In an ideal world, my backyard would be an edible feast that would cater to all of my culinary whims. A haven where fruits and vegetables could grow in abundance, Mother Nature would change her menu according to the seasons and leave me with beautiful treasures to pick from her harvest. Since my gardening skills are virtually non-existent at this point, the next best thing is to pack my basket and head to the local farm, which I did over my summer holiday in Montreal.
Located forty minutes outside of Montreal, La Ferme Quinn is my farm of choice whenever I take a trip to the Great White North (a nickname for Canada). Established in 1982, this family-run farm is one that has been passed on through the generations, and is home to some of the finest seasonal goodies in the region. Equipped with barn, a bakery, and a play yard, Quinn is the ideal place for children, big or small. Food lovers will be thrilled to know that there’s a shop stocked with locally produced artisanal foods and gourmet products, making it a win/win place to spend a family-centric afternoon.
I had the chance to visit the farm twice over the summer. The first time was to hunt for blueberries, and my second visit was for the honey harvest (more on my “bee” experience in a future post).
After arriving at Quinn to pick our berries, we made a quick stop to the barn to visit a few resident animals before heading towards what seemed like endless rows of blueberry fields.
Armed with our farmer’s baskets, as well as a determination to pick enough fruit to last the summer, my children and friends quickly learned how to navigate through the bushes with ease, and managed to score some of the juiciest berries they had ever laid their eyes on!
Picking (and eating) our way through the bushes, my mind swirled with ideas of what to make with our indigo-fleshed fruit. Tarts, pancakes, and yogurt-topped breakfast bowls were the usual suspects on the top of my list, followed by jam, smoothies, and blueberry buttercream. In the end, we ate the berries mostly on their own, by the handful, fully savoring the sweetness that only Mother Nature can deliver.
This recipe was born out of my farm-to-table experience at Quinn. It was also inspired by my beautiful niece, who gave me a rundown behind the vegan philosophy. Although I probably won’t convert to a solely plant-based way of life anytime soon, I’m happy to try a vegan approach to cooking when I can make sound and delicious substitutions.
Trust me when I say that these are everything you could ever want in a pancake! Fluffy, moist, and packed with flavor, you might just need to make an extra batch….or two…or three.
Vegan blueberry pancakes (makes approximately 12 to 16 three-inch pancakes)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- ¾ cup soy milk (you can substitute any nut milk of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil (if using coconut oil, make sure it’s in a liquid state)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1 cup blueberries (you can use frozen, but your batter will risk turning blue)
- Maple syrup to serve
Note that this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if necessary.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a bowl or a large measuring cup, combine soy milk, mashed banana, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Slowly whisk wet mixture into the dry, gently fold in the blueberries, and stir until just combined (do not over mix – you don’t want a rubbery pancake!). Let the batter rest for at least five minutes for the leavening agents to do their thing.
Preheat a non-stick pan or electric griddle over medium high heat. Please keep in mind that your pan must be hot in order for the pancakes to develop their characteristic fluffiness.
Drop batter onto the hot pan in circles using a small ladle or quarter cup measure.
Once the batter starts developing bubbles on the surface and the bottom begins to brown, flip over onto the other side until cooked through.
Serve immediately and drizzle with as much (or as little) maple syrup as your heart craves.