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pancakes with spinach and tofu ricotta

January 24, 2013

Serves 2
Prep time: 45 minutes

Okay, this isn’t the speediest lunch in the world.  But I am stuck indoors in the snow and I have time on my hands.  And it’s still quicker than making cannelloni.

Recently I discovered that the difference between normal pancakes (the flat, British kind) and vegan pancakes is very little.  There isn’t that much egg in traditional pancake batter so you can safely leave it out.  Soy milk behaves in exactly the same way as dairy milk, producing speckled blonde pancakes that are firm enough to flip and tender enough to be completely delicious.  Ever since I learned this we have been having pancakes for breakfast, lunch and supper.  I make banana Nutella ones and use them to bribe the children.

(By the way, Anthony Worrell Thompson’s gluten free Nutella-style spread is vegan!  They sell it in Sainsbury’s!  Hurrah!)

What I made today was savoury cannelloni-style pancakes with a spinach/tofu ricotta filling and a garlic tomato sauce.  I would have torn some basil over the top but, as I say, I am stuck indoors and can’t get to the shops without it being a major operation.  Don’t let the sunny photograph fool you, it’s freezing out there!

I have seen pancake cannelloni recipes where the whole lot is baked in the oven but I couldn’t see that working without the pancakes going all mushy.  It’s not really necessary anyway with this recipe – just construct your pancakes, plate up and munch.

This was a very satisfying lunch, not low fat unfortunately but who wants to eat low fat in the snow?


For the pancakes:
Plain white flour, 120g
Soy milk, 350ml
A good pinch of salt
Vegetable oil for frying

For the filling:
Fresh spinach, 150g
Extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp
One medium onion, finely chopped
Garlic, one clove, finely chopped
Firm tofu, 200g
Dried oregano, 1 tsp
Sun-dried tomato paste, 2 tsp
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
Good quality tomatoes, 1 x 400g tin
Garlic, one clove, finely chopped
Olive oil, 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste

First make the pancake batter, to give it time to rest while you do everything else.  Add the flour and salt to the milk and whisk everything together (use a stick blender if you have one, it’s easiest this way).  Then put to one side.

Get the tomato sauce on.  Heat the oil in a small-ish saucepan and gently fry the garlic for 1 minute until just starting to colour.  Add the tomatoes, breaking them up if they are whole, then turn the heat down and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until thick.

Next wilt the spinach – give it a wash and place the wet leaves in a large saucepan over a very low heat, stirring occasionally until wilted.  Let cool, thoroughly squeeze out as much water as possible, and roughly chop.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan and fry the onion and garlic over a medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes until soft.  Take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the filling ingredients: the wilted spinach, tofu (crumbled in your hand), oregano, sun-dried tomato paste, lemon zest, nutritional yeast and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the saucepan on a very low heat, just to keep the filling warm, while you make the pancakes.

Heat a very small amount of vegetable oil in a crepe pan or small frying pan over a medium heat – tip out any excess oil.  Pour some pancake batter into the centre of the pan, just enough to cover the base in a thin layer as you angle the pan in a circle.
Leave it to cook for 2-3 minutes – it will get gradually firmer as it cooks.  Lift one edge to see the colour underneath – if it is blonde and slightly speckly, flip the pancake and cook the other side.  Repeat until all the batter is used – you should get a good 10-12 pancakes out of this amount, depending on the size of your pan.

Keep the pancakes warm (in a low oven, wrapped in a clean tea towel) until you are ready to plate up.

To serve, roll up a heaped tbsp of filling in each pancake, and top with tomato sauce.


From → Mains, Recipes

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