High Protein Spinach & Ricotta Pancake Cannelloni

high-protein-spinach-ricotta-cannelloni

This dish brings back a lot of memories for me as when I was young, my mum used to make it with spinach and cottage cheese for us kids.  I’m not a big fan of cottage cheese these days and, of course, she made pancakes with regular white flour, so I have adapted things a little.

A note on the almond flour:  if you can’t find it, you can use an extra tablespoon of protein powder instead.   I was reluctant to use it as I like to only use ingredients which are easy to find.  But when I tried to leave it out, I discovered that the almond flour makes a big difference to the taste and texture (I’ve no idea why, but it does..).  It seems to take away some of the sponginess which you get when you cook with protein powder.  Almond flour is basically ground almonds, which can be substituted as well.

Another thing that makes a big difference is the lemon rind added to the tomato sauce (I copied this idea from Jamie Oliver).  Also, don’t be tempted to leave out the sweetener or sugar (I used Sukrin Gold to keep the calories low).

I will certainly be making these pancakes again (think I might call them carb-free protein crepes) and eating them with peanut butter and banana at breakfast time.

[recipe-foody]Serves 2

Ingredients

for the pancakes:

  • 2 large eggs, whites only (keep the yolks for the spinach mixture)
  • ½ a scoop of unflavoured whey protein powder (15g)
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 50ml milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • ¼ of a teaspoon of sweetener or sugar

for the tomato sauce

  • ½ a large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • rind of ½ a lemon

the rest

  • 250g spinach, washed and drained well
  • 100g ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a good grating of nutmeg
  • ½ of a ball of Mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Method

for the pancakes:

  1. Put the two egg whites into a mixing bowl and add the protein powder and almond flour.  Add the sweetener/sugar and milk and beat together until all of the lumps have gone.
  2. Heat up 1 tsp of the coconut oil in a medium-hot frying pan and add half of the pancake mixture.
  3. Using a wooden spatula, push the edges away from the pan – this will make it easier to flip the pancake, which you can do when the edges are starting to brown (note:  the easiest way is using a large metal spatula).
  4. After flipping, immediately turn off the heat and after a minute or two longer, transfer the pancake to a plate (note:  as we have used nut flour which burns easily, it is normal that the pancakes may look a little brown).
  5. Repeat from step 2. for the other half of the pancake batter.

for the spinach mixture

  1. Wilt the spinach in a large pan or wok (no need to use any oil, just add it to a hot pan and stir for a few minutes).
  2. Once wilted, pour the spinach into a sieve over a bowl and press down so that as much water as possible is extracted.
  3. Add the drained spinach into a mixing bowl together with the ricotta cheese, the egg yolks and the nutmeg.  Season well with salt & pepper and mix everything together.

for the tomato sauce

  1. Heat up a saucepan and add in 1 tsp of the coconut oil.  Once melted, fry the chopped onions for approximately 5 minutes, by which time they should be starting to look translucent.  Add in the garlic and grate in the lemon rind.  Fry for a minute or two longer.
  2. Add in the can of chopped tomatoes and some salt & pepper.  Turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until the sauce is beginning to thicken.

for the finished cannelloni

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Lay out each pancake on a plate or chopping board and add in half of the spinach mixture into the middle.  Fold each side of the pancake over and transfer into a small baking tray.
  3. Pour over the tomato sauce and top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  4. Put the baking tray into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top has browned.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Macros

419 calories | 30g protein | 24g fat | 20g carbohydrate[/recipe-foody]

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