No-Fail, Kid-Pleaser Spinach: Popeye’s Pancakes

The secret ingredient: baby spinach

Readers know that I’m not generally one to hand out recipes. There’s always someone out there who knows more or figured it out more scientifically.

But I find that I’m becoming, quite to my surprise, a pancake expert. I add things to pancakes: Bananas. Applesauce. Carrots. Zucchini. Yams. Wheatgerm. Flaxseed. Ground oats. Ground almonds. I think only one experiment was an unredeemable disaster but I can’t remember which one. Although, in an uncharacteristic turn of discipline and documentation, I usually write down the recipes while the bots are making them disappear, and I usually write them down accurately.

This morning, faced with half a sixteen-ounce container of spinach from last week’s Costco run (do you KNOW how much a pound of spinach is? It’s roughly a billion servings. More when I’m the only one eating it. Eating it alone was not the plan), I decided that I would no longer eat my spinach alone.

So I got out my trusty Joy of Cooking, the one with fifteen different variations scribbled on the “pancakes” page. If I had been in charge of naming this book,  it would be called The Necessity of Cooking: Striving for Gratification. As I’ve mentioned (see Muffins McBot, Or, You’re Stepping On My Habit), I enjoy baking much more; it’s zennish, except when it’s punctuated with battle cries and calls for Dora bandaids.

Pancakes fall somewhere between cooking and baking. They’re cakes, but they’re cooked in a pan. What makes them a good target for slipping in nutritious, vitamin-filled ingredients the bots have shunned in other contexts is simple: sugar. I add honey–preferably local honey, because it’s supposed to help with allergies. Makes sense to me. Then I dab them with Vermont maple syrup. Which isn’t supposed to help with any allergies but really, who cares?

Even A.A. Milne wrote a poem about eating peas with honey. If he’d thought of it, I’m sure there would be a follow-up  verse about spinach with chocolate.

Popeye’s Pancakes

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • About 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach (or 1/3 cup frozen), cooked & pureed (as my nut grinder has coffee beans in it and my food processor is too big, I just used a pizza cutter to slice-‘n’-dice the hell out of it).
  • 2-3 T honey (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (these proportions can be varied)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a few dashes cinnamon
  • a handful of chocolate chips

Stir together the liquid ingredients, stir in the dry ingredients. Heat griddle on medium-low with a tiny bit of butter on it. Ladle the batter on, then drop 4 or 5 chocolate chips onto each pancake. When bubbly, flip and cook for another minute.

These don’t even need any syrup. Gbot’s review: “I yuv dese pan-cakes.”

After breakfast, I pile the leftovers into stacks of four and freeze. They reheat fabulously in the microwave. And leftovers are my new favorite food. Look ma, no cooking!

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7 thoughts on “No-Fail, Kid-Pleaser Spinach: Popeye’s Pancakes

  1. Oh, I’m going to try these! Chloe is pretty anti-veggie for some reason. I think it’s more a battle of will than anything else…That’s a 2 year old for you though! I like to toast up leftover (frozen) pancakes in the toaster. Then slather on some peanut butter. YUM! Thanks for the recipe…I’ll let you know how Chloe likes them.

    • I hope it goes over well with Chloe! Hard to believe that you have trouble getting veggies into her–I know what a good cook you are! But I’m sure you’re right about the battle of wills. The twos and threes (I’m finding especially threes) are good practice, I think, for when they’re teens. So good to hear from you!

  2. We made these this morning and ate more than half of them between just Chloe and I. So good! I didn’t cook my spinach beforehand since I was lazy. I just threw all the wet ingredients (except for the eggs) in the food processor to grind up the spinach real good.

    • I’m so glad they’re a hit with you girls! Thanks for reporting back. And it’s good to know they work just as well with uncooked spinach and without a lot of chopping by hand. The easier, the better, I say.

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