Fluffy lemon pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and a little dark chocolate. Made with spelt flour, cardamom, and minimal ingredients for a healthier and vegan breakfast or brunch option.
These healthy pancakes are the way to go if you love fluffy, American style pancakes but want a slightly healthier way to start the morning. They won’t bog you down or leave you feeling sluggish, as they’re dairy free, made with whole grains, and have minimal sugar and oil added.
Yes, there’s chocolate on top, but dark chocolate contains less sugar than maple syrup, so there’s that! And really, what’s the point to life without chocolate.
Lemon Pancakes – with chocolate?
I’ve always been a little wary of pairing chocolate and lemon, preferring chocolate orange everything, but it works! These pancakes are flavoured with lemon juice, lemon zest, and cardamom in the batter. Chocolate is a particularly good topping but you can do classic maple syrup too.
These are even easier to make than normal egg ‘n butter pancakes, with no beating of eggs or melting the butter. Better yet, they’re mixed all in one bowl. Just whisk it up, cook, and serve! If you can have two pans on the go you’ll be done in a few minutes.
I like to top these off with a dollop of extra creamy coconut yogurt plus the chocolate and strawberries. It feels like a decadent breakfast, but it’s really not so bad. Maybe better for brunch but I see no issue with a bit of chocolate in the morning!
Vegan pancakes usually need some kind of starch to help hold them together and improve the texture. In this recipe, that’s arrowroot – but you can use an equal amount of tapioca or cornstarch in its place. If you don’t have any of those (and you’re not vegan) you can crack an egg into the mix instead.
Regular wheat flour can be used 1:1 in place of spelt, either white, whole wheat, or whole wheat pastry flour. I haven’t tried making these gluten free but I think a good GF blend would work. There’s a recipe for gluten free banana pancakes on OE, as I’m always a little worried about gluten free and vegan pancakes without an extra binding agent like mashed banana.
These would make great chocolate chip pancakes, too. Just add in a handful of dark chocolate chips once the batter is mixed and then leave off the chocolate topping.
Don’t like cardamom? Just go for vanilla instead (a couple teaspoons of extract).
What to do with leftover pancakes
Leftover lemon pancakes make a great snack as is, outside of breakfast time! But they can be frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. Either thaw and eat at room temperature, or toast on the lowest setting until warm.
This recipe makes about two dozen pancakes, so it’s a pretty big batch – if you don’t want to make so many, or don’t have a group to feed, the recipe can easily be halved.
More great breakfast recipes
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- 270 grams / 2 1/4 cups spelt flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pod cardamom, crushed (~1/4 teaspoon ground)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 375 ml / 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (oat, almond)
- 3 tablespoons avocado, grape seed, or melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- Zest of two lemons
- Juice of a lemon, ~3 tablespoons
- Heat a large, flat-bottomed pan over medium heat with a little coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.
- Make a well in the centre and add the milk, oil, maple syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan for each pancake and cook until bubbles form around the edges, then flip and cook for another minute or so.
- Continue until all of the batter has been used, adding a small amount of coconut oil to the pan each time. Serve hot, topped with coconut yogurt, strawberries, and melted dark chocolate.
* Light spelt, whole grain, or a mix of the two can be used. You can also use AP, whole wheat, or whole wheat pastry flour.
Serving Size:4 pancakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 3g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 394mg Carbohydrates: 55g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 13g Protein: 11g
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This recipe was originally published in April 2018. It has been updated with improvements to the text and recipe to add clarifications and more instruction.