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Quinoa Pancakes with Cranberry-Apple Compote

Encased in my new rain coat, the hems of my jeans heavy with water, I found myself trudging through the downpour last Wednesday in search of tea and chocolate. It was on this trek that ideas for a decadent weekend breakfast started flying around in my head. I often dream of hearty and warming comfort foods when trapped in less-than-comfortable situations. Wednesday was no exception.

I originally wanted to make gingerbread pancakes, because I’ve been craving its spicy and seasonal essence ever since we hit December. Gingerbread never fails to completely envelop me in holiday spirit. But as I began to measure ingredients and search the premises for compote-appropriate fruit, I found myself making something else entirely.

The batter for these cakes still contains a fair amount of ground ginger and is sweetened only with molasses, but what really shines is the addition of toasted almond meal and the way it dances on the palate with the subtly-spiced compote. Before I grind my almonds into meal, I let them roast for a bit to become fragrant and delicate. This makes a world of difference.

I also added some quinoa I’d prepared for breakfast the day before, which contributed a chewiness and unique, dense texture. It made the cakes especially filling and even more protein-packed, a perfect way to start the day.

On a different note, after Wednesday’s rainstorm we had the most beautiful sunset over the hills. The colors, like macerated strawberries fading into cotton candy, seemed to bleed out of the skyline and saturate what was left of the light. A sight like this never fails to make me feel completely alive and in awe of the earth. Gazing at it, I feel renewed.


Quinoa Pancakes with Cranberry-Apple Compote // Makes 10 small cakes


3/4 cup whole-grain spelt flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/3 cup prepared quinoa

3 tablespoons molasses

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter (or substitute light olive oil)

seeds from 1-inch section of vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup water


1 apple, chopped (I leave the skin on)

1/2 cup frozen cranberries (not thawed)

apple juice

1 cinnamon stick

pinch of ground cloves

1 tablespoon honey (optional)


-In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking soda & powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the quinoa, molasses, egg, yogurt, melted oil or butter, and vanilla bean. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until incorporated. Add the 1/4 cup water slowly, if needed, to thin the batter. Set aside and let rest while you make the compote.

-In a medium saucepan, combine fruit, spices and honey, then add enough apple juice to just barely cover. Simmer over medium or medium-low heat, stirring occassionally, until cranberries have burst and apples are very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. With a potato masher or pastry cutter, slightly mash everything together. Stir, cover, and set aside until ready to serve.

-To cook the quinoa pancakes, preheat a nonstick skillet or cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat. Grease with coconut oil or butter if desired. Scoop batter by 1/4-cupfull onto the pan and cook until bubbles begin to form, about 4-5 minutes. The batter is delicate and the pancakes will be very soft, so you want to cook them low, long and thoroughly or else they will be hard to flip. Once cooked on one side, flip and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Continue until all batter is used.

-Serve pancakes with plenty of compote. I didn’t need any maple syrup!

Reader Comments (1)

I love how you made a pancake using spelt and quinoa. I think you just inspired me to not only cook more delicious breakfast recipes but experiment more with other ingredients. Love the compote to boot.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

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