Pancakes what a passion: 4 light recipes

Pancakes what a passion: 4 light recipes

Soft and delicious pancakes : impossible not to think of the American breakfast , when you think of these soft “pancakes”. But pancakes have many variations, including some very good ones , and they were not born in the United States, as everyone believes. Here’s where pancakes come from, how they’re made and some light recipes to experiment in the kitchen.

From Ancient Greece to the USA,passing through Northern Europe

It seems almost obvious to speak of the United States, when it comes to pancakes: to make these crêpes famous, soft and high, were the films set in the USA , which tell of abundant breakfasts with eggs, bacon, cereals and pancakes with syrup maple , typical instead of Canada.

In reality, as with many other desserts, their origin is much less recent and located in another part of the world: Ancient Greece . The original recipe – the one that only involves the use of water and flour – has existed since prehistoric times, but it is around 500 BC that Cratino and Magnete, Greek playwrights, officially talk about pancakes in their works by calling them teganites , from the pan in which they were cooked to. The dessert was made with water, olive oil and flour and was served right at breakfast, accompanied by honey.

The Romans assimilated the recipe, calling them Alita Dolcia and adding milk, eggs and many types of spices : reserved for the wealthiest families, they were eaten on holidays.

The first written record of pancakes is from the fifteenth century, although there is still no trace of the key ingredient of modern recipes, yeast . However, they are starting to be spread on tables all over Europe, especially in Russia, but also in Germany , where kaiserschmarrn can be considered in all respects a recipe heir to pancakes. It is the British Isles that give this dessert the name we still use today: but the recipe closest to the modern version is instead developed by the Dutch. Even today, in the Netherlands, the typical breakfast cakes, pannekoek and poffertjes , look a lot like pancakes.

Pancakes in North America

But when do they arrive in the United States and Canada? Probably, in the first centuries of European immigration to the “New World” everyone brings his own recipes : the Dutch bring pannekoek and poffertjes, the Scots the scones. And in fact, American pancakes are a kind of fusion between these two recipes, with the addition of other details from other European variants.

The American version is thicker and softer , thanks to the replacement of natural yeast with baking powder, chemical yeast, and is usually served with maple syrup , much loved by Americans and Canadians.

But pancakes are also very popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in many Commonwealth countries , where they are celebrated on Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day : a day that precedes the fasting period during Lent, in which the famous pancakes are eaten .

The thousand variations of pancake

The thousand variations of pancake

In the world there are many variations of the pancake , not only as regards the ingredients , but also for the preparation, the cooking method and the combinations. In the States they are called in many ways: hotcakes, griddlecakes or flapjacks . Usually they are eaten in the classic version , with a “turret” overlap, but there are also the famous variants such as those with chocolate or blueberries from New York.

In Britain , pancakes are much thinner than American ones : they are made with flour, eggs and milk and often topped with lemon juice and sugar, with maple syrup , or rolled and stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients. But desserts very similar to pancakes are also made in Argentina , stuffed with dulce de leche and chocolate , while in Venezuela there are arepas , corn fritters to be cut in half and then stuffed with savory ingredients such as meat, beans, vegetables and cheese .

In Europe we have the famous French crêpes and Scottish scones , or the Austrian kaisershmarrn , which are also eaten in Trentino Alto Adige, and are made with eggs, flour, butter, milk and raisins; but also Russian blinis are similar to pancakes, made with buckwheat flour and yeast, and seasoned with fish and sour cream ; or Finnish pannukakku , large pancakes baked in the oven and flavored with vanilla , while in Sweden they are called pannikakor and are served with strawberry jam.

And again, South African pannekeoke , very similar to crêpes but stuffed with cinnamon cream and other spicy ingredients, the Turkish gozmele , more similar to a focaccia, the Indonesian surabi , a small pancake of rice flour and coconut milk, the Algerian baghrir , spongy and soft, accompanied by honey. In short, there are many international variants: a lifetime would not be enough to make a complete list.

How pancakes are eaten

How they are eaten

As we have seen, tradition wants them as a breakfast dish : accompanied, according to the classic recipe, with maple syrup , which you can replace with a veil of jam , less caloric. But they can also be eaten as a dessert and stuffed with a little honey , combined with fresh fruit, pieces of dark chocolate or compotes . Finally, there are those who eat them with lemon and sugar , as in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

The pancakes lend themselves very well to savory preparations : the most useful idea is the one that wants them folded in half and filled like a sandwich, with ham and cheese . But they can also be accompanied with an onion chutney , with grilled vegetables, with yogurt sauces. Finally, as we did at Melarossa , you can insert the salty ingredients into the dough , in order to make their flavor really special.

Pancakes 4 Light recipes

Following are the 4 different variations , which you can make at home without too much effort: simple recipes that have been designed for those who want to eat healthy , or for those who want to lose weight , but without sacrificing taste. Discover 4 tasty and light pancake recipes!

1 – Spinach pancakes
Spinach pancakes

The spinach pancake recipe is a savory version of traditional American pancakes . It tastes completely different and you can stuff it with whatever you want, as you do with sandwiches.

Or you can use the vegetables directly in the dough and prepare a salty and super light pancake . Spinach pancakes offer all the nourishment of this precious vegetable: you can prepare them for a brunch and enjoy them for a special occasion . If you choose to eat them yourself, however, you can consider them a single dish, to be accompanied with a fresh salad.

Total calories: 703 kcal / Calories per person: 87 kcal

Ingredients for 8 pancakes:

  • 100 g of fresh spinach (leaves)
  • 150 g of 00 flour
  • 180 ml of skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • Salt to taste


Blend the spinach, egg, spoonful of oil and milk together until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Place it in a bowl and combine, little by little, mixing with a whisk, the sifted flour, the two teaspoons of instant yeast and the salt.

Stir until a homogeneous mixture is created. Heat a non-stick pan and brush it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, pour a ladle of spinach batter and let it cook, turn it with the help of a spatula and continue cooking on the other side.

Continue until the dough runs out, stacking the pancakes one on top of the other in order to keep them warm. Serve immediately.

2 – Zucchini pancakes
 Zucchini pancakes

The zucchini pancake is an original idea to prepare tasty savory pancakes . It is ideal for Sunday brunch or a slightly different lunch. This recipe is excellent even if you organize a standing dinner or a buffet, because pancakes are very comfortable to eat and liked by young and old. Indeed, courgette pancakes can be the perfect ally for children to eat vegetables, which often struggle to swallow them.

Total calories: 703 kcal / Calories per person: 87 kcal

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 1 egg
  • 80 g of milk
  • 77 g of flour
  • 50 g of Philadelphia
  • 1 Zucchini
  • a teaspoon instant yeast for savory pies
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed


In the immersion blender put the egg, milk, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of instant yeast for savory pies and flour.

Blend everything and add a grated raw courgette.

Spoon the salted pancakes in an oil-free non-stick pan.

Finally fill with philadelphia.

3 – Light pancakes without sugar
 Light pancakes without sugar

The Light pancakes without sugar are a lighter version of the traditional pancakes. In addition to sugar, they do not even contain milk, so they are also suitable for those who are intolerant or allergic.

They are prepared with eggs and fruit: banana and blueberries, as in our recipe, or other types related to seasonality. Few other ingredients to flavor and flavor your pancakes , such as dehydrated coconut (optional), cinnamon and honey or maple syrup for garnish.

The result is soft, fragrant and ideal pancakes to be enjoyed at different times of the day. For breakfast , to start the day in a sweet way and make the right load of energy, or as a snack , with a cup of tea or herbal tea.

Once ready, your sugar-free light pancakes can be kept in the refrigerator until the next day, without the filling and wrapped in plastic wrap. Otherwise you can prepare a little more and keep them in the freezer to have them available for several days, especially if you eat them for breakfast. Remember to freeze them individually, to be able to take only what you need in the morning.

Total calories: 110 kcal / Calories per person: 110 kcal

Ingredients for 10 people:

  • 150 g of blueberries
  • 50 g of dehydrated coconut
  • 3 bananas
  • 5 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut and sunflower oil
  • 2 spoons of honey


Mash the bananas with a fork and mix them together with the eggs and coconut. Add the blueberries (leave them aside for serving) and the cinnamon and mix well. Heat a non-stick pan and pour two or three spoons of batter.

Turn the pancakes with a spatula as soon as they are golden and golden: it will take about 3 minutes on one side and 1-2 minutes on the other.

Proceed until you finish the batter. Stack the pancakes, sprinkle them with coconut and serve them sprinkled with maple syrup or honey and blueberries.

4 – Super light pancakes without butter or milk
Super light pancakes without butter or milk

The pancakes super light is a revised version of the classic American recipe, usually worn for the first breakfast .

This recipe is prepared without butter , without milk and without eggs, only with flour, sugar and vanilla yeast . In this way, in addition to being lighter, these pancakes are also suitable for those suffering from allergies or intolerance for example to lactose or egg white.

Total calories: 984 kcal / Calories per person: 123 kcal

Ingredients for 8 pancakes:

  • 200 ml of water
  • 150 g of flour
  • 50 g of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of corn seed oil
  • the zest of a lemon or an orange
  • Salt to taste


In a bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, vanilla yeast and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients well and then add the lemon zest.

Add the water and oil, stirring with a whisk, until a homogeneous mixture is created. Heat a non-stick pan and grease it with a little oil. Pour a ladle of batter into it and let it cook for a few minutes before turning it gently.

With this dough you should get about 8 pancakes.

External links:

Traditional French Pancake (Crêpe) Recipe

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