Tasty Gluten-Free Spinach Pancakes With Wholegrain Teff

Ad:This post is part of my collaboration with Lovegrass Ethiopia who have gifted me some of their teff flour to experiment with. They will in turn share my content and gluten-free bread course on their page. My opinions are my own and I would use their products without the collaboration, too. I love their flour and company ethos and have used their products already for a couple of years, which actually brought this collaboration about.

I am sure everyone loves pancakes, and when one needs to eat gluten-free, they are a great quick option for breakfast or lunch, or even dinner, as they are so versatile! These spinach pancakes are a Finnish speciality which we typically eat with lingonberry jam. As that’s not that readily available abroad, you can eat them as they are, maybe with some seasoned cottage cheese or fill with different savoury things and use them as a substitute for wraps!

I have paired the wonderful wholegrain fibre and mineral rich gluten-free teff flour from Lovegrass Ethiopia with equally nutritious spinach in this recipe. The combination of teff and the spinach which as a leafy green contains lots of vitamins and minerals and adds soluble fibre makes a meal that gives you loads of nutritional benefits and also tastes lovely and is fun to eat!

The ingredients of the gluten-free spinach pancakes on a mock concrete kitchen worktop with a turquioise metro tile splashback in the backgroud. Little Addis by Lovegrass white teff flour in a large plastic bag, Arla Lacto Gree milk carton, baby spinach in a steel bowl, three white chicken eggs and a terracotta coloured salt container with Maldon finger salt in the foreground.
Spinach pancakes are one of my favourite dishes from my Finnish food culture and need only a few ingredients! Making them with gluten-free teff flour from Lovegrass Ethiopia gives them superior fibre content and make them very filling. The flavour is nice and almost buttery and has the feeling of being made with a more white flour mix and not a single grain gluten-free flour. The extra egg makes them softer and helps them hold together without using Xanthan gum, which I often find makes things hard or though.

Teff from Lovegrass Ethiopia – a gluten-free power house

Using wholegrain teff flour you get fibre rich pancakes with lovely flavour – the flour also contains a lot of magnesium and iron. Teff is an ancient grain that has been cultivated in Ethiopia and Eritrea for thousands of years. Teff is a grass and the tiny seeds are used to make flour and can be also cooked whole similar to quinoa. When using an extra egg in the recipe, teff holds itself up great without the use of binders like Xanthan gum and Psyllium husk typically used in gluten-free recipes and the egg also keeps the structure of the pancake soft.

The reason why I love teff so much is that it has a great combination of protein, starch and fibre so that it holds together quite well even on its own without using other gf flour alternatives in the mix. It has a mild nutty flavour which doesn’t have the sometimes overpowering grassy notes some other gluten-free grains have. The flour contains a whopping 21g of fibre/100g which is very beneficial, as people with coeliac disease or avoiding gluten for other reasons might often struggle with getting the recommended 30g of fibre into our diets. There is a good amount of minerals in teff, too, which makes it a great thing to have in one’s diet to ensure we get enough of the good stuff we need to keep our bodies healthy (iron, calcium, magnesium, etc.).

Supporting Ethiopian farmers with Lovegrass Ethiopia Teff

Lovegrass Ethiopia’s Habesha teff is produced by Ethiopian small farmers using traditional, more sustainable, cultivation methods and pesticides are not used. They are supporting a local livelyhood and have also built their own processing plant in Ethiopia so that locals benefit more from the teff they produce when value is added to the grain by making it into products locally instead of shipping it abroad to be further processed. The variety grown is well adapted to be grown in Ethiopia and produces a flavoursome product. The ethos of supporting the local Ethiopian economy and traditional livelihood while bringing a gluten-free, nutrient rich and great tasting product to the UK market makes me choose Lovegrass Habesha teff over the teff that is produced elsewhere.

Being an ethical company supporting local farming and producing flour that makes great bread on it’s own is also the reason why I choose to make the breads in my Simple and Tasty Gluten-Free Bread course with Lovegrass Ethiopia teff – I love the high fibre content, mellow flavour and great baking qualities of the flour, and I do think you should give it a try if you reside in the UK or Ethiopia!

Teff Pancakes Recipe:

The recipe makes 4-5 large pancakes or approximately 12 smaller ones (three pancakes/pan). This should be enough for four people if you add any filling or sides and, if you are eating the pancakes as they are, two large pancakes on their own make a good sized meal for one person as they are very filling. Making these takes about 30-40min on your first go, and you can likely bash them out in less than 30min with a bit of practice..

Ingredients:

150 g (250ml / 1 UK cup)White teff flour (Lovegrass Ethiopia)
250 g (250ml)Semi-skimmed milk or dairy free milk alternative (or 250g of Greek-Style yoghurt with 75-100g (ml) water to get a rather loose batter for pancakes with a lovely crispy edge!)
3 large eggs
100 g (4-5 generous handfulls)washed baby spinach (frozen spinach – defrost and drain)
2g (1/2 tsp)salt
oil, butter or coconut butter for cooking

Method:

  1. Measure the milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the flour gradually to make sure there isn’t any lumps. Add eggs and salt and mix into a smooth batter. Chop the spinach finely if using baby spinach and mix it in with the batter.
  2. If you use mature spinach, you can remove some of the woodier stems after thorough washing, then quickly blanch the spinach in boiling water for 1-2min until wilted, drain and chop. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost and drain before adding to the batter.
  3. Let the batter rest for about 15-20min before starting to cook the pancakes.
  4. Heat a large frying pan to medium-to-high heat (about 60-75% of the whole range of the hob..). Add the fat you are using to the pan and make sure it spreads all around the pan (oil should be showing ripples and butter bubbles to know that the pan is hot enough but it shouldn’t smoke). If you are using a non-stick pan, you can leave the fat out from the cooking making the pancakes that little bit more healthy.
  5. Take a ladle or large serving spoon and mix the batter thoroughly, then if making large pancakes add enough batter to the pan that you can coat the whole pan with a thing layer of the batter when you tilt the pan from side to side and twirl it round (this might be a two-hand job if you have a heavy pan). If the pan is hot enough, the edges of the pancake should start to sizzle straight away and small air bubbles should form. If the pan isn’t hot enough, ramp up the heat for a minute or two and then bring it back down so that you don’t burn the pancake. – Learning to manage the heat in your pan is the trickiest bit with pancake making but you should be able to get it right after one or two pancakes.
  6. When the batter has set in the middle of the pan, it is time to turn the pancake. This is easiest to do with a heatproof thin spatula. Turn the pancake over, it should have nice golden brown bits. Let it cook 2-3min on the other side, reduce temperature if the pancake starts to get a bit dark.
  7. Take the pancake out and place it on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Switch it up with different condiments and fillings

You can eat the pancakes as they are. You can find lingonberry dressing in some food shops (like IKEA) and Polish delicatessen might have lingonberry jam for the authentic Finnish experience, if you want to try that. You can also add a filling to the pancakes, like some spring onion finely chopped, cottage cheese and black pepper, or ham and cheese, smoked salmon, etc. Pretty much anything you might put inside a bagel or a galette will work here, too!

Let me know how you got on with making your pancakes and how do you like Lovegrass Habesha teff! Comment here on the blog or if you post on social media, tag me in on Facebook or Instagram! Also follow me on my social media for more experiences with teff, breadmaking and other gluten-free things.

Henna Bostrom from Gluten-Free Life Tweaks - a white European 40 something lady with long hair and glasses - holding a pancake with a filling of cottage cheese folded up in her hand and smiling.
Spinach pancake filled with cottage cheese and spring onion makes a handy and light but filling lunch. Let me know when you make them and tell me how you got on!

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