While coffee might be the American standard when it comes to morning drinks, even the prettiest latte art is hard to beat a mug of frothy, smooth, grassy matcha tea. This bright green beverage offers a unique combination of energy, focus, and relaxation, on top of a distinctive flavor that dresses up, in a latte, or down, straight up, and (nondairy) mylk-free.
I feel similarly affectionate toward pancakes. A food that many of us associate with childhood, innocence, and connection, these humble rounds have the power to transform an ordinary morning into an extraordinary one. While the sky’s the limit in terms of pancake accouterments—from chocolate chips to nuts, syrup to jam, adaptogens to berries to tahini—you can take your pancakes to the next level by adding a scoop of vibrant, healthful matcha powder.
Feeding Your Inner Green Goddess
Besides looking fantastic, there’s good reason to use matcha in foods like these pancakes rather than simply whisking up the traditional beverage. The unique umami flavor of matcha is incredibly adaptable, making it an ideal base mix-in for food like pancakes, which easily absorbs the tastes of whatever you put on it. You still get a good bite of matcha-grassiness in these pancakes, but it’s not so overwhelming that you can’t dress them up however you like. Hence the two varieties of pancakes here—traditional sweet pancakes, and savory pancakes that amp up the umami flavors.
This versatility in flavor makes matcha-enriched foods a great way to connect with your taste buds the Ayurvedic way, where having a variety of the six tastes in our diets is not only how we ensure balanced nutrition, but also balanced emotions. Pairing matcha with other flavors, which is easier to do in food than in a drink, can thus be a way of reconnecting with your ability to truly taste your food as it comes from nature, rather than in our packaged, processed, fortified world. Beyond trendy, this intuitive relationship with food will support the inner goddess wisdom we’ve all been given by nature. And because matcha powder is made of the whole, ground green tea leaf, you’re getting the most complete connection with that plant—her nourishment and her spirit—that you can.
Moreover, eating matcha preserves some of the sacredness of traditional Japanese matcha tea ceremonies, which our culture of loud, bustling, latte-serving cafes has obfuscated. We even use a different variety of matcha for cooking, called “culinary grade” (like Navitas brand), then for tea, called “ceremonial grade” (like Matchaful brand). This is important to note because the latter can be rather pricey, and if you’re using heaps of it in your pancakes, granola, cookies, or other treats, you won’t want to waste that precious resource.
Whether you sip it or chew it, matcha is worth exploring for its incredible list of health benefits that rival those of turmeric. The combination of caffeine (matcha has about ⅕ the amount of caffeine in coffee) with the stress-reducing amino acid L-Theanine means it will boost stimulation to the brain (like our friend Lion’s Mane) in a slow, jitter-free fashion. That gorgeous green color comes from chlorophyll, the stuff that helps plants eat the sun; and when we humans consume it, it helps support oxidation, clear skin, circulation, and inflammation. In other words, all the things that make you feel and look beautiful, inside and out.
If you’re looking for a way to add a bit of goddess power to your daily greens, serve up some matcha at your next meal and get glowing!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8-9 pancakes
2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons warm water
1 cup almond mylk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional, for sweet variety)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted; plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons culinary-grade matcha powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Sweet toppings: Maple syrup, raw honey, tahini, dried rose petals, cacao nibs, jam or preserves
Savory toppings: Balsamic reduction, miso butter, wakame seaweed, avocado slices, parsley or cilantro
- In a small bowl, mix the flax meal and water and let stand for 5 minutes to gel. Add the almond mylk, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup (if using), and coconut oil. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, matcha, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Whisk slowly and thoroughly, until the matcha is evenly incorporated.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix slowly to make a smooth, pourable batter.
- Place a dollop (about ½ teaspoon) of coconut oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. When the oil is melted, swirl it around the pan to coat it evenly. Use a quarter-cup measuring cup to scoop out the batter into rounds on the pan, leaving enough space around each pancake that they don’t spill into each other. When the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble, carefully use a spatula to flip them over, then cook until both sides are firm and slightly golden. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
- While you’re cooking, keep the pancakes on a plate in the oven on 200 degrees, or cover them with aluminum foil.
- Serve warm with your choice of toppings—savory or sweet; breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!