My Vegan Blueberry Pancake Recipe

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.

la ferme quinn Quebec perspective photo

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.

quin farm front photo

kids play yard quinn farm

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).

closeup of a blueberry bush

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.

blueberry fiels in quebec

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!

girl picking berries

picking wild blueberries at the farm

brpther and sister picking bluebrries.jpg

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.

blueberries Quinn Farm

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.

quebec maple syrup on plueberry pancakes

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)

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Directions:

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.

Bon appétit!

vegan blueberry pancakes lidija's kitchen

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In my kitchen: roasted eggplant with garlic yogurt & pomegranate

Cook with your hands. I’m convinced that there’s an invisible pipe that goes straight from your heart directly into your fingers, and there’s nothing better than eating a dish that has a little love running through it.

Using your hands teaches you about your ingredients – how things should feel when they’re raw, cooked, and combined. Having said that, there’s probably no food that I manhandle more than the eggplant, or aubergine as many refer to it. No matter what you call it, eggplant is something that I love, and has become somewhat of a staple in my kitchen. Grilled, roasted, baked, or all sauced up – there’s so much you can do with this plump, purple-skinned fruit, yes, its actually a fruit. I am talking about the dark shaded eggplant here as I have yet to try the white variety.

With a bitter taste and flesh that absorbs oil faster than moisturizer on cracked dry skin, cooking with eggplant can be tricky. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent its challenges by learning how to choose your fruit wisely.

Look for eggplant that is light in weight, with shiny, smooth skin free of bruises and blemishes. It should be firm but not hard with a round brown mark on the fat, bottom end – a brown slit on the bottom might mean more seeds.

Some say that you have to salt the eggplant to remove bitterness. If I have the extra time, I’ll add this step, but more often than not, I skip it. I don’t find salting it makes that much of a difference. If you want to try it, cut your eggplant into slices, salt it generously and let it hang out in a colander for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse it and pat it dry before cooking.

Add your oil right before cooking so that that it coats the surface of the flesh – that will help give your eggplant that beautiful brown finish.

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt and Pomegranate

Serves 4 to 6

For the eggplant:

  • 2 to 3 medium eggplant, washed, dried, and cut into 1 ½ inch slices (salted, drained, and rinsed if desired)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the garlic yogurt:

  • 400 grams plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

To garnish:

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional), lightly toasted

Preheat your oven to 210 Celcius, 410 Farenheit. Position your rack in the lower third of your oven.

Cut eggplant into slices and toss generously with olive oil.

slicing eggplant

Add salt, pepper, lemon, and oregano.

Place on a large baking tray, and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottom of the eggplant has started to turn brown.

eggplant on sheetpan

Turn the eggplant over and cook for another 15 minutes or until brown and soft. At this stage, you can eat the eggplant as they are (great as a vegetarian side dish). If you want to add the garlic yogurt, keep reading.

oven roasted eggplant slices

For the garlic yogurt:

Combine yogurt with garlic and salt. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Place eggplant on a large dish or platter. Spoon and scatter the garlic yogurt over the eggplant and garnish with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts (if using).

roasted eggplant with garlic yogurt sauce and fresh pomegranite

Serve warm or cold.

eggplant with yogurt sauce and pomegranite with pine nuts

Bon appétit!

Photos by: Tara Atkinson Photography

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