Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vanilla-Scented Orange Almond Protein Pancakes

When I was picking up my usual items at Trader Joe's, I slipped a tub of ricotta cheese into my basket. I figured if cottage cheese and yogurt made protein pancakes moist and delicious, why not ricotta cheese? After some experimenting, I finally achieved a great texture using ricotta cheese- and the fresh orange zest and juice were a killer combination in this recipe. And look how pretty they are!

Orange Almond Protein Pancakes


1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese (I used Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup egg beaters
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1/3 an orange (save a little for the topping!)
2 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
2 tablespoons almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon psyllium husk
Truvia and cinnamon to taste


1. Blend the ricotta cheese, egg beaters, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla (I used my Ninja).
2. Mix together the dry ingredients.
3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Place batter by the tablespoon onto the pan. Cook until the edges set and the pancake starts to form bubbles. Flip.
4. Layer with greek yogurt mixed with a little orange juice and Truvia. Top with slivered almonds and orange zest. YUM!

Nutrition Facts (without the filling):  223 Calories, 6 g Fat, 14 g CHO, 6 g Fiber, 27 g Pro (!!)

Fun Fact: New research regarding the calorie content of almonds!!

    Did you hear that whole almonds provide about 20% fewer calories than originally thought? A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a one ounce serving of whole almonds (about 23 almonds) provides 129 calories versus the 160 calories currently listed on the nutrition label. The purpose of the study was to determine the energy value of almonds in the human diet and to compare the measured energy value with the value calculated from Atwater factors. The Atwater system is one of the methods used to calculate the calorie content of foods by assigning nutrients a specific caloric value per gram. For example, carbohydrates and protein both have about four calories per gram, while fat has nine calories per gram.

        Eighteen healthy adults participated in this study which consisted of a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial consisting of three different phases. Each phase was 18 days in length. The participants were administered a controlled diet containing almonds at either either 0  ounces per day, 1.5 ounces per day, or 3 ounces per day. During the last nine days of the study, volunteers collected all urine and feces which were analyzed for macronutrient and energy contents in order to determine the metabolizable energy content of almonds.

        According to the authors of the study, "When an 84 g serving of almonds was incorporated into the diet daily, the energy digestibility of the diet as a whole decreased by ~5%. Therefore, for individuals with energy intakes between 2000 and 3000 kcal/d, incorporation of 84 g of almonds into the diet daily in exchange for highly digestible foods would result in a reduction of available energy of 100-150 kcal/d. With a weight-reduction diet, this deficit could result in more than a pound of weight loss per month."

I have a feeling more studies like this one will follow . . . what other foods have been overestimated?!


Novotny JA, Gebauer SK, Baer DJ. Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012; 96(2):296-301. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.035782.