With pancake day fast approaching, supermarket shelves are emptying of maple syrup, lemon, sugar, whipped cream and fresh berries in anticipation, but what about those who don’t don’t have a sweet tooth? Is there an alternative to pancake day toppings that doesn’t involve large amounts of sugar?
These are the questions I set out to answer. I took the internet – but had trouble finding many recipes.
There were lots of savory pancake recipes, but very few offered suggestions for savory fillings. Eventually I managed to put together five recipes and headed to Aldi to pick up the ingredients.
I’m usually a lemon juice and sugar pancake eater myself, but I would also say that I prefer salty to sweet, so I was intrigued by how the different toppings would pair with the pancakes. I imagined they would do more of a brunch than any other meal.
I opted for bacon, chorizo and avocado, a pizza pancake made with passata, cheese and avocado, salmon and cream cheese, garlic mushrooms and of cream cheese. I also grabbed a few little scotch pancakes for ease, so I didn’t have to worry about making my own for the test.
All five pancakes took a while to prepare – due to the fact that I had to cook/chop/assemble five different sets of ingredients, but I imagine if you were sticking to one for multiple pancakes it would only take not half the time. Here’s what I thought:
Chorizo and avocado
I mashed up a ripe avocado and added a drizzle of oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes, then lathered a thick layer on my pancake. I chopped and quartered several slices of chorizo and added them on top, and voila.
Although it seemed wrong to eat the avocado on what would be a pancake of the day pancake, chorizo and avocado are a combination that never fails. The hint of chorizo spice pierces the avocado and makes for a delicious bite.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese
Smoked salmon and cream cheese go together like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, and mac and cheese. I used Aldi salmon and cream cheese and the combination was delicious.
The cream cheese really helped lift the salmon and bring the salmon and pancake together. Plus, there was no baking, which made it even easier to put together.
Garlic mushrooms and cream cheese
The recipe I saw online was for Garlic Mushrooms and Brie, which I imagine would be just as delicious, but I paired it with cream cheese because I had some in the fridge . I simply heat some oil in a pan, fry the mushrooms until golden brown and add chopped garlic and chili flakes for about a minute.
I’m not usually a big fan of mushrooms, but these were absolutely delicious and kept me coming back for more.
Remember that Tiktok trend during the height of lockdown where people were making pizza out of tortillas, banging on some passata and shredded cheese and putting it under the broiler? Yes, it’s basically that, but with a crepe and added oregano.
The oregano is pretty crucial, because it’s that herbal taste that makes the pancake feel like pizza. Just be sure to watch it in the oven, as I admit to burning mine.
It was still tasty.
My first thought when I looked at the savory pancake toppings was bacon and maple syrup, until I had the light bulb moment that maple syrup isn’t tasty. I was sure bacon should be on my list of savory toppings, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
So, I just put two slices on a pancake and ate it like that. It worked and was tasty – you can’t go wrong with a pancake and bacon.
However, it could have been done with a sauce or spread to bind it. In hindsight, maybe chili jam or something would have done the trick.
After tasting all five pancakes, as you can imagine, I had to roll over my laptop to type this. Salty fillings are certainly heavy on the stomach, but of course much less cloying.
Savory toppings would be great for breakfast pancakes or as a main dish, but not for dessert. If this is when you typically eat pancakes, you’re better off sticking to sweet toppings like sugar and lemon or fresh berries and cream.
My favorite topping was probably the salmon and cream cheese – an age-old combo that never fails, but I loved them all.