Nothing says “good morning” like a plate of hot, buttery waffles. Watching syrup pool in the tiny pockets and ooze out when you dig your fork in for each delicious bite is truly a treat worth hopping out of bed for. But if you’re like most people, there’s always a nagging doubt in the back of your mind that maybe all that sugar and butter and griddle-fried flour isn’t very good for you. Never fear—by simply swapping out a few key ingredients, you can feel better about your dietary choices without having to sacrifice this timeless breakfast favorite.
- 2 cups (240g) flour substitute (whole wheat flour, almond flour, rice flour, or blended oats or nuts)
- 2 cups (480ml) buttermilk
- 1/3 cup (80g) butter substitute (coconut oil, applesauce, Greek yogurt or fruit filling)
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil (canola, vegetable, olive or sunflower)
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
- Maple syrup, honey, agave nectar or other natural sweetener
- Fruits, nuts and other healthy toppings
Makes about 8 waffles
EditChoosing Healthier Ingredients
- Cut down on basic white flour. You don’t have to eliminate flour from your waffle batter entirely. Simply reduce the amount of enriched all-purpose flour you use by about half, then fill in the missing portion with other low-carb derivatives like whole wheat, almond or rice flour. When the time comes to chow down, chances are you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
- Adjust the amount of flour as you see fit for your own personal take on the recipe.
- Most of the carbohydrates in traditional waffles come from starchy white flour.
- Use flour substitutes. If you happen to have an intolerance to gluten, or you’re trying your best to stick to a holistic diet, you can dispense with flour altogether and bring in more nutrient-packed ingredients to do the job. Flax meal, rolled oats or even blended nuts will all work well for this purpose.
- Other types of grains can give your waffles a complex, nutty flavor.
- For smoother waffles, make sure your flour substitute has been ground or blended to a fine consistency.
- Try it with eggs. Not many people know that eggs can used in place of flour, butter and milk. Combine 2-3 large eggs with a couple teaspoons of baking powder to help them set up. Add a sweetening agent, such as mashed bananas, and you’re ready to go. It’s that easy! Eggs are loaded with protein and good cholesterol, and when cooked they’ll take on a fluffy, spongy texture that’s nearly indistinguishable from traditional waffles made with flour.
- Whip whole eggs together with the baking powder and salt before incorporating them into your batter mix.
- It’s even possible to make a simple carb-free version of waffles using only eggs and a few dry ingredients. Combine egg waffles with savory items like bacon crumbles, turkey sausage or low-fat cheese.
- Replace butter with lighter options. A good portion of the calories in waffles come from butter, whether mixed in with the batter or served on top. Instead of butter, give applesauce, Greek yogurt or the infinitely-useful coconut oil a shot. Taking butter out of the equation can spare you the long-term health risks, and the guilt, of high-fat breakfasts.
- Coconut oil is especially versatile, as it can be used as a spreadable semi-solid at room temperature or a smooth liquid when heated.
EditCooking the Waffles
- Mix the waffle batter. Combine your baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and flour substitute of choice in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs, a tablespoon of oil and a dash of vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and whisk until they form a smooth, thick mixture.
- Break up big lumps in the batter, but don’t overstir. This can make the waffles dense and gluey.
- If you’re using tough, fibrous ingredients like oats or flax, soak them in a shallow bowl of buttermilk to soften them before blending them and adding them to the batter mix.
- Heat and grease the waffle iron. Plug in the waffle iron. Coat both surfaces of the iron with light cooking spray and let it begin preheating. Have your batter and a ladle ready nearby.
- No need to prep with cooking spray if you’re using a newer nonstick waffle iron.
- Keep the heat somewhere between medium and high so that it doesn’t get too hot between batches.
- Spoon the batter onto the hot waffle iron. Use enough batter to cover the inner surface of the iron, leaving a little room around the edges for the waffles to cook up. Once the batter begins to bubble, closed the lid of the iron.
- Make sure you pour the batter on thick enough to cover the grid ridges on the iron, or the waffles won’t hold together.
- Most waffle irons will only be big enough to fix one waffle at a time. Portion each ladle of batter consistently so that you have none left over when you’re done cooking.
- Cook the waffles until they’re golden brown. The waffles will take about 4-5 minutes to cook to the optimal finish. A perfect waffle will come out golden-brown and crispy on the outside while still being light and airy inside. Repeat until you’ve used up the remaining batter.
- Take a peek at the waffles periodically to make sure they’re cooking evenly.
- Waffle batter can also be refrigerated for a day or two if you don’t plan on using it all right away.
EditAdding a Nutritious Finish
- Drizzle the waffles with a light sweetener. Bypass the maple syrup, which is almost entirely sugar, and opt for an organic sweetener like honey or agave nectar that’s naturally lower in sugar. Nut butters are another good choice, as they spread well and contain high amounts of proteins and good fats. You’ll still get the warm, sticky sweetness you crave, only without accidentally consuming an entire day’s worth of carbs in one meal.
- Warm the sweetener in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to pour.
- Go easy on the sweetening syrups. Even low-sugar alternatives can add up if you use too much.
- Top with fresh fruit. Layer your guilt-free waffles with fresh banana or apple slices, or on a heaping spoonful of glazed strawberries. The sweet and tangy zest of fresh fruit provides a wonderful counterbalance to the mild, earthy qualities of whole grains. And, of course, you’ll be receiving your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals.
- If you prefer richer, more decadent toppings for your waffles, try cooking down fresh fruit with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little bit of honey or stevia into a flavorful compote.
- Play around with other wholesome additives. Look for other ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into your waffles where less-healthy ones are ordinarily used. For instance, whipped cream or cream cheese can be traded for low-fat cottage cheese, and coconut flakes can be even better than powdered sugar when sprinkled on top.
- Mix in blueberries, chopped walnuts or dark chocolate morsels to give your waffles some variety of flavor and make them more filling.
- Don’t feel like you have to replace every single main ingredient. A little butter or maple syrup is fine in moderation.
- Serve your waffles with a couple poached eggs, a fresh fruit cocktail or a side of turkey bacon.
- Waffles made with non-wheat flours are no less scrumptious, and they’re suitable for gluten-free eaters.
- Add a scoop of whey protein powder to your waffle batter mix for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast.
- Make healthy waffles a part of your weekly meal prep routine by whipping up a batch of batter in advance and refrigerating it until you need it.
- Portion control is just as important as the ingredients you use when counting calories. Even health-conscious waffle recipes can adversely affect your weight or blood pressure if you overindulge.
EditThings You’ll Need
- Waffle iron
- Large mixing bowl
- Whisk or electric egg beater
- Blender or food processor (optional)