Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Buckwheat Pancakes with “Cheese” Sauce (vegan)
Savoury pancakes or crepes are a massively underrated dish! These buckwheat pancakes have been stuffed with a garlic-y mix of spinach and mushrooms before being drizzled with vegan cheese sauce. The perfect dish for dinner on Shrove Tuesday or as a starter for a special meal!
I’ve always associated pancakes with lemon and sugar, chocolate chips, strawberries, marshmallows and lots of other sweet toppings. I still love sweet pancakes (especially for breakfast) but I’ve come to love their savoury cousins! In my opinion, the best kind of savoury pancake is made from buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat is a plant that produces grain like seeds which, like wheat, can be milled into flour. It’s often found in health food stores because it is gluten free making it perfect for anyone who is coeliac or has a gluten intollerance. It also has more protein, dietary fiber, and B vitamins than whole wheat flour! I love it in pancakes because it has a slightly nutty flavour.
My buckwheat pancakes are made with plant milk and don’t contain any egg. Because they are both egg-free and dairy-free they are ideal for anyone following a vegan or plant based diet. I cook them nice and thin (crepe style) before stuffing them with chestnut mushrooms, onion and spinach which has been cooked with non-dairy butter and garlic!
Buckwheat pancakes work really well with these types of earthy flavours. Though, they can also be used in sweet recipes too.
Vegan Cheese Sauce
The thing that elevates these savoury pancakes from good to great is the cheese sauce that is poured over the top before the whole dish gets baked in the oven. Vegan cheese sauce is really easy to make these days thanks to all of the vegan cheese substitutes on the market. Some melt better than others but the common brands like Koko, Violife and Applewood all work perfectly.
The method for making a vegan cheese sauce is pretty much identical to making the dairy version. You make a roux with flour and plant milk before adding your cheese. For extra flavour I add a little mustard and nutritional yeast. Extra flavour is never a bad thing right?!
Once the dish goes under the oven the cheese sauce will bubble and there will be delicious crispy edges. Watching it bubble is both beautiful and torture all at once as this is one dinner that is hard to resist!!! But, I promise its worth the wait.
Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pancakes with Vegan Cheese Sauce
For the vegan buckwheat pancakes
For the filling
- 2 tbsp non-dairy butter
- 1 onion diced
- 250 grams chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 450 grams frozen spinach thawed and squeezed to remove any excess moisture
- 0.5 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper
For the vegan cheese sauce
For the topping
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- fresh parsley leaves only
To make the pancakes
- Add the buckwheat flour and salt to a bowl.
- Slowly pour in the water and oil and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes. This is an essential step when working with buckwheat so don't be tempted to skip!
To make the cheese sauce
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the plain flour and mix until it has formed a thick paste.
- Slowly add the soy milk, stirring constantly to make sure it is smooth and that no lumps of flour form.
- Once all the milk has been added, stir in the mustard, cheese and nutritional yeast.
- Season with salt and pepper and keep on a very low heat, stirring regularly while you make the rest of the dish.
To cook the pancakes
- Once the batter has rested, heat a little oil in a frying pan.
- Pour roughly 1/8th of the batter into the pan and swirl it until the bottom of the pan is thinly and evenly coated.
- Let the batter cook for 2 – 3 minutes before carefully flipping and cooking on the other side.
- Place the cooked pancake on to a warmed plate and repeat until all of the batter has been used.
To make the filling
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Let the onions sweat for 8 – 10 minutes until soft.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for a few minutes until they too have softened.
- Remove the onions and mushroom from the heat and add to a bowl along with the thawed and drained spinach.
- Season the mixture well with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
To assemble the final dish
- Pre-heat an oven to 200C / 3902F / gas mark 6.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons to each of the pancakes and fold them into quarters.
- Arrange them in an oven dish by overlapping them slightly.
- Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are piping hot.
- Remove the foil and pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place the dish back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
- Serve with fresh parsley (optional).
Make aheadAll three components of the dish (the pancakes, filling and cheese sauce) can be made ahead of time and simply assembled when you are ready to bake. Place clingfilm over the cheese sauce and press it on to the surface to make sure it doesn’t form a skin while sitting.
How to make Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Buckwheat Pancakes (video)
More pancake recipes
These are just four of my favourite pancake recipes – from fluffy American style pancakes, to sourdough, savoury crepes and more!
Find even more pancake recipes here.