I love waffles, but I don’t like the heavy feeling they leave in my gut. Then I ate a waffle that changed my attitude, for good…
On a gray Sunday morning in Kodiak, Alaska, I sauntered into the kitchen in search of a cup of coffee. I hadn’t slept well the night before, thanks to 50-knot winds that drove rain and salt spray against the windows. Ocean swells, a lentil soup green in the morning light, rolled through the channel like giant folds of fabric. I hugged my coffee cup. This was going to be a slow breakfast morning. A waffle morning.
But not just any waffles. I reached for a cookbook, the one with a yellow spine, long faded to a vanilla white. I thought about the time I first learned about this gem of recipes…
Meanwhile, in Hawai’i
While visiting friends on the Big Island, our hosts treated Marty and I to a breakfast of homemade Belgian-style waffles. Since they lived in a modest, owner-built home with rustic furniture, I figured the waffles would not be made from a box.
The warm plates arrived and, trying not to be rude, I poked at the waffle with my fork for a quick look. It was light brown and dotted with darker bits. I took a bite. There was a whole grain goodness to them, yet they were light, fluffy (not heavy and doughy) and quite tasty.
I looked up from my plate. “They’re made from soybean and rolled oats,” my friend Carrie explained.
Carrie smiled and handed me a stained and withered copy of, The Oats, Peas, Beans & Barley Cookbook. As I flipped through the pages, I remembered when I started cooking with lentils, rice, soy products and beans in the early 70s. “That’s hippie food!” my Mom used to say.
Back in Alaska, I logged onto Amazon and bought a used copy for $2.00.
The waffle recipes call for blessedly simple ingredients like pinto beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, rolled oats, lentils, millet, rice, cashews and buckwheat. No eggs, milk, flour or baking powder—great news for people with lactose and gluten issues.
For pennies you get a million dollars worth of nutrition and health
“One 9-inch soy-oat waffle contains approximately the same amount of protein as a 3-ounce serving of T-bone steak, or six slices of bacon and two medium eggs,” says author Edyth Young Cottrel, a research nutritionist from Loma Linda University. “But the cost for ingredients for the waffle is only about one-eighth that of the steak or bacon and eggs.”
Since my first experiment with the original recipe, I’ve found it to be quite forgiving. You can mix and match ingredients, creating a meal base for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here’s the basic recipe:
- 2-1/4 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup soaked beans (approximately 1/2 cup dry)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak beans for several hours or overnight (preferred). Drain. Combine and blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until light and foamy, about 20 to 30 seconds.
Let batter stand to thicken up a little while the waffle iron is heating. (We like the Waring Pro). Grease the waffle iron with a vegetable cooking spray or high-quality solid shortening. Bake in hot waffle iron for a full 8 minutes. This is important in order to cook the beans. One recipe makes three to four waffles. Tip: Soak extra beans, measure and freeze them for later. The cooked waffles can be frozen for later use–so handy for snacks and quick meals! Just pop them in the oven, microwave, or toaster oven.
Toppings for a breakfast meal include berries, yogurt, bananas and peanut butter, jam, stewed apples, or rhubarb sauce. I’m sure you can think of other goodies.
Waffles aren’t just for breakfast anymore (pizza waffles?)
For lunch or dinner, try creamed variations using one or more of the following: broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, cooked halibut, smoked salmon, turkey or chicken. Sprinkle with cheese if you like. You could probably make a waffle pizza by initially topping it with a thick base of tomato paste.
As for what you can add to the waffle batter before cooking, the list of ingredients (and combinations) is extensive: Lentil-oat, pecan-oat, rice-oat, almond-oat, sunflower seed-oat. And here’s a way to include more of your garden’s harvest: Add herbs, dried or fresh spinach or kale. Tip: For grated zucchini, mashed potatoes or squash reduce the amount of water.
The last word
I really hope you include The Oats, Peas, Beans & Barley Cookbook in your collection. It’s filled with delicious recipes for desserts, vegetables, entrees and breads with natural, unprocessed foods. Even though the publish date was 1974, I’ve noticed that Amazon editors have selected it as one of the best books of 2014.
Oh, and you’ll be pleased to know that the oat bean waffles are not only gluten-free, they are gas-free!
About Marion: Writer, photographer, and teacher Marion Owen of Kodiak, Alaska is co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul. In the summers, Marion is the chef on their Galley Gourmet wildlife cruises and wildlife tours.
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