You won't miss out on green vegetables with these tasty leek pancakes with a spinach, kale and ricotta filling! A great way of hiding vegetables from picky eaters too!
For me, these leek pancakes (or crepes) with a filling of spinach, kale and ricotta are definitely the ones I would choose for my pancake day meal. I definitely prefer savoury over sweet pancakes. The leeks are finely diced and mixed into the pancake batter to flavour it.
When I first developed this recipe for leek crepes I was trying to get my kids to eat a few more vegetables and I managed to hide a whole (although small) leek in the pancake batter. You can just see the little green specks in the pictures but they're not too obvious if you are trying to hide them from your little ones!
But this is not just a recipe for kids! I love these vegetable packed crepes and if you gave me a choice between these and lemon and sugar then these ones would win every time. If you love spinach and ricotta then I'm sure you'll agree. It's a brilliant combination and a great stuffing for pancakes.
Ingredient notes for leek pancakes
To make these leek pancakes you'll need:
- Leeks - I use a small leek but you could use half leek or even replace it with an onion.
- Flour - Just plain flour
- Eggs - I usually use large eggs but any size will be fine
- Milk - I use semi-skimmed milk but you can use skimmed or whole milk or even replace it and use a non-dairy milk.
- Seasoning - Just a little salt and black pepper
And for the filling you'll need:
- Green vegetables - I use a mixture of spinach and kale. You can just use one or the other but the kale needs to be stir fried for a little longer than the spinach as it needs a little more time to break down.
- Seasonings - I use a little nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Nutmeg is quite strong so don't use too much.
- Ricotta - You can use full fat or reduced fat ricotta. If you didn't have ricotta you could use cream cheese instead.
How to make these leek pancakes
These leek pancakes are very easy to make and so is the spinach, kale and ricotta filling.
First prepare the pancake batter. Just whisk everything together except the leek. Chop the leek finely and then stir into the pancake batter.
To make the filling, remove any woody bit of stem from the kale and roughly chop it.
Heat some oil in a large saucepan or wok, stir fry the kale until wilted and then add the spinach. The spinach will wilt much more quickly than the kale. When both are wilted, stir in the ricotta, nutmeg and seasoning.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and when it is hot, add ladles of pancake batter and swirl around to cover the base of the pan. Turn over half way through cooking.
Serve the pancakes topped with the kale, spinach and ricotta.
Can you adapt these leek pancakes?
The filling is a simple mixture of spinach, kale and ricotta with a little nutmeg and black pepper. You could easily just use kale or just spinach or alter the proportions. If you're not keen on nutmeg then miss it out. You could add a different flavouring too. Why not add lemon zest, chilli or garlic?
Depending on how healthy you want the pancakes to be and how decadent you are feeling you could increase the amount of ricotta to make the filling creamier. You could also add a little cheese. I was happy with them just like this though. They were creamy, filling but also healthy.
You could also adapt the pancakes by using a different vegetable instead of leeks. I've often made them with sliced onions.
My son likes to miss out the kale, spinach and ricotta filling and just smear ketchup, barbecue sauce and HP sauce on his pancake!
What can you do with the leftovers?
The filling will keep for at least 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
You can keep the batter in the fridge for 24 hours and then cook the pancakes again. Just whisk it again before cooking the pancakes as the bits of leek and the flour will have sunk to the bottom.
Alternatively you can cook all the pancake batter and keep the cooked pancakes inthe fridge for up to three days. I reheat them in the microwave but you could reheat them in the frying pan or oven, depending on what is easiest for you. I'm sure you could even air fry them to reheat them!
Leek Pancakes with Spinach, Kale and Ricotta
- 100 g leeks finely diced
- 120 g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 300 ml milk
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
For the Filling
- 120 g spinach
- 100 g kale remove any woody stem bits, roughly chop
- 160 g ricotta
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Put all the ingredients for the pancakes(except the leeks) in a measuring jug or bowl and mix well with a fork or whisk. Then whisk in the leeks.
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan and when it is hot, add a small ladle of pancake mixture to the pan. Use the back of the ladle to spread it around so it is roughly circular. Cook the pancakes on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- While making the pancakes, stir fry the kale in another pan for a couple of minutes and then add the spinach. When the spinach has wilted, stir in the ricotta and season with nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Serve warm with the pancakes.