Recipe: A Healthier Take on Pancakes

I love pancakes. As far as my taste buds are concerned, the lighter and sweeter they come, the better. My body does not love those traditional, fluffy buttermilk carbohydrate and sugar bombs as much as my taste buds do. When the lower/low carb cooking craze began to take off, I started seeing a lot of recipes for pancakes that used Greek yogurt as a base but many of them were loaded with added sugar either because they were using flavored yogurt or adding sweeteners like honey and agave. While both honey and agave are natural, they’re still very high on the glycemic index. About a year ago, I made the decision to drastically cut back on added sugar and processed carbohydrates in my diet, which meant giving up my weekend pancakes. I started brainstorming potential ways to make a healthier version and remembered that it was possible to use Greek yogurt as a base. I started experimenting with various ingredient combinations and came up with a recipe with no added sugar and minimal amounts of whole grain flour. They turned out to be fast and easy to whip up, which was an added bonus. Before I jump into the recipe, I do want to warn you that these pancakes do not resemble the light and airy texture of a traditional buttermilk pancakes. If that’s what you want, you will likely be disappointed by this recipe, but if you don’t mind a slightly denser sugar free version of one of America’s favorite breakfast foods, this one’s for you. As strange as it sounds, these are also great topped with peanut or almond butter if you’re looking for an extra nutritional kick.


Makes 6-8 pancakes

  • 1 cup skim or 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup scant whole wheat flour**
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs***

** I have attempted this recipe with both coconut and almond flour. Neither worked out well. I think it needs a little bit of gluten to bind it and give it a similar texture to a traditional pancake.

*** You can also substitute dark chocolate or chocolate chips if you don’t have any cacao nibs on hand or want your pancakes to be sweeter (just keep in mind that chocolate has added sugar in it – the higher the the cacao/cocoa content, the less sugar the chocolate will have).


This recipe is ridiculously easy. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir until mixed. Once batter is combined, scoop onto a hot non stick or lightly buttered (or coconut oiled) pan or griddle.

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