Four summers ago, I visited a college friend in her suburban Maryland home. It was there that I had my first zucchini. I know zucchini isn’t an uncommon vegetable but it’s not super popular in my household. My friend’s mother prepared an egg batter, threw in the zucchini, and 10 minutes later, a giant zucchini omelette sat on my plate. It was delicious.
Two summers later, I was at Shop-Rite when I saw a manager’s special- FOUR ZUCCHINI FOR ONE DOLLA! I glanced around to make sure nobody was looking and snatched the package. You’d think I was committing a crime. Well, it was too good to be true. They weren’t zucchini. They were damn cucumbers! I HATE cucumbers.
So now, whenever I buy zucchini I make sure I examine the skin. Cucumbers are cold and waxy. Zucchini are rough and dry. They even sound different. If you tap them hard enough, a cucumber sounds… more hollow?
And so it is with great pride that I tell you I’ve never made the same mistake again. Issue is, since I don’t have a grill and I don’t want to fry, a zucchini omelette gets a bit tiring after awhile. As I rummaged through the pantry last weekend, I realized that I had a box of quinoa sitting on the shelf. Native to South America, most people mistake quinoa as a grain when in fact, it’s technically a seed with high protein content. Thus, it should be no surprise that this ingredient is quickly making its way into American households that are looking for ways to cut down on carbs. While most recipes call for cooking the quinoa for 10-15 minutes, I’ve found that when lightly toasted, it tastes almost like sesame seeds!
Lately, I’ve been looking for an easy breakfast solution that’s protein heavy to bring to work for my post-lifting workouts. This seemed to do the trick. I would have used milk, but I recalled that my aunt used to make savory pancakes with just water and they always came out deliciously. This was no exception. They also taste great the day after. Just nuke them for 20 seconds.
But like most foods, these pancakes are best eaten right out of the skillet when they’re still piping hot. Double the recipe if you’re making these in a regular-sized skillet. You can find quinoa in most grocery stores, but if you can’t, just double the flour.
Zucchini Quinoa Pancakes
Makes four pancakes in a 5 inch skillet
- Half a zucchini, sliced into quarter inches and then into strips
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of quinoa, thoroughly washed and dried
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt/pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
Tip: When washing the quinoa, you should rinse them until the water is no longer cloudy and then rinse several times more. By the time you’re done, the water should be crystal clear.
In a baking tray, spread out the quinoa in a thin layer. Toast the quinoa for 10 minutes on 300 degrees F. The quinoa should be slightly darker although some may not brown. Let the quinoa cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Incorporate and make a well in the center. Add the egg and begin to lightly fold in the flour. Then, add in the water in a slow, steady stream. You will not need the full 1/2 cup of water. Basically you want a consistency that’s a tiny bit more runny than pancake batter. If it becomes too runny, just add in extra flour. Then, toss in the quinoa and zucchini, and mix until everything is incorporated. Make sure there are no lumps.
In a skillet, add some oil to grease and when the pan is ready, scoop a generous portion of the batter. When bubbles start forming on the perimeter of the pancake, give it a few more seconds before flipping. The pancake should rise. Cook until each side browns.
When the first one is done, you should taste it to see if the seasoning is off. If it needs more salt, the best time to add it is when it comes right out of the skillet. I like to eat these with ketchup 🙂