While I like my pancakes trashy, I also love them to be healthy-assed. So this week our pancakes are fraternising with flaxseed, brown rice, banana and blueberries while smothered under a rich tahini sauce. Eating something nourishing that feels deliciously sinful can feel strangely conflicting, like being mugged by Cupid. What better gift for Father’s Day?!
Dad’s ticker will thank you, too. That’s because you’ll find an impressive troop of phytosterols inside sesame tahini paste. Phytosterol is a plant sterol mostly celebrated for its cholesterol-lowering dance moves. Scientists have shown that phytosterols are structurally similar to our body’s cholesterol and can, in theory, compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system.
So that basically makes this tahini sauce feel like the Harry Styles of cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.
For the pancakes, you will need:
1 large or 2 small bananas
230ml your preferred milk (we use Irish oat milk)
2 tablespoons milled flaxseed
180g plain flour, gluten-free flour or brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
A handful of blueberries
Dot of butter, ghee or coconut oil
For the chocolate tahini sauce, you’ll need:
3 tablespoons maple syrup or date syrup
1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder
100g smooth tahini
Up to 3 tablespoons hot water, oat milk, or coffee
Flaky sea salt, to taste
1 Add the banana, the milk, the milled flaxseed, the plain flour, gluten-free flour or brown rice flour, whichever you are using, the baking powder and the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, whichever you are using, to a blender and whizz until silky smooth. If you prefer, feel free to do this by hand with some muscle and Spotify tunes. Stir through the blueberries before leaving the mixture to bloom and rest for 15 minutes.
2 Then add a dot of butter, ghee or coconut oil, whichever you are using, to a non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium to high heat (I love ghee, which has a naturally high smoking point). Drop in a little of the pancake batter — about the size of a scone — and cook on both sides. You’ll know when it’s time to flip the pancake as teeny little bubbles will form on the surface after 30-60 seconds. We’re going for thicker American pancakes rather than thin French crêpes. Taste the cooked pancake before starting another so that you know whether it needs more time in the pan, or less time, or is just right.
3 Next, make the chocolate tahini sauce. In a small jug, add the maple syrup or date syrup, whichever you are using, the cocoa powder or cacao powder, whichever you are using, and the smooth tahini. Beat together with a fork until glossy. Start splashing in small amounts of hot water, oat milk or coffee, whichever you are using, until the sauce resembles pouring cream. The sauce is likely to thicken up before it thins out. Taste, and add a touch of the flaky sea salt. Drizzle over your cooked pancakes and nosedive into the lot.