He who goes to bed hungry dreams of pancakes: flourless, dairy-free whole food protein pancakes with coconut milk date “syrup”

I absolutely love pancakes. I moved away from beautiful fluffy buttermilk pancakes to oat, almond cottage cheese pancakes – protein packed, no refined sugars or flours. Within the realm of flour/grain free pancakes I see recipes for pancakes made of banana, eggs and a  dollop of almond butter…but these are full of sugar. So I set out to make a whole food pancake, sweetened with only a little banana and date, loaded with protein and fiber. The winner was a butternut squash, almond butter, banana pancake sweetened with whole dates and topped with a coconut milk, date vanilla “syrup.” And what perfect timing! This was not planned (honestly!), but I just found out that today Tuesday, February 9 2016 is pancake day. Pancakes are in the air.


Hmmm pancakes. I wake up hungry every morning as breakfast and lunch are my main meals of the day. And I dream of pancakes, especially when I can’t have them. But that is no longer the case.


Butternut squash is abundant this time of year and has been accumulating on my counter top. As soon as I have a pile of squash sitting on my counter, we cut them in half, de-seed them, lather them up in coconut oil and bake them – about 45 min at 400 degrees under they start to brown and a fork slides right through. I let them cool, remove the skin and puree the flesh is in a vitamix adding water as needed.

I put the puree into ziplock bags and freeze them for later use in savory or sweet creations. I had frozen butternut squash last week which I thawed for this creation.


Butternutter nut squash is a great replacement for the banana as it is naturally sweet but lower in sugar and calories (45 calories per 100 grams or about 1 cup) and loaded with poly-phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins A and B (folates, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, etc), minerals (iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus) and dietary fiber. Like zucchini, butternut squash is a great substitute for some baked goods.

I used half a ripe banana to sweeten along with whole dates made into a paste. Dates are sweet and because they contain the fiber along with the sugar, they are low on the glycemic index. I soak dates overnight and make them into a paste by blending them with water in a vitamix and store in the fridge for up a to a week. I use them as a sweetner in everything.


For protein I used 1 cup of raw almond butter – this is equal to the amount of butternut squash puree I use, so this is a protein packed pancake. If you are not using fresh made almond butter, read labels carefully so you use one without added sugar.


I use egg as a binder. And a whole vanilla bean – you can use an extract but I prefer fresh vanilla from the pod. Or you can use a paste. Vanilla tricks the taste buds and brain into thinking something is sweet without any actual sugar. Cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor. Salt balances and enhances the flavors. Simply add all the ingredients into a food processor/blender/vitamix and puree until smooth. I spray coconut oil into a cast iron skillet over low heat and pour in the batter.

Flip after about 2 minutes, when the batter holds together and browned on the bottom.


A protein packed pancake that even my daughter loves. I make a bunch of these and freeze them. That way I can reheat in a toaster oven for a quick pancake on the go  or for a morning breakfast during the week.


But we all love a syrup. So I made a quick simple syrup with a coconut milk (the one in a can – again read labels – I buy one without guar gum, but that is up to you), pureed date, vanilla and salt. A low sugar syrup that you can drench your pancakes in, should you choose to do so.


Oh so good. And so filling. Free of grains, flours, refined sugars and dairy. Full of whole foods, protein and nutrition. Dig in without the guilt.



Happy eating! And happy pancake day!

Butternut Squash Almond Butter Pancakes

  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs date puree or 2 dates, soaked overnight, seed removed
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 Tbs vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • coconut oil for cooking

Place all ingredients into a blender or vitamix and blend until smooth, pushing down the sides as needed. If the puree is too thick, add a small amount of water or coconut milk to help blend but do not add too much – it should be the consistency of a pancake batter. Heat coconut oil over low heat and pour in batter. cook for 2-3 minutes and flip when the bottom is browned and cook for an additional 1-2 min. Place on a plate and serve or allow to cool and freeze.

Coconut milk date syrup

  • 4 oz canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs date puree or 1 date, soaked overnight, seed removed
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve.

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