The pancake recipe you will fall in love with. † † beets

The pancake recipe you will fall in love with.  †  †  beets

“Only soft food for the first few days,” advised the oral surgeon. ‘Smoothies. Yogurt. And when you’re done, pancakes.’

My daughter groaned a long, gill-dipped moan. “Ohhhhh,” she muttered, “I like pancakes. My mom makes pancakes for me.”

My youngest daughter is way past the age of tea parties and tutus. She turned 18 last winter and is going to college in the fall. Yet she remains a lover of all things fluffy and pink. So after she had her wisdom teeth removed, I wanted to treat her to something special for her recovery.

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Author and illustrator Erin Gleeson’s nice new book “The Forest Feast Road Trip” is full of intoxicating inspiration for cooking – and dining – and even when you’re far from home. The easy vegetarian recipes inspired by her California travels include spaghetti squash taquitos and sticky date almond sundaes.

The book offers a fresh take on eating like a local wherever you plant yourself as we collectively make our way back to wander. But don’t let the premise stop you from whipping up vibrant meals like Gleeson’s Curry Cauliflower Salad in the comfort of your own kitchen.

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As an avid fan of off-label uses of pancake mix, I was especially pleased with her easy, pink-tinged upgrade from a much-loved breakfast classic.

“Pancake mix was one of the things we used to travel a lot with on road trips,” Gleeson told me during a recent Zoom conversation. “When you travel, you want a hearty breakfast, and pancakes feel a little special. I like to use beets because I always try to get as much color on the table as possible and get as many veggies in as possible. It’s just a fun way to introduce some color and nutrition.”

You don’t have to like pink, or frankly even beets, to be a fan of these beauties. (That said, I’ll never understand the anti-beet sentiment.) Pancakes sometimes tend to turn up saccharin, but the natural, plant-based sugars in beets add some balance to that sweetness. Since I like to go all in on delicate things, I made mine the size of a silver dollar, but you do that here. They are beautiful – and just as tasty as they are beautiful.

Recipe: Beautiful in pink pancakes
Inspired by Erin Gleeson’s “The Forest Feast Road Trip”


  • 1 portion all-in-one pancake mixprepared for directions
  • 1 small beetroot, diced, or small can of cooked beets

Travel directions

  1. Pour the beetroot and pancake batter in a blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile heat a medium frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with oil.
  3. Spoon the batter into the pan a few times tablespoons at the same time. After about a minute, when bubbles begin to form and break on the surface, flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so.
  4. Serve immediately with butter and syrup, plus plenty of bacon, if you feel like it.

Chef’s Notes

When it comes to pancake mix, I’m a fool for it Bisquick’s Shake ‘n Pour

Ina Garten’s method of roasting bacon in the oven on a baking sheet will change your life.

You can swap the beets for a variety of other vegetables, including shredded carrots or zucchini. They would be just as tasty if they were less eye-catching.

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