I found out that today is National Pancake Day and of course, I needed to come up with a fun pancake recipe to celebrate such a great breakfast staple! I love making healthy pancakes, and I was missing Minnesota a bit extra this weekend, so I thought I’d make some very Minnesotan pancakes using wild rice, Honeycrisp apples, and blueberries!!
Wild rice is our state grain, and it is so delicious and I rarely ever see it served outside of Minnesota. It is native to central and northern Minnesota lakes and Minnesota produces about 80% of all natural wild rice. The Ojibwe people cultivated it and its cultivation forms an important aspect of their culture; many places in Minnesota are named after the Ojibwe name for wild rice, which is mahnomin or manoomin (there are variations on spelling). I learned about that in elementary school, and always thought it was very cool to have such a unique food in my state!
So I guess you could say we are known for our Minnesota nice, and our Minnesota rice!! (hehe)
Often, people outside of Minnesota don’t quite know how to make it, so they undercook it and it’s super crunchy and then people don’t like it! So I am here to tell you the proper way to cook wild rice, which you can enjoy in many different dishes as well as these pancakes! The trick is to soak the wild rice overnight before cooking so that it softens and then cooks faster - otherwise it can take hours to cook thoroughly. Wild rice has so much flavor even on its own, and it pairs great with maple syrup and berries for a sweet take, or you can serve it with chopped cooked celery or other vegetables and some balsamic (or almost anything really) for a savory take. I paired some with Greek yogurt, blueberries, tahini, and cinnamon for breakfast and it was delicious - see picture below! You could also add wild rice to overnight or stovetop oats, which I plan to try later this week.
I added Honeycrisp apple because it is our state fruit - it was developed by the University of Minnesota as part of their horticultural research program, and is now one of the most popular apples! They come up with cool, new apple varieties pretty regularly. I also added blueberries because they are also very Minnesotan since wild blueberries grow in Minnesota and they are so delicious - the blueberry muffin is our state muffin! Sadly, I did not have any Minnesota maple syrup; fresh maple syrup always tastes so amazing and my brother actually made some in his plant physiology class last year! But I did have honey made from my family’s bees back home, so I used 1 tbsp of that and 2 tbsp of maple syrup because I thought the maple syrup taste was important for this, but wanted that extra taste of home from the honey.
Anyways, even if you don’t have as much Minnesota pride as I do, you will still love these pancakes! They have great flavor and are quite easy to make! The longest part is making the rice, which I must admit takes more time than other rice, but it is worth it. These are vegan, however, you can substitute regular eggs and milk to make these not vegan if you wish, and could use gluten-free all-purpose flour for a gluten-free option. For these pancakes, you want to make the batter without the rice first so you can evenly mix everything, then fold in the rice. The pancake batter without the rice and fruit is actually a great simple plain pancake recipe on its own!
Makes 12-15 pancakes
¾ cup cooked wild rice - I got mine from Minnesota, which in my (slightly) biased opinion is best! You can probably find it online too.
1 ½ cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp water, set in fridge to thicken)
1 ½ cup milk (I used oat milk)
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splash almond extract (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash of: nutmeg, allspice (optional, but add great flavor)
1 tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup chopped Honeycrisp apple
Toppings: blueberries, Honeycrisp apple, maple syrup
1. To cook wild rice most efficiently, soak it overnight in water. You can use a large tupperware or put it in the pot you plan to cook it in, cover it, and just leave it out.
2. After soaking overnight, bring the water to a boil, and cook the rice until most of the grains curl and split open, stirring often. It will take around 40 minutes, but your patience will be worth it!
3. Once most of the rice has split open and the water starts to be mostly absorbed, bring the heat down to a simmer. Continue stirring to avoid burning the rice.
4. Once the water has all absorbed, remove from the heat and let cool.
5. Prepare your flax egg and let it set in the fridge.
6. Mix all pancake batter ingredients together until smooth - EXCEPT the wild rice and fruit. This makes a great pancake batter by itself as well!
7. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and add oil.
8. Fold in the wild rice, then the blueberries and apple chunks, to the pancake batter.
9. Pour batter onto the skillet and cook until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side.
10. Let pancakes cool and enjoy with more blueberries, apples, and maple syrup and a side of some good ole Minnesota nice! I also added Greek yogurt and almond butter to some, which was tasty!