The Gluten Free Ratio Rally – Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup

by Irvin on March 2, 2011 · 60 comments

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So lets talk Pancakes. Yesterday was National Pancake Day and I’m not sure who or what organization deemed March 1st as a day to eat pancakes, but I’m not going to complain as I love homemade pancakes. So, when Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl pinged me, along with a number of gluten free bloggers (yeah yeah, I’m not really a gluten free blogger, but more on that later) to see if we wanted to participate in a new project – The Gluten Free Ratio Rally, with the first project being pancakes, I was totally for it. My result: Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup.

Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup

Gluten free pancakes have come a long way. Growing up I ate the requisite Bisquick pancakes that my mom made with Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. Nowadays Bisquick has a gluten free box mix and Bob’s Red Mill also has a gluten free pancake mix. I’m sure they’ll do in a pinch.

But I’m not one for prepackaged mixes anymore. I’m a little bit older and a little bit more sophisticated with my food. And, in truth, it takes an extra ten minutes to make them from scratch. Ten minutes and the pancakes are ten times as good. True story.

Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup

But I have a confession to make. And you should already know this. I’m not gluten free. In fact I love bread, the kind that is made with wheat flour. The kind that gluten intolerant, gluten allergic, wheat allergic and celiac people can’t eat. But I have a few friends (and a few readers – but I count you all as my friends as well) who are gluten free or wheat allergic so I was thrilled to be a part of inaugural group for the Gluten Free Ratio Rally project.


Amazing logo by Anile Prakash

What is this rally? Each month we’ll be working on an item that uses standard ratios for the item. This month is pancakes, hosted by Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl and the ratio most people worked with is based off of Michael Rulhman’s ratio for pancakes 4 – 4 – 2 –1. Four parts flour, four parts liquid, two parts eggs, one part fat. In baking percentages that would be 100% flour, 100% liquid 50% eggs and 25% fat.

Michael Ruhlman's Ratio

Now ratios sounds scary (ooh math!) but they aren’t. There’s super easy. Think about it. With the ratio, if you use 100 grams of flour, then you’ll use 100 grams of liquid, 50 grams of eggs, and 25 grams of fat. You can scale it up or down when you need to. Making pancakes for yourself? Make a small batch. Hosting a huge brunch? Scale it up. No more being tied down to a recipe, you can make your own on the fly.

And here’s the best part, ratios work with gluten free flours too. Sure you have to add a binder because of the lack of gluten (xanthan gum, guar gum if you like, or flax meal seed or chia seed if you want to stay more natural and gums don’t play well with your system) but the ratio is the same.


Binders for Gluten Free Baking - xanthan gum, chia seed, guar gum, flax meal

Of course, anyone that has visited Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl or who’ve just googled or visited any number of gluten free blogs out there, knows that people who can’t eat gluten are not want for good food. In fact there is SO much good food that is naturally gluten free that sometimes I wonder why I bother to make “substitution” gluten free food for people. I’m of the camp that if you are vegetarian, don’t bother with the “soy bacon” just go and eat a pancakes for breakfast. But I realize that some people just miss what they can’t have.

Which is why I love to make food for my celiac/vegan/kosher/allergic whatever friends. The idea that I can make something for those people and they can eat it and look at me in wonder, saying “This is so good!” is music to my ears. Not “This is so good for gluten free!” or “This is so good for vegan!” but just plain “This is so good!”

Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup

That’s what I want to hear. That’s what EVERYONE wants to hear when they make food. No one wants to hear a compliment that comes with a condition. When you hear “This is so good for gluten free!” what that really means is “Most gluten free food I’ve had tastes like crap but this is actually passable. So I am going to compliment you on it!” Or at least that is what I hear.

I strive for “This is so good!” No conditions, no backhanded compliments. And when Shauna asked me to be part of the initial group for the Gluten Free Ratio Ralley, I was honored to be included, even if I was one of the few (perhaps the only one?) in the group that could eat gluten.

Shauna, of course, has dubbed me “honorary gluten free” and I take that badge with pride. And these pancakes? When I made them, AJ took one bite, looked at me and said “Now those. Those I would eat a whole plate of. Those are so good.”

Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes with Rosemary infused Maple Syrup

The Gluten Free Ratio Rally has some awesome people involved. Check out this list of amazing posts and what everyone came up with using the basic ratio.

Tara at A Baking Life made Whole Grain Supper Pancakes
Lauren at Celiac Teen made Whole Grain, Egg Free, Vegan Convertible Pancakes
Karen at Cooking Gluten-Free made MultiBlend Gluten Free Pancakes
Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries made Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes with Maple Icing
Lisa at Gluten Free Canteen made Potato Pancakes
Britt at GF in the City made Teff Spice Pancakes
Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made Whole Grain Gluten Free Pancakes
Kate at Gluten-Free Gobsmacked made Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes
Jenn at Jenn Cuisine made Hazelnut/Coconut Pancakes
Erin at The Sensitive Epicure made Oatmeal Buckwheat Pancakes with Bananas
Carol at Simply Gluten-Free made Maple Oat Bacon Pancakes

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol, Simply...Gluten-free March 2, 2011 at 5:25 am

Oh my! These look and sound amazing! Great combination of flavors.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Why thank you! They turned our great. First time making gluten free pancakes too!


Britt March 2, 2011 at 7:22 am

Shauna deserves props for inducting you as an honorary g-freer. These pancakes look fantastic!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Yay! I’m honored and pleased to be included with such a great group of people!


Lisa March 2, 2011 at 7:51 am

looks fabulous, Irvin.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Thank you Lisa!


shauna March 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

There are so many reasons I adore you. The fact that you participated in this, even though you can eat gluten, is one. (I think pancakes are better without gluten, by the way.) This incredible recipe is another.

And this sentence: “Slightly woodsy and herby, it’s the arty reserved kid sister of amaranth flour, sitting in the back of the room, wearing all black looking nerdy chic in her big chunky glasses.”

Oh, you rock. Thank you!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm

LOL. I had WAY too much fun writing that sentence. It started out with “arty kid sister,” and then evolved, with me adding more and more descriptive clauses.

Sort of like these pancakes. I started out with a lot of lemons and just kept on building. I had to finally stop myself from adding more flavors and spices!


Cathy @What Would Cathy Eat? March 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

I have never tried gluten-free pancakes, but I sure will now! I will substitute a heart-healthy oil for the butter and hope that doesn’t hurt the end result.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

It shouldn’t. In fact the next time I make these, I think I might substitute olive oil for the butter. I imagine that a really good fruity or spicy extra virgin olive oil would be wonderful in this recipe.


Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat? March 3, 2011 at 5:13 am

Thanks, Irvin. I’ve had pretty good luck baking with a high quality oil such as organic canola oil or high-oleic safflower oil. And someone recently made me a lemon olive oil cake that was lovely. I prefer using pure oils to the vegan fake butter or shortening stuff.


Jenn March 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’m so happy you are an honorary gluten free-r! Lovely pancakes, and such a great idea infusing the maple syrup. So wonderful to have you as part of the group!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I’m so happy to be a part of the group! And the maple syrup infusion wasn’t my original idea. I blatantly stole it from the restaurant O Bar like I said in the recipe header. But it sure is good!


merri March 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Ya I think its funny when ppl use bisquick to make their pancakes. It only takes literally a minute more to make them from scratch (maybe a lot minutes more with your recipe here, but I’m saying for basic recipe) and it tastes a BILLION times better! I do not eat bisquick pancakes anymore bleh. Hmm a sugarless pancake recipe… when jesse’s home, we’ve been making the regular pancake/waffle recipes and just substituting splenda in, since there’s only almost none. You cant taste the diff when it’s a really small amount of splenda substituted for sugar (only when it gets into cup amounts). I had to read your recipe twice in order to understand it..all those substitutions and ratios…if I try this I think I’ll just do the regular flour for the cornstarch, potato starch & oat flour thing, just to buy less ingredients. I put up pancake recipes on my tantalizing tidbits blog yesterday too, cornmeal recipes. Yum. But theyre not gluten free and yes they even have sugar.. yours look very tasty tho!!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Not only that but bisquick is EXPENSIVE! Those premixed boxes are just flour, baking powder and some sugar. It’s hard to make your own and it’s tons better.

As for sugarless pancakes, you guys are kinda cheating a little with what you call sugar, so the honey that I used might count at sugarless depending on how you define sugar. Or you could just leave it out all together.

And I apologize if my recipe seemed confusing. I was just trying to explain that you can substitute out different things, as long as the ratio is the same. So, yes, just use all purpose regular flour instead of the corn starch and stuff. It should still work.


Erin Swing March 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

OMG. Seriously? I have to make these. They sound entirely too good not to. What an incredible flavor combination.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Thanks you Erin! Let me know what you think of them and how they turn out!


Brian @ A Thought For Food March 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Despite my love for quinoa, I have yet to bake with it. That may have to change soon… because these pancakes look heavenly!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I actually rarely eat quinoa. I don’t know why. But lately I’ve been baking with the flour a lot. It’s lovely. I’ve been playing with amaranth flour too, but it’s very assertive and strong. I have yet to master it. But quinoa, it’s lovely.


Tara March 3, 2011 at 6:32 am

Here’s a funny thing about amaranth: the first batch of pancakes I made for the rally had 1 oz of amaranth in them. Both Josh and I agreed that the flavor was SO nutty that it tasted like there was peanut butter in the batter! (And not in a good way.) I cut it down to 1/2 oz, and the flavor slipped into the background. Still nutty, and a little earthy, but not assertive at all, and a great compliment for the other flours in the recipe. Josh LOVED them, whereas he was barely tolerant of that first batch! It’s all about the balance of flavors with the other grains. You’ll master it soon, I have no doubt.


Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

What a wonderful post. I am not gluten free but I am baking challenged, which I frequently write about in my blog. Your insightful and entertaining explanations motivate me to keep working on my “from scratch” techniques. We love pancakes in our house but I must admit that my pancakes from scratch are not always perfect. I feel armed with the tools to figure out why! And this combo of flavors. OMG! I agree that olive oil might be a great sub for butter here with the lemon and rosemary. And thanks for yet another way to use up my unending supply of meyer lemons 🙂


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Did you say unending supply of Meyer lemons?!?! Hello. You are now my new best friend. Next time you come up to the city, please bring some of them! I will gladly swap some of my unending supply of regular Eureka lemons that I have for those Meyer lemons.

And yes, I hope my explanations helped! Feel free to stop by if you have any more questions. Pancakes from scratch are so great!


Tara March 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I completely agree about wanting to make gf food that people love and compliment without conditions. It’s my goal, every time. And I love you because you don’t even need to eat gf, yet you make sure your gf creations elicit that same response. Awesome. Your pancakes look perfect. Someday, let’s make pancakes together, ok?

And that line that Shauna quoted? It’s convinced me to grind up some of my quinoa flakes to play with. Nicely done.

Give my compliments to AJ – I’m loving his food photography skills!


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I would ABSOLUTELY love to make pancakes together! Definitely. And yes, if I am going to make food, I want it to be good period. Not good conditionally. That goes for all food, gluten free, vegan, healthy living etc. Good.

And yes, you should definitely grind some quinoa to play with! Try toasting them by heating them in a nonstick frying pan until they get lightly golden and start to pop a little. This will dry them out, making them easier to grind AND make them a little nutty. Then cool them and grind them up.


Karen Robertson March 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I loved the first paragraph within the recipe about sister Quinoa. I have always had less affinity for her than the other GF Flours. Now I have to try the recipe and put her on a pedestal, thank you.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Please do! She deserves to have her time in the spotlight. I will say that I’m still trying to tame amaranth, but I’ll get to her as well. But quinoa, she’s now my friend.


Eileen Dailey March 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm

You are a very lovely man and I am totally blown away by your talent and creativity. I so appreciate that you are so kind to come up with gluten free recipes, but I would read your blog no matter what. Kudos to Shauna for recruiting you! It’s a win/win : ) I cannot wait to make these.


Irvin March 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Why thank you so much! That is a lovely compliment! I develop my recipes because I love to make food for everyone, regardless of whether or not they have specific dietary issues. Everyone should be able to enjoy themselves when they eat.

And yes, Shauna is wonderful. We all love her!


justcooknyc March 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

infusing your own syrup? you always take things to amazing heights. these pancakes look awesome, by the way. i love this whole gluten-free initiative that Shauna is doing.


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 12:07 am

LOL. I guess Rosemary infused Maple Syrup does sound fancy pants, but really it’s boiled maple syrup with a couple of sprigs of rosemary in it. Not quite as fancy sounding. But thank you!

And yes, the whole gluten free initiative by Shauna is awesome. I love her!


Marta Roballo March 3, 2011 at 2:26 am

I really really like your blog, just ended up here by accident! Everything looks soooo good and tasty! Would it be okay if i posted some of the recipes in my blog? 🙂



Irvin March 4, 2011 at 12:20 am

Hi Marta! Thanks for stopping by but I’d prefer if you just linked to my recipes as opposed to copying them for your blog. But I appreciate you asking!


Lauren March 3, 2011 at 6:55 am

I completely agree – I’m always looking for a response without any conditions. If it’s great though, it’s great, and I can tell that these are. Quinoa is one of my favourite flours to play with, and with cornmeal? These will be gone in a hurry. I’m so glad that you’re a part of this. Honorary gluten-free indeed you are! I’ll echo Tara and say that we’ll have to bake together one day :).


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Yes! I’d love to bake together someday. It was so sad that we met so briefly at BlogHer Food and barely had a chance to say hello to each other! I say we have a big gluten free rally in real life and bake together. All of us…


Shila March 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

Is it acceptable to have pancakes for lunch?

If so, I will be found in the kitchen whipping up a batch of these (or a batch inspired by these based on what I have) for lunch. Yum.

Also your posts are a pleasure to read. Truly. So much good stuff on a page.


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm

It is acceptable to have pancakes breakfast, lunch or dinner, in my book! And thank you so much! I can’t wait to make marmalade with you next week!


Charissa March 3, 2011 at 11:21 am

Pancakes…be still my heart! These do not look gluten free…they look amazing! Great job!


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Thank you so much! If you make them, you won’t miss the gluten at all. And the quinoa, oat and flax meal in the pancakes definitely make it healthier than your average pancakes.


Linda March 3, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thanks for Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes recipe. Its always my favorite. I also like to try different kinds like Socca (Vegan, Gluten-Free French Pancake), delicious like your Quinoa Cornmeal Lemon Honey Pancakes, try it out at


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

You socca sounds lovely! I rarely use garbanzo or fava bean flour as they tend to taste to beany to me, but the idea of a savory pancake, perhaps one flavored with either Indian spices or rosemary and onion sound wonderful with the chickpea flour. Thanks for stopping by!


Kirsten March 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Oh, am i ever glad I found you again. These are going on my must try list. Yummy 🙂


Irvin March 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Oh hello stranger! I’m glad you found me again too. Do try them and let me know what you think. Welcome back!


Nicole March 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm

These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them. I’m enjoying reading your blog, will you be making more gluten free recipes??? please??


Irvin March 4, 2011 at 12:32 am

Oh absolutely! I bake gluten free fairly often in fact. You can check my recipe index and see that there are a number of gluten free recipes that I have developed or adapted. In fact, my previous post – which was part of the Daring Bakers’ Challenge was gluten free as well!


Kate March 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Irwin –
I have been back to read your recipe and your post at least four times now. That rosemary-infused maple syrup has my tastebuds in complete CURIOSITY. I *must* make this recipe soon. Thank you SO much for sharing your talents with the GF world. 🙂

And…um…. you have the most fantastic “about the author” photo I have ever laid eyes upon. 😀 Thank you for making my heart smile & my tastebuds sing.


Irvin March 4, 2011 at 12:37 am

Thank you Kate! I love that you have visited and read my post four times! SO awesome! Do make the rosemary infused syrup and tell me what you think. I was totally enchanted with it when I had it in the restaurant YEARS ago that it has stayed in my mind ever since. I was so happy when I figured out how to replicate it, and in such an easy way!

And yes, that “about the author photo” is pretty ridiculous is it not? You can credit my partner AJ for that one.


Dana March 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I’m eating these for dinner right now and they are fantastic! I love the flavor combination of the quinoa and cornmeal with the rosemary maple syrup.

I’m allergic to eggs and dairy, too, so I used cashew milk with a little apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk, canola oil for the butter, and Ener-G egg replacer for the eggs. They still turned out lovely and fluffy.



melanie April 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

Hi Irwin,

I’ve been nursing a deep desire for pancakes ever since I read all of the lovely offerings for the pancake rally a month ago. Last night, I finally could not stand it a moment longer… I started with your recipe as a template, removed the lemon (not sure if my boys would go for that) and veganized it. Here’s a link to what I came up with:

OMG! they were so so good! I’d not made pancakes since going g-free, these are pancakes to love forever. I use the quinoa + corn combo in many applications.

Question for you: what is the purpose of the 30 grams of flax meal in your recipe? Since I already had so much flax meal (sub for the eggs) in my version, I decided to add almond flour…

Love your site, I’ll be spending time here in the future. blessings!


Irvin April 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hi Melanie!

I’m pleased you loved them. Your versions sounds great, and vegan too! Almond flour sounds like a great addition.

The flax meal was added for the nutty flavor, the nutrition, and as a faux gluten binder. Not that you probably need much binding in pancakes (the eggs probably would have been enough) but since I was using gluten free flours, I wanted to make sure the pancakes didn’t crumble apart.


Rita June 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm

“it takes an extra ten minutes to make them from scratch. Ten minutes and the pancakes are ten times as good. True story.”

I heart your writing. These look absolutely, unconditionally delicious.


Kristyn May 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

i hate the taste of flax and i can taste it in even the smallest amounts…could i eliminate it or sub chia?


Irvin May 7, 2012 at 2:51 am

So I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what would happen. The flax meal is there to help bind the pancakes together, so my guess is that you shouldn’t eliminate it, but instead substitute in chia seeds.

That said, I haven’t tested it, so I can’t guarantee it’ll work. I love working with chia seeds, but not with light colored batters (I usually use it in chocolate or other dark colored batters). In light colored batters, the chia seeds look like little bugs in the batter and it creeps me out. That said, you can certainly grind them up before adding them (which might darken the batter a bit) or add a couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds to hide the chia seeds.

Either way, let me know if you do, and how it turns out! I love it when people adapt my recipes for their own tastes…


Kim May 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

I was looking for a new GF pancake recipe this morning and found yours. They were awesome! Love the combination of flours and the fact that they rise. Thank you so much for putting so much thought and love into your recipe!


Kim May 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

Oops, meant to say I loved the combination of flavors. Flours too though 🙂


Irvin May 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

Ha! I love playing with combinations of flours AND flavors, so I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment! Glad you enjoyed them.


Sally December 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Hi Irvin,
I just discovered your culinary do-gooding while searching for GF pancakes. And here I am. Thrilled. Drooling. Inspired. Feels good. But, what doesn’t feel good, is the incessant coughing trigger I get from potato starch. I don’t know what it is about potato starch, but I cannot take it. Do you have any substitutes for potato starch? Thanks much…


Irvin December 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Hi Sally! Since this is based on a ratio, you can certainly substitute in a different starch for the potato starch. My first choice would probably be tapioca but arrowroot or more corn starch would work. You can even sub in glutinous rice flour, otherwise known as sweet rice flour, for the potato starch. I like to use glutinous rice flour a lot, and it acts like a starch more than a flour.

If you try it, let me know how it turns out and what you think of the them!


Mindy April 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

Oh thank you for creating such wonderful GF recipes! This makes “going gluten free” exciting 🙂 Keep it up!


Andrea Johnson July 3, 2013 at 6:41 am

This recipe sounds amazing!! I’m curious, how could I convert to a waffle recipe?? I just got a waffle iron and have been scouring the internet for the perfect cornmeal waffle! Thanks!


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