Blue cornmeal pancakes which originate in northern New Mexico make for a hearty, wholesome breakfast full of unique and delicious flavors. I make these with spelt flour, and a blend of blue corn meal, and blue masa harina, so it’s low in gluten (though read low, not completely gluten-free). They can indeed be made with all-purpose gluten-free flour mix in place of the spelt flour, though they aren't quite as springy and fluffy that way.
This is one of the few pancake recipes, actually menu items in general that was on my food truck that since day one, proudly emanating its wholesome Southwestern influence on our breakfast offerings. I tried to take it off the menu to make way for other fun new stuff, but the growing number of devoted fans had already become entranced by the distinct corn taste. Another absolutely CRAZY vegan pancake recipe you should check out is this Martabak- an Indonesian thick pancake stuffed with melted chocolate and peanuts.
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What the heckity-heck is masa anyway?
The word masa means dough, and unsurprisingly masa harina is often used to form the corn dough used for making tamales and fresh tortillas. It is a finely ground corn with a more delicate texture than cornmeal. I like using both in this recipe because the diversity of flavor and texture is a refreshing change from regular pancakes, which often leave me feeling like I just ate a cup of white flour for breakfast. This is no game for those high-fructose corn syrup princesses Jemima and Buttersworth, so send them packing. "Blue Cornies" (as my kids whole family have always called these) are the perfect delivery system for real maple syrup.
- blue cornmeal
- blue corn masa harina
- white spelt flour
- baking powder
- teaspoon sea salt
- unsweetened plant-based milk
- agave nectar
- canola or safflower oil
- pure vanilla extract
- Maple syrup
- pine nuts
- coconut oil
- vegan margarine
- sea salt
- ground cinnamon
See recipe card for quantities.
Pass the cornmeal, masa harina, spelt flour, baking powder, and sea salt through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Alternately you can just whisk the cornmeal mixture together to remove and small lumps or clumps.
In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, agave nectar, 3 tablespoons oil, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients. Whisk together to form a smooth, light blue batter.
Heat a griddle, nonstick frying pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
Once the pan is hot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine, and spread it around the surface of the pan until melted. Ladle out 4 tablespoons of batter to form each pancake. I use a lightly oiled ¼ cup measuring cup (which is 4 tablespoons) to spoon batter right onto the cooking surface to keep the size and shape of the pancakes consistent.
Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes until bubbles form on the surface and the edges start lifting off the pan. Flip and fry on the other side for about 2 minutes, or just until cooked through.
Add more vegan butter to the pan before frying the next batch.
- Gluten-Free All purpose flour - instead of the spelt flour, you can make these glorious pancakes gluten free by substituting your favorite all-purpose gluten-free mix. They don't come out quite as fluffy, but they are still the stuff dreams are made of.
- Regular all-purp - Think white spelt flour is for chumps or something? Or just don't want one more ingredient in your life? Use regular ol' all-purpose flour in place of the white spelt flour. It will work great. I just personally prefer the flavor and nutritional value of the spelt.
- Plain vegan butter - don't want the hassle of making the pinon butter? Well, that DOES make this recipe extra special, but your pancakes will still be happy slathered in the regular stuff, and then there is about half as much work you have to do.
- Masa Harina - if you can't get the gorgeous masa harina I suggest for this recipe, you can absolutely make it with regular white or yellow masa (what you might use for tortilla or tamale making) or just substitute it with an equal quantity of the blue corn meal. For year before I tweaked this recipe to perfection, I ONLY used blue corn meal, and not the masa, and it was still great. Just now, it's better!
Some variations using this recipe
There are a couple fun things I suggest you try out if you make these a lot
- Fresh corn - add fresh cut corn kernels to the batter. It's legendary like that
- Muffins - with or without the fresh corn added, you can use this batter in a lightly oiled muffin tin! I usually top each muffin with a light dusting of plain streusel before baking them
- Waffles - This batter works great in a waffle iron too! Just make sure most of the steam has stopped escaping from the waffle iron before you open it, so that you know the waffle is cooked through and will not fall apart when you do. *I have only made blue corn waffles with the recipe as it is. If you add corn kernels or make it gluten-free I am making no guarantee that you will not cause a tear in the space-time continuum or whatever.
Equipment for making vegan blue corn pancakes
You don't NEED anything more than a frying pan to make these, but...
I prefer to use a stovetop griddle pan that can fit over two burners because when I make pancakes, it's always for at least my whole family. If you don't own a griddle pan, it's a great thing to have, and I especially recommend ones that can be used as a grill on the other side (to put grill marks on tofu and veggies). I actually use my griddle pan more for the grill side since I love adding grilled flavors to my cooking, and firing up an outside BBQ is not practical when you just want to add some grilled tomatoes to a sauce or something. I use the grill side of my griddle pan ALL THE FREAKING TIME to make vegan elote, and you should too, because they are easy and so delicious!
Often for camping trips or just easy meal planning, I will measure out the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in advance and have them ready to go in containers to be easily thrown together. If you do this, never forget to label them including if you multiplied the recipe.
Vegan blue corn pancakes with piñon butter
- Total Time: 34 minutes
Hearty vegan blue corn pancakes with pine nut butter and maple syrup. This is what dreams are made of!
⅓ cup blue cornmeal
⅓ cup whole grain blue corn masa harina
⅔ cup white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
11/4 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar
3 tablespoons plus ¼ cup canola or
11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup Vermont maple syrup, for serving
¼ cup pine nuts
⅓ cup coconut oil
½ cup vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon agave nectar
First, make the Pinon Butter (or skip these steps if you intend to use plain vegan butter)
1 In a dry sauté pan set over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts until lightly golden all
over, about 6 minutes. Transfer them to the empty bowl of a food processor.
2 Add the coconut oil, margarine, salt, cinnamon,
and agave nectar to the now- empty sauté pan and melt them together over medium heat.
3 Pulse the toasted pine nuts in the food processor
several times to yield coarse fragments. Stir in the coconut oil mixture, then scrape out the food processor’s contents into a small bowl. Refrigerate and let cool until the fats have solidified
(about 1 hour). Using a rubber spatula, mix everything together (the pine nuts may have settled during the initial chilling). Use the pine nut butter immediately, or store in an airtight container for later use. (The butter will keep in the refrigerator for months, if it isn’t eaten well before then.)
Make the pancakes
1 Pass the cornmeal, masa harina, spelt flour, baking powder, and sea salt through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Alternately you can just whisk the cornmeal mixture together to remove and small lumps or clumps. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, agave nectar, 3 tablespoons oil, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients. Whisk together to form a smooth, light blue batter.
2 Heat a griddle, nonstick frying pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
Once the pan is hot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine, and spread it around the surface of the pan until melted. Ladle out 4 tablespoons of batter to form each pancake. I use a lightly oiled ¼ cup measuring cup (which is 4 tablespoons) to spoon batter right onto the cooking surface to keep the size and shape of the pancakes consistent. Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes until bubbles form on the surface and the edges start lifting off the pan. Flip and fry on the other side for about 2 minutes, or just until cooked through.
Add more margarine to the pan before frying the next batch.
3 Plate two or three pancakes per person with a half teaspoon of pine nut butter spread between each of the layers of pancakes, and a little more dolloped on top. Serve the syrup in a small pitcher on the side, warmed if preferred.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 14
- Category: Breakfast
Keywords: Vegan Blue Corn Pancakes with Pine Nut Butter
Love these pancakes, I’m not usually a pancake person but these I dream about!
I tried the recipe and I am addicted to this pinon butter. I am so thankful for this blog, already looking forward to trying everything here.