Did you ever buy some ingredient that you thought was good for you? You know what I'm talking about. Oat bran, flax, amaranth, wheat germ, teff, spelt, millet. It sounded like a good idea when you purchased it. You might even have bought it for a specific recipe. But then the inevitable. It sits in your pantry or fridge or maybe even the freezer. Then one day you are cleaning out the shelves and you come upon it. If you're lucky, it still has the label on it. Otherwise out it goes!
My weakness seems to be flax meal. I have bought it several times. I don't use it very often so I forget that I have it and I buy it again. Oops. Fortunately flax is pretty easy to use if you put your mind to it.
Flax is a seed that can be ground into meal for better digestion. It is very healthy, containing calcium, niacin, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin E. It is also rich in fiber, antioxidant lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. It has a pleasant nutty flavor and a mucilaginous texture akin to eggs that make it a perfect ingredient when you are trying to replace eggs in a recipe. Most often I add it to granola. But I've also used it in muffins and other baked goods.
But here's the best thing to do with flax meal. Make pancakes! I'm rarely satisfied with my pancake recipes and tweak them endlessly but this one is just perfect. This recipe could easily go vegan if you replace the regular milk with soy or rice milk. The nutty flavor of flax, just a bit, compliments the bananas and walnuts. And best of all, if you happen to have a bag of flax on hand, now you know what to do with it.
Banana Walnut Pancakes
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon white flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed or flax meal
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons mild flavored oil (rice bran, canola, grapeseed)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (about 3/4 cup) chopped and mushed up ripe banana
1/4-1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. In small bowl, combine liquid ingredients and add to the dry, mix well. Heat griddle or large skillet to medium heat. Using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, cook on one side until bubbly, then flip and cook until done. Top with toasted walnuts.