How To Use Oats To Make Delicious Banana Pancakes Packed With Protein and Fiber

Photo: Stocksy/Nataša Mandić
Aside from the fact that breakfast offers some of the best food options (see also: waffles, eggs benedict, and avocado toast), eating the aptly-deemed 'most important meal of the day' has many health benefits. Studies show that most common breakfast foods are loaded with key vitamins, minerals, and protein that help kick start your day; recent research published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society doubled down on this by showing that those who skip breakfast miss out on many necessary nutrients all day. In addition to a much-needed morning energy boost, eating breakfast helps balance blood sugar levels, promotes heart health, and boosts brain health.

One of the most nutrient-dense breakfast foods you'll find are oats. Mild in flavor and suitable for jazzing up with fun ingredients, a few servings of oats can transform your breakfast into a heart-healthy, nutritious meal. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants, this grain can help reduce cholesterol levels, maintain stable blood sugar, and minimize your risk of heart disease. Oats also serve as one of the richest sources of the dietary soluble fiber beta-glucan.

And lucky for us, there are so many ways to eat oats aside from the classic bowl of oatmeal—today, oats have taken on so many new forms. From overnight oats to breakfast cookies to TikTok's famous baked oats, there are endless variations to help you get your morning protein and fiber fix. Our personal favorite of late? The banana pancakes recipe featured below (cue the Jack Johnson). Gluten-free and loaded with protein, these easy banana pancakes will make you rethink your preconceived notion that oats are boring or bland.

Tips for making banana pancakes with oats

1. Enlist a blender or food processor. For this oat-based banana pancake recipe, your batter will be so much smoother if you use one of these appliances to mix the ingredients together. They'll be able to chop up the raw oats, which will result in a creamier, more consistent batter.

2. If you're vegan, swap out the eggs. If you want to make the recipe vegan, simply use an egg replacement option like flax or chia “eggs” to get similar results.

3. Experiment with ingredient additions and toppings. If you love customization, this simple recipe is for you. For example, if you’re looking to sneak in some extra greens, adding a handful of spinach will add vitamin A and C, iron, and calcium to your pancakes. You can also add more protein by incorporating a couple of tablespoons of your favorite nut butter and topping the finished pancakes with Greek yogurt and chopped hazelnuts. Showering your pancakes with fresh pears and cinnamon is as delicious as it is anti-inflammatory.

4. Reach for rolled oats. Choosing the right type of oats can make a big difference in your final dish. Generally, there are three versions sold in stores: rolled, steel-cut, and quick oats. All three of these come from oat groats, which are oat kernels with the hulls removed. Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, consist of oat groats that are steamed and flattened. As a result, they’re softer, blander, and take much less time to prepare, as they already have been partially pre-cooked during the production process. This type of oat takes only about two to five minutes to make and is ideal for this pancake recipes, as well as cakes and breads.

5. Store your leftovers properly. If you have any extra (you won't), store your leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or the freezer for up to a month.

Protein-rich banana pancakes recipe

1 cup rolled oats
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond or oat milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon agave (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil (for greasing)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the oats, banana, carrots, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, milk, baking powder, salt, and agave (if using). Mix until smooth and completely puréed.

2. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat.

3. Grease the pan with butter or oil. Then, add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter per pancake or enough to make a small pancake with a diameter of about 4 inches.

4. Cook until the pancake begins to golden and bubbles begin to form on the uncooked surface, about 3 minutes.

5. Carefully flip the pancake, and cook the remaining side another 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden.

6. Serve with toppings like banana slices, chopped strawberries, slivered almonds, and/or nut butter. Opportunities are endless!

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