Its back to school season and the weather has certainly cooled down as we approach autumn here. I am always looking for some warm breakfast options to help during these chilly mornings and these vegan banana pancakes perfectly fit the bill. Now, these arent just your average banana pancakes.Use those beautiful overripe bananas, add in some warming cardamom along with a few spoonfuls of black sesame paste to make some fragrant, nutty tasting delicious pancakes. Its a bit of a grown up version of pancakes but still very fun at its core.
Also the pancake batter can me made over the weekend and is ready for use over the week on those busy mornings where you really dont want to think too much about what to make. Or make your weekends extra special with the same pancakes and special toppings that will make your Saturdays or Sundays!
Delicious Black Sesame- Why add it?
Black sesame seeds are something I grew up eating regularly in Indian cuisines. It also plays an important role in spiritual practices. They also happen to be a fantastic source of good fats and trace minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese. Putting aside all of these benefits, black sesame has an amazing nutty flavor that pairs extremely well with bananas.
Making black sesame paste
It is extremely easy to make black sesame paste at home. I used around half a standard US cup of black sesame seeds to start with. I lightly toasted it on a pan at medium low heat for 3-4 minutes. It is important to regularly saute to prevent the seeds from burning. Once toasted, I put it aside to cool.
After it had cooled down, I added it to a spice grinder and started pulsing it. You will initially notice it has ground the seeds in to a powder. As you continue pulsing, the seeds start releasing oil. You might notice at this stage, you will have to use a small spoon/spatula to release the ‘paste’ since it will tend to collect and lump together in the grinder. This will help the blades to keep rotating smoothly.
After 3-4 rounds of this, you will see a fairly smooth paste that looks shiny due to the released oils. You can remove this from the grinder and store in an airtight container. This paste will need to be refrigerated.
Using the black sesame paste in the banana pancakes
Black sesame on its own is a little bitter tasting. Hence we will need to add some sweetener before using it in the pancake batter. You can do this while grinding the paste or later. Just add in a tablespoon or so of maple/agave and 4-5 teaspoon of sesame paste. Mix well to incorporate the sweetener. You can also add some neutral oil or plant based milk to thin out the paste.
Now I gently folded in the paste in to the pancake batter so that there were just streaks of the sesame paste. This is to ensure that the sesame paste does not end up as a big blob(s) in the batter. Pour out the batter on a heated pan as you would with any other pancakes and voila! Delicious pancakes are ready. This recipe makes around 8 pancakes.
Want more breakfast options? Try these
Topping ideas for vegan banana pancakes
There are so many ways to top these delicious vegan banana pancakes. Try
- A pat of vegan butter
- Sliced bananas
- Toasted black or white sesame seeds
- Caramelized bananas (Heat some vegan butter in a pan and add sliced bananas. Ensure the bananas are slightly underripe. Now sprinkle some brown sugar on top and gently toss the bananas until the sugar is caramelized. Let cool for a few seconds before using)
- Rum sauce anyone? – Add a couple of spoons of rum to the bananas while caramelizing them. You can also some cinnamon and nutmeg to make it a spicy rum sauce. Remove the skillet from heat after adding the banana slices and add the rum along with sugar. Return the skillet to heat and gently keep tossing the bananas until caramelized.
- Toasted coconut chips or shredded dry coconut
- Whipped coconut cream
Can I make banana bread or muffins instead?
Yes, you can! Thats what I did with the leftover sesame paste and made banana and black sesame bread.
Liquids – You will have to adjust the amount of liquids used since pancake batter has a higher ratio of liquids to dry ingredients. If you use 1 1/2 cups of flour, then use only 1/4 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of oil.
Sugar – Pancakes are generally not too sweet other than what the bananas add. You will need to up the sugar to about 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup for banana bread/muffins.
Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Options – You can use regular milk in place of dairy free milk in the same ratio as suggested. Just skip the vinegar.
For gluten- free flour, I would suggest replacing with 1:1 repalcement option. You might have to adjust the milk quantity since gluten free flour might call for more liquids.
Can I make vegan banana pancakes ahead of time or freeze them for meal prep?
Thats a yes again! You can either make the pancake batter ahead of time or the pancakes themselves and store them in the refrigerator for 4-5 days easily. Just set out the batter a few minutes ahead of time before pouring out the pancakes on a heated pan.
To reheat previously made pancakes, cover in a wet paper towel. Heat in the microwave for around 30 seconds and let it sit for another 30 seconds before removing it. You can also do that on a heated skillet over the stove top.
If you would like to freeze the pancakes, then once they are made, let it completely cool down. Place a piece of parchment paper between the pancakes to ensure they dont stick. Place in a freezer safe container or bag and place in the freezer. These should be good for up to 3 months. To heat them, place in the microwave and heat for 45-50 seconds. Check and heat again for 15 seconds if it needs more time. Let it stand for 30 seconds before serving.
Vegan Banana Pancakes with Black Sesame Tahini
Black Sesame Paste
- 1/2 cup Raw Black Sesame
- 1 tbsp Maple/Agave Syrup
- 1 tbsp Plant Based Milk
- 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 tbsp Cane Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cardamom Powder
- 2 Medium Ripe Bananas
- 1 cup Light Coconut Milk sub any plant based milk
- 2 tbsp Neutral Oil
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider or White Vinegar
Making Sesame Paste
- Heat a small skillet at medium low and add the sesame seeds. Keep sauteing or gently tossing to ensure the seeds dont burn. Once the seeds are toasted after 3-4 minutes, tunr off the stove and keepa side to cool completely.
- Add the seeds to a spice grinder and pulse it a few times until it completely turns in to a smooth paste. Use a small spatula or spoon to help clear any paste that might get stuck between the blades.
- Take around 5 tsp of this paste and place in a small bowl. Add the agave/maple syrup and mix well until combined. Add the tablespoon of milk to form a runny paste. Store the remaining paste in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Making the pancake batter
- Add all the dry ingedients to a large bowl and mix well to ensure they are well combined. In another smaller bowl, add the bananas and mash them well. Now add the other wet ingrdients and mix well.
- Now add the wet ingredients to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until all ingrdients are just combined. Add slowly add the sesame paste and fold it in gently until you can see streaks of the black sesame paste running through the batter.
- Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan. Add a dollop of vegan butter or a few drops of oil. Pour out around 1/3 cup of batter on to the pan ensuring it is fairly circular in shape.
- Once bubbles stop appearing on the top side surface, flip the pancake and cook the other side. Repeat until all of them are done. Top with any of the mentioned topping suggestions and enjoy!
- The nutritional values provided are only approximate and are not absolute values. They will vary based on brands and ingredients.
- Try using other vegan sweeteners like date syrup, plam or coconut if you want to skip maple/agave.