Savory Scallion-Spinach Pancakes

By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
These savory pancakes are perfect as a side dish or can stand alone as a main meal. Try serving them with our lentil soup or a salad for a nice vegetarian meal. You can experiment with varying the vegetables according to your taste and they can be a good way to help your child or grandchild eat some vegetables! If you are gluten-sensitive we’ve provided a simple adaptation at the bottom of the recipe.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 6 scallions, sliced into small pieces
  • 2 cups raw baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled into small chunks


  1. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, turmeric, and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, milk, and canola oil.
  3. Chop the spinach into small pieces, and then steam until just wilted. Let cool and squeeze out any excess water.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold in the brown rice, scallions, spinach, and feta cheese. You can add a little more milk for a thinner batter and a little more flour for a thicker batter.
  5. Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with oil. When the pan is hot use a 1/4-cup measuring cup or ladle to drop batter onto pan. Cook pancakes until they are brown on the edges and bubbles break through, 3 to 4 minutes, and then flip them over. Cook on the other side until golden brown.

Serve hot with a dollop of chutney, sour cream, or salsa (optional).

* Gluten-free adaptation: substitute the 1 ½ cups of wheat flour with 1 cup of all purpose gluten free flour and ½ cup of tapioca flour.

Yield: 16 Pancakes

Key Ingredient Benefits

Brown Rice: Non-milled whole grain rice has several layers. Only the outermost layer, the hull, is removed to produce what we call brown rice. This process is the least damaging to the nutritional value of the rice and avoids the unnecessary loss of nutrients that occurs with further processing. Brown rice is packed with manganese, which is essential for energy production and numerous biochemical reactions to keep our cells running. It’s also rich in fiber as well as selenium, a key constituent of many antioxidants.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk is lower in fat than regular milk because the fat has been removed to make butter. It is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin as well as a good source of phosphorus.

Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also a very good source of vitamin E as well as a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K and manganese. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers and improve insulin sensitivity.

Canola Oil: Made from the seeds of an edible form of the rapeseed plant, canola oil’s nutritional benefits are largely due to its alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content. ALAs are essential fats that the body can use to make active forms of omega-3 fatty acids similar to the healthy fats found in fish oils. Though not as effective as fish oils, some of the health benefits of canola oil, such as protection against heart disease, are similar.

Eggs: This ingredient offers essential amino acids and provides several vitamins and minerals, including retinol (vitamin A), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. They are also a single-food source of protein. The egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D. All of the egg’s vitamin A, D, and E are in the egg yolk. A large yolk contains more than two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol. It also contains choline, which is an important nutrient for cellular health, especially of the nervous system.

Feta Cheese: A crumbly, salty cheese commonly used in Greek food, feta is rich in calcium, and a cup of feta provides three-fourth of the daily calcium requirement. Additionally, it contains high amounts of riboflavin, phosphorus and vitamin B12.

Milk: Cow’s milk promotes strong bones by being a very good source of vitamin D and calcium – two nutrients essential to bone health. In addition, cow’s milk is a very good source of iodine, a mineral essential for thyroid function. Milk is also a very good source of riboflavin and vitamin B12.

Scallions: Scallions are a type of onion. Like garlic, scallions are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects, including anti-inflammatory properties.

Spinach: A super leafy green, spinach is among the world’s healthiest vegetables. Rich in vitamins (good source of vitamin K), and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.

Turmeric: The bright yellow of the spice rainbow, turmeric has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin can be particularly helpful in the relief of rheumatoid arthritis.

Whole Wheat Flour: "Whole" means that the flour is not refined, and it contains the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain; "wheat" is the actual grain being used. Whole-wheat flour provides iron, thiamin and niacin, as well as fiber and an earthy taste.

Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.