Healthy Meal Ideas Healthy Breakfast Recipes

These Easy Venezuelan Corn Cachapas Are the Most Delicious Fiber- And Protein-Packed Breakfast

Photo: Getty Images/ nehopelon
Popcorn, tortillas, and cachapas. What do all three of these have in common? Well, they’re all made using one of my all-time favorite culinary staples: corn. If you’re as obsessed with this soft, buttery veggie as I am, you’ve quickly learned that corn pairs well with just about anything (seriously, emphasis on anything). From spicy jalapeño cornbread to pillowy soft hushpuppies to even ice cream, this super versatile ingredient can instantly add sunshine-like joy to any dish. Not to be corny or anything.

So, when thinking about one of the most delicious ways to use this sweet and golden veg, cachapas instantly came to mind. My maternal family hails from Venezuela, where breakfastime is synonymous with a refreshing Toddy chocolate milkshake (IYKYK), crispy arepas filled with scrambled eggs, and cachapas, aka savory corn pancakes. Unlike a good ol’ stack of flapjacks that usually get drowned in maple syrup, cachapas are stuffed with gooey cheese and a light schmear of butter.

Of course, we all love a sweet-filled breakfast every now and then. But when we’re looking to satisfy our salty cravings, this savory-sweet version definitely takes the (pan)cake. Plus, these cachapas are filled with tons of fiber and protein to start the day off juuust right, plus they're gluten-free and can easily be modified using plant-based ingredients, too.

There are just... so many reasons to love this Venezuelan cachapas recipe

Yes, I might be a little biased when it comes to my unrelenting love for this Venezuelan staple. However, once you try a bite, you’ll instantly know why this sweet and salty corn dish definitely out-pancakes a regular stack any day. First, let’s talk about the ingredients in this Venezuelan cachapas recipe by Lizet Bowen from Curious Cuisiniere. To get that perfect corn flavor, this dish calls for the ingredient in two of its forms: fresh corn cut from the cob and masa harina, aka corn flour. The corn kernels help add a bit of texture and grit to the final savory pancake. Meanwhile, the corn flour helps thicken the batter.

For added fluffiness and pancake-like texture, cachapas are made with milk and eggs, which help give the mixture its pillow-soft consistency. And, to balance and accentuate the already naturally sweet flavor of the corn, a pinch of salt and sugar helps bring everything together. Just like making your favorite protein banana pancakes, this batter is made using a high-speed blender to mix together all of the ingredients, making cleanup virtually nonexistent. Finally, it’s cooked on a hot griddle or pan, just like you would an omelette or regular pancake, until golden brown on both sides.

Now the really good part: hot, gooey, melted cheese. Once the cachapas are cooked thoroughly (and are still hot), they’re topped with a few chunks of mozzarella and folded over like a taco to conceal the cheese and let the heat naturally melt it to perfection. To finish things off, the cachapas are topped with a small pat of butter to make them glisten like the sun’s rays.

Why these cachapas make for such a healthy breakfast

Aside from being one of the most comforting and soul-soothing dishes to eat at first thing in the a.m. (as well as literally any time of day), they’re loaded with tons of protein and gut-friendly fiber. "In about half a cup of corn, you get four grams of protein [out of a recommended 50 to 75 grams a day], two grams of unsaturated fat, and 2.4 grams of fiber [out of the recommended 25 grams a day]," registered dietitian Kim Melton, RD, previously told Well+Good. Plus, she says that corn is filled with prebiotic fiber (also great for gut health), plus loads of vitamins and minerals like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, potassium, and some B vitamins.

As for the gooey and cheesy mozzarella filling, it’s loaded with 693 milligrams of calcium (which is nearly two-thirds of the amount you need in a day) and 23 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. However, of course, this gluten-free recipe can also be modified for a plant-based diet. Swap out the butter, milk, and cheese for your favorite dairy alternatives for a vegan breakfast that’ll quickly become a go-to. And, if you do love cheese but want a healthier alternative, you can use cottage cheese instead of mozz, like this one by Good Culture that’s loaded with gut-healthy probiotics and 14 grams of protein per serving.

cachapas
Photo: Curious Cuisiniere

Find the full recipe here on Curious Cuisiniere.

These cachapas will pair perfectly with this vegan Mexican corn salad, BTW:

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