Monday, March 19, 2012

Polenta Pancakes with Cilantro Pesto

These pancakes make a great savory weekend brunch.  The cakes are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, and the pesto adds bite.  The pesto can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge in an airtight container, but give it time to warm back up to room temperature before serving. This recipe makes about 7 pancakes, and you'll probably have some pesto left over.

The Ingredients:
1 large bunch cilantro, bottom 1-2 inches of stem removed (about 2 cups packed)
3/4 c walnuts
2-3 cloves garlic
1/3-1/2 c olive oil
3 T nutritional yeast
1 T + 1 t lime juice
1 T rice vinegar
1 T agave nectar
1/2 t paprika

1 c cornmeal
1 c boiling water
1/2 c corn flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c almond milk
2 T olive oil, plus more for cooking
3/4 c corn kernels, fresh or frozen

The Process:

For Pesto:
  1. Peel garlic, and toast garlic and walnuts over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent nuts from burning.
  2. Combine  all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are well-combined but still distinct, scraping down the sides and adding more oil as necessary.  Store in an airtight container or cover tightly until ready to serve.
For Pancakes:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal and boiling water to make a soft dough.  Cover tightly and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk baking powder and salt into corn flour.
  3. Vigorously whisk corn flour mixture, almond milk, and oil into cornmeal until smooth.  Whisk in corn kernels.
  4. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Coat with oil to prevent pancakes from sticking.  Scoop 1/2 cup batter for each pancake onto the skillet.  Allow to cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes, then turn and continue cooking until golden on both sides, about 2 more minutes.  (If making more than a single batch, keep finished pancakes warm in a 200° oven.)
  5. Top pancakes with cilantro pesto and serve. 


  1. Hi do you think this batter will keep in the refridgerator and for how long?

  2. I expect the batter would keep in the fridge for a few days, though you may have to add a pinch more baking powder before using it. The cooked pancakes also keep well and can be reheated in a skillet or toaster oven.


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