue moon.