These spinach pancakes are a vivid green color without the use of any food coloring or dyes and boast a simple ingredient list. They’re the perfect St. Patrick’s Day breakfast recipe that’s also gluten-free & vegan for both adults and kids to enjoy!
My love for healthy pancake recipes runs deep. If you click that link you’ll notice I have over 25 on this site.
They’re probably my favorite “special” breakfast (yes, even over waffles) and so it’s sort of crazy to me I didn’t have any St. Patrick’s themed pancakes yet!
I do have a really fun St. Patrick’s Day green oatmeal recipe though!
That changes today with these spinach pancakes.
I keep going back and forth between calling them green pancakes or spinach pancakes.
I mean, technically, they’re both.
But which sounds more appealing?
As an adult, I think it’s spinach pancakes so I know that vivid green color is coming from a plant and not food coloring (gross).
As a kid (or a parent cooking for a kid), I’m thinking green pancakes are more persuasive.
Take your pick I guess. Either way they taste the same and that’s just plain delicious!
Also, let’s address the elephant in the room up front: no, you can’t taste the spinach in these pancakes.
It’s just like adding baby spinach to smoothies, it’s really undetectable. The only thing letting you know it’s there is the fun festive green color.
SPINACH PANCAKE INGREDIENTS
- oat flour
- ground chia seeds
- baking powder
- unflavored protein powder (optional)
- unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- baby spinach
- maple syrup
- avocado oil
- vanilla extract
OAT FLOUR – If you don’t have any on hand, grind your own! Just take regular oats and process them in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
GROUND CHIA SEEDS – same idea here. Ground chia is sold in stores but if you don’t keep it on hand (and I don’t either), just add chia seeds to a blender and blend until ground into a powder. Easy peasy.
Wondering why we’re using chia seeds? They act as the perfect egg replacement to keep these pancakes vegan.
PROTEIN POWDER – I like adding some protein to my pancakes for staying power. These perfect protein pancakes are a long time favorite actually because they keep you full for hours!
Any unflavored or even vanilla flavored protein powder will work. Even collagen peptides will do. I’ve made these spinach pancakes with and without protein powder and they cook up well either way.
ALMOND MILK – Feel free to use any plant based milk here, homemade or store bought. I always use unsweetened varieties but I do like the vanilla flavor for this recipe. If you make your own almond milk, make sure to check out my almond pulp recipes for ideas to use up that pulp!
HOW TO PREPARE GREEN SPINACH PANCAKES
No surprises here when it comes to making these fun green pancakes packed with spinach.
It’s just like any other pancake recipe but you’ll use your blender for the wet ingredients.
First, add the oat flour, ground chia seeds, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and protein powder (if using) to a large bowl.
Whisk together until the ingredients are well combined in the bowl.
Next, place the almond milk, baby spinach, maple syrup, avocado oil and vanilla extract in the blender and blend until totally smooth.
The result will be a vibrant green milk mixture.
Pour the green liquid into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together until fully incorporated.
Let the mixture rest for at least five minutes.
This gives the chia seeds time to help the batter thicken. And it will thicken substantially as it sits so don’t worry if it seems thin at first.
COOKING THE PANCAKES
While the batter rests and thickens, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
That’s the trick when it comes to perfectly cooked pancakes, especially gluten-free and vegan pancakes. The heat must be on the lower side and the cooking time must be on the longer side.
I highlight this because it’s important! You can’t be impatient when it comes to cooking pancakes with alternative flours and egg replacements, patience is a virtue here!
Once hot, add a touch of oil or cooking spray to the pan and pour the batter in quarter cupfuls onto the skillet.
Cook for about 5 minutes on one side. Gently and carefully flip the pancakes and cook for about 3 minutes on the other side until fully cooked through.
Keep the cooked pancakes warm on a plate and repeat with remaining spinach pancake batter.
The recipe will make about a dozen 5-6″ pancakes, enough to feed about four people.
GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN SPINACH PANCAKES
Funny enough, with all the healthier pancake recipes I’ve published on this site, none of them are vegan!
Well, except my 1-ingredient sourdough discard pancakes but those feel a little like cheating.
These spinach pancakes are not only gluten-free thanks to using oat flour, they’re also vegan and dairy-free since we use a plant based milk and ground chia seeds to replace what would traditionally be an egg.
I’ve used flax eggs before in many baking recipes (like my banana nut almond pulp muffins and vegan black bean brownies) but for these green spinach pancakes I took a page from my sweet potato cookie recipe and decided to go the chia route.
And I’m so glad I did!
Chia eggs gel up and bind much better than flax eggs in my experience but for these pancakes, I didn’t want whole chia seeds in the recipe.
Let’s be honest, they can have a weird texture and they tend to get stuck in your teeth. With a fun green pancake geared towards kids, I didn’t want any weird chia texture issues to come up.
So that’s why we grind the chia seeds for this recipe.
The inspiration for that came from my persimmon jam recipe where I do the same thing and it works perfectly.
HOW TO STORE SPINACH PANCAKES
These pancakes store really well, both in the refrigerator and freezer.
If storing extra pancakes in the refrigerator, they’ll keep for about 3-5 days in a container.
To freeze, it’s best to layer the pancakes between sheets of parchment paper in either a freezer proof bag or air-tight container.
They’ll keep for about 3 months in the freezer.
To warm up, use the microwave in 15-30 second intervals.
TOPPINGS FOR THESE HEALTHY SPINACH PANCAKES
Maple syrup is a given with any pancake recipe, isn’t it?!
Of course an extra glug of syrup is a must when serving these.
I’m always partial to berries with my pancakes as well whether that’s blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries. Pile them on for all their antioxidant benefits!
Banana slices are a great way to add some additional natural sweetness.
Walnuts, nut butter and jam (like some fig preserves) are great topping options too.
If you’re not vegan, a nice pat of butter (or plant based butter if you are) is extra delicious as well.
GREEN PANCAKES FOR KIDS
I don’t create many recipes with kids in mind (for obvious reasons – kidless by choice over here!) but this spinach pancake recipe is definitely one of the few.
I just think they’re so fun with the bright green color and such a great way to get some real vegetables in their food.
I don’t really believe in “tricking” kids with hidden vegetables but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, right?
And if a stack of green pancakes secretly stuffed with baby spinach is what works, I say roll with it.
Plus, it’s a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without the use of any artificial dyes or food coloring, a major pet peeve of mine!
If you’re in need of kid-friendly food ideas packed with nutrition, I can’t recommend my friend Lindsay’s site enough. Her green smoothie snack bars are the perfect example!
The great thing about these green pancakes though is they’re just as fun for adults as they are kids.
And just because they’re green doesn’t mean they’re only good around St. Patrick’s Day, they’re great all year long too!
Need a video walk through? Don’t miss my web story on how to make these green pancakes with no food coloring!
INTO THIS SPINACH PANCAKE RECIPE? I THINK YOU’LL LIKE THESE TOO:
- Blueberry Avocado Pancakes
- Apple Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Topping
- Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Green Spinach Pancakes
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chia seeds *see note
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 scoops unflavored protein powder of choice optional
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk or plant based milk of choice
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine oat flour, ground chia seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and protein powder (if using) in a large bowl and whisk until combined.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until fully combined and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat until hot.
- Grease with cooking spray, ghee, coconut oil or fat of choice.
- Pour the pancake batter in 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot skillet.
- Cook for 5 minutes then gently flip and cook an additional 3 minutes on the other side until cooked through.
- Serve with additional maple syrup and toppings of choice.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.