How to Make Nutrient-Packed Vegetable Pancake Recipes from Around the World

8 min read

Who doesn’t love pancakes? All over the world, people have been making pancakes for millennia — and not just sweet ones. Vegetable-based pancakes lean on local ingredients and flavor preferences and can be a filling, delicious, and fun way to consume some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Here are a few savory pancake recipes to get you started for breakfast or any time of day!

In 2022, archeologists stumbled upon the remains of a 70,000-year-old breakfast. The meal, discovered in a cave in northern Iraq, used complex culinary procedures, including soaking, pounding, and cooking pulse seeds into what appear to have been Paleolithic pancakes.

We have come a long way from those proto-flapjacks to an International House of Pancakes sweet stack dripping with maple syrup and melted butter. But a survey of pancakes from around the world shows that many cultures have retained the savory nature of pancakes.

Many cultures have their own variation of savory pancakes, each with its own unique flavors, ingredients, and traditions. Just a few examples: Koreans enjoy spicy kimchi pancakes; those of Jewish heritage look forward to comforting potato latkes at Chanukah; and Indian cuisine has given the world uttapam, a fermented rice and dal pancake.

And while sweet pancakes are mostly eaten as a breakfast food, vegetable-based and savory pancakes are a fantastic meal choice any time of day. Depending on the recipe, they can serve as a side dish or take center stage as a nutritious meal on their own.

They’re also a delicious — and wonderfully sneaky — way to hide vegetables in meals, especially when you’re trying to nourish children or other picky eaters.

Another plus for pancakes is how quick and easy they are. The shape — flat and round — lends itself to fast and even cooking. And most pancake recipes also don’t typically require a lot of ingredients — although you can add whatever foods you have lying around, as they’re a great way to give leftovers a second life.

So if you have a curious palate and love the ease and pleasure of making pancakes, read on as we explore the savory world of vegetable pancakes. You’ll get ingredient ideas, serving suggestions, storage tips, and seven delicious recipes to try.

Vegetable Pancake Ingredients

Shooting at the studio HAN

Like their sweet cousins, vegetable pancakes start with a batter typically consisting of flour, a binder, a starch, seasoning, vegetables, and — if you want them fluffy — a rising agent.


There are many kinds of flour, which can be made by grinding various grains and seeds. While wheat is the most common in the US and Europe, other grains are more prominent in other parts of the world. Rice and lentils are used in south Indian dosas, and teff is used for Ethiopian injera.

You can also try making some types of pancakes without flour. This typically works best with starchier vegetables such as potatoes.

For tips on choosing the best type of flour for your pancakes, here’s a handy guide.

Egg Substitutes

Cooking vegan flaxseed egg on gray textured background, top view

The binder in pancakes holds everything together. Many cultures use eggs for this purpose, but there are several fine vegan egg alternatives. Flax meal or chia seeds soaked in water, and the liquid from cooked chickpeas (called aquafaba), will approximate eggs while not affecting the flavor of the pancakes. Applesauce also binds, but will probably add some sweetness.

To check out our comprehensive article on vegan substitutions in cooking and baking, click here.


The starch source for your pancakes can come from a starchy whole vegetable, like a potato or sweet potato, corn, winter squash, or bean. Or it can be a powdered ingredient such as potato or corn starch.


Herbs and Spices a vibrant array of colours

Your savory pancake seasonings will depend on the flavor profile you’re going for. In addition to the near-universal salt and black pepper, you can use whatever combination of herbs and spices strikes your fancy, or that the cuisine calls for.

Rising Agents

And if you want fluffy pancakes, a rising agent like baking powder or baking soda will create air bubbles for that pleasing loft.


Rome, Italy -- A view of red and white turnips, carrots and fennel. The traditional Italian cuisine is based on the Mediterranean diet, considered the most balanced and sustainable in the world, composed of natural and fresh and healthy products, including fruit, vegetables and cereals. Image in HD format Beto

You can make vegetable pancakes with almost any type of vegetable you have on hand, so it’s a great strategy for using up leftovers. Common vegetables in savory pancakes include the following:

How to Cook Vegetable Pancakes

The one thing about vegetable pancakes that may not be so healthy is that they are typically pan-fried in vegetable oil. But there are ways around this, if you prefer to avoid fried foods and large quantities of vegetable oil.

You can fry pancakes without oil in a nontoxic, nonstick skillet. You can add a quick spritz of cooking oil spray just to coat the outside of the pancake. You can also avoid the pan altogether and try baking or air-frying pancakes instead.

Serving Suggestions and Storage Tips for Your Pancakes

Crispy Korean Kimchi Pancakes

Depending on what kind of seasoning you use, you may choose to serve vegetable pancakes on their own — especially if they’re more of an appetizer. Hors d’oeuvre pancakes can be smaller than main course ones.

Veggie pancakes also pair well with a side salad or soup for a quick and hearty meal.

And because they’re typically savory, vegetable pancakes also go well with a variety of toppings, dipping sauces, and spreads. You can top them with finely chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, cilantro, parsley, and tarragon.

In place of syrup and butter, you can sauce them up with vegan yogurt or sour cream, applesauce (a traditional accompaniment to potato latkes), or sweet, savory, or spicy dipping sauces.

If you’re looking for dipping sauce ideas, our sauce article has you covered.

For stronger flavors, consider topping your pancakes with pickled vegetables, relish, or chutney. You can spread nut cheese or other vegan cheeses on them. Then decorate the top of your pancakes with lovely seeds (sesame and poppy are great, and will give your pancakes that “everything bagel” vibe).

Vegetable pancakes are best served hot and fresh. If you have leftovers (and that won’t happen very often!), you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can reheat them in an oven or on a griddle or frying pan over low heat. And if you won’t be able to finish them in five days, veggie pancakes will happily hang out in your freezer for up to two months.

Vegetable Pancake Recipes

As you have just learned, vegetable pancakes are a wonderful vehicle to incorporate vegetables, herbs, and spices into a fun savory dish, making them a delicious option to add to your meal or snack rotation. Inspired by culinary traditions from across the globe, these vegetable-rich pancake recipes offer an excellent opportunity to add diverse veggies to your meals. Plus, they add an element of fun to your cooking experience as you experiment with mixing different ingredients, creating textures and flavors from around the world!

1. Spinach Potato Latkes

Latkes are often linked with Jewish holiday celebrations, but these delightful vegetable pancakes can be savored all year long! Common ingredients for latkes are potatoes, onions, matzo meal, eggs, salt, and oil. In our baked version, we enrich the classic savory potato recipe with greens, enhancing its nutritional content. Moreover, we’ve opted for a flax egg instead of a traditional egg. These potato pancakes are a delicious, hearty, and nutrient-packed treat that’s perfect as a snack, side dish, or savory appetizer.

2. Chickpea Scallion Pancake with Kimchi

Drawing inspiration from both Chinese scallion pancakes and Korean Kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes), our Chickpea Scallion Pancakes are a delightful fusion. Created with 100% wholesome, plant-based ingredients, they’re a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and vibrant flavors. Perfect as a savory breakfast option, a delectable snack, or a fulfilling anytime meal with an extra kick, these kimchi pancakes are sure to satisfy your cravings for something uniquely tasty and nutritious.

3. Boxty Potato Pancakes

Boxty Potato Pancakes

Boxty is a simple, savory, and ultra-comforting traditional Irish potato pancake. It’s like a cross between a fluffy pancake and a crispy hash brown. A combination of mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, tangy vegan buttermilk, and whole-food quinoa flour, these light yet hearty pancakes are a humble breakfast offering that is also wonderfully delicious!

4. Potato Onion Bhaji

Potato Onion Bhajis

What is bhaji? It’s a popular Indian snack typically consisting of onions coated in a spiced batter and deep-fried. In our healthier yet equally flavorful version, we’ve retained the aromatic Indian spices and onions but skipped the deep-frying. By spiralizing the onions and potatoes, we’ve transformed this classic vegetable fritter into an enjoyable cooking adventure, making it as entertaining to prepare as it is to devour!

5. Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters offer a delightful mix of nutrition and flavor. These vegetable pancakes are crafted from omega-3-rich flax eggs and packed with the goodness of zucchini, organic oat flour, and a touch of nutritional yeast for a subtle umami flavor. Fresh green onion and dill add an additional burst of flavor and freshness. Accompanied by a creamy, plant-based yogurt sauce with garlic, lemon juice, and a hint of salt, these tantalizing fritters are a harmonious blend of savory and fresh, making for a perfect light meal or appetizer.

6. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki vegetable pancakes

In Japan, okonomiyaki, which translates to “whatever you like,” is a beloved pancake traditionally prepared with a batter of wheat flour, eggs, cabbage, and various proteins. We’ve given these scrumptious vegetable pancakes the plant-based treatment by using chia eggs and organic buckwheat flour for the batter. Enriched with plant-based dashi broth to capture the authentic umami flavor, these pancakes are generously filled with shredded yam, green cabbage, and green onion, and are paired with a delicious zingy and creamy tahini-based sauce that is perfect for dipping. Topped with a dash of coconut aminos, pickled ginger, and gomasio for an extra burst of flavor, this okonomiyaki is a veggie-riffic pancake worth a try!

7. Yachae Jeon

Yachae Jeon

Yachae Jeon, also known as Korean vegetable pancakes, are a delightful and colorful dish. “Yachae” means “vegetables,” and “jeon” refers to a pancake or dish made by pan-frying ingredients in oil. Our version greatly reduces the oil while amplifying the veggies to create a crunchy and slightly crispy pancake made with organic einkorn flour, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms. As the vegetables crisp up in a pan, they become tender and flavorful while retaining a slight crunch, making a hearty yet delicate vegetable pancake that is absolutely delicious!

Try Savory Pancakes to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetable pancakes represent a diverse culinary tradition across many cultures. A cross-cultural deep dive reveals that pancakes don’t have to be sweet — or even include flour. They’re suitable for a wide range of dietary preferences, including plant-based eating, because of their flexibility in terms of ingredients and preparation. Follow one of the pancake recipes included, or try new combinations of ingredients to discover your own favorite versions.

Tell us in the comments:

  • What are your favorite vegetables that could go in pancakes?
  • What culinary traditions from around the world are your favorites? Can you create a pancake inspired by those traditions?
  • Which veggie pancake recipe will you try next?

Featured Image:

Read Next: