Alright, I caved: we are now the proud owners of a waffle iron. I know, I know, the last thing a tiny kitchen needs is another additional appliance. But my argument here is that surely that rule can't apply to something as essential as a waffle iron. "But I'll use it allllll the time," I told myself, similar to the ways I've convinced myself to shell out for an insanely cute but impractical pair of shoes. Well, while those heels lie collecting dust somewhere in the back of my closet, the waffle iron was broken in immediately, many mornings covered in coconut oil cooking spray and remaining pieces of crushed blueberries: this thing is getting loved.
It's not a top-notch iron by any means, but it's been getting the job done and hitting the craving spot hard. When I'm in the market for a more permanent fixture down the road (ah, cover its ears), I may spring for something with removable plates. But for now: perfecting the vegan waffle. I admit I had my doubts, though I have been pleasantly surprised by other vegan treats before. While waffle batter varies slightly from pancake batter, and we have successfully pulled off vegan pancakes a time or two, I was hoping that any vegan-swapping would still result in the perfect waffle: crisp on the outside, warm on the inside, food for my very heart and soul.
Well, the first time was a total flop. And the time after that? Only okay. I was determined to find a way to recreate the waffle and then have people say, "Wait, that was vegan? Really? Are you sure?" So I took a little bit from here and there, things that worked and things that didn't, and came up with a banana-pumpkin hybrid (hence my over-the-top cute name, banana-kin) that oh-so-perfectly delivers all the best parts of having a waffle for breakfast should.
For this recipe, you'll need:
1/2 cup very ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats or multigrain hot cereal
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal to 2 1/2 tablespoons water)
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk or a combination of the two
Begin by setting up your waffle iron to preheat. I had mine set on a medium-high setting (which will help determine the color and crispness of your waffle), but this part is completely up to you. Prepare your flax egg and set aside.
In the bottom of a large bowl, mash together your banana, pumpkin purée and baking powder until evenly mixed. Whisk in your cinnamon, milk and flax egg. Fold in your flour and rolled oats until just combined. If you're going to add anything like chocolate chips or blueberries (or both, because really, waffle-making is not really the moment to employ self-restraint) now's the time to do it.
Prep your waffle iron with a light coating of cooking spray (coconut oil is my fave) between batters and cook your waffles according to your particular iron's instructions. This particular recipe will make 3-4 thick/Belgian waffles or 6-8 regular waffles.
Honestly? I've had a lot of waffles in my life. I have distinct memories of waking up just a little bit earlier in order to employ my parents' old square iron on many mornings. If there is a waffle option on any brunch or breakfast menu (strangely rare), I'm there. And these totally met those waffles and said something along the lines of, "Is this seat taken?" because they're so good and can blend right in with the regular waffle crowd. We've made this recipe several times since (weekends and weekdays alike) and it has never failed us, not once.