Why these Quinoa Pumpkin Protein Pancakes Rock

Runners should love pancakes.

They are delicious and when made healthy, can be the perfect post long-run meal. Unlike Mitch Hedberg, I’m excited about pancakes from start to finish (if you get that reference, leave a comment below). Flapjack Five Friday was co-created out of this love.

Cleaning out the cupboard last weekend, we found a can of pumpkin and some quinoa flour I bought for these amazing brownies. My wife wanted to use the pumpkin for pancakes. As the official pancake maker in our house, I decided to figure out how to make protein quinoa pumpkin pancakes that would suffice for a high protein breakfast and totally rock in taste. Doing so would turn this carb-heavy meal into a more balanced recovery meal that we could all enjoy.

Here’s what happened.


  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa flour (use whole wheat flour for a more traditional pancake taste)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 huge scoop protein powder (any will do, but I prefer Garden of Life Raw)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cup soy milk (or whatever kind of milk you drink. Add more to get desired consistency)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin (ideally NOT pumpkin pie filling, but that’s what we had on hand)


One of the reasons why I love pancakes is because they are ridiculously easy to make.

  • Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
  • Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
  • Mix both together
  • Cook
  • Eat

Makes about 12 – 15 medium sized pancakes.

Nutritional Value

In total, there was approximately 52g of protein in the whole batch, which breaks down to about 22g of protein per serving (or 4g per medium sized pancake). I didn’t calculate calories, but after 14 miles, I’m more concerned about getting enough back in.

Pumpkin is surprisingly good for you too. It boasts these four great health benefits.

  • Source of Healthy Fats (in the seeds, which I didn’t use, but wanted to include so you would know)
  • Rich in Beta-Carotene
  • High in Inflammatory Reducing Beta-Cryptoxanthin
  • Loaded with Potassium

You’ll also notice there was no added sugar. Traditional pancakes have lots of added sugar, which when combined with the drenching of syrup, makes it not healthy.

How They Turned Out

I’m biased, but they tasted delicious! Although the quinoa flour gave them a more “earthy” taste that masked the pumpkin a bit, they were awesome. I also enjoy the fact that I can make one big batch on Sunday, and eat pancakes for a few days. This is a great way to save some time in the morning.

Serving Suggestions

Cut fresh fruit is a great addition to any meal, but particularly pancakes. Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc all make great toppings to the pancakes. When possible, try to use real maple syrup that comes from a tree and doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. It’s better for you. Although it’s still sugar, it’s real and tastes a whole lot better (plus you don’t need to use as much – but I do).

I could have also added about 2 tbsp of chia seeds to give it ever more of a power punch.

Your Pancakes

What is your favorite pancake recipe?

Nathan Freeburg
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Nathan Freeburg

Editor in Chief at Minneapolis Running
Nathan started running when he was 14. 20+ years later, he's still going. When he's not running, he enjoys exploring the city with his son, finding new restaurants with his wife, traveling, or backpacking. He loves dark beer, dark chocolate and dark coffee.

Nathan currently lives in Portland, but works in Minneapolis and runs wherever he is. Favorite Minnesota running route is anything that takes him along the Mississippi River.
Race Results.

Nathan's day job is as a senior consultant with Leadership Vision Consulting in Downtown Minneapolis.
Nathan Freeburg
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