Thick puffy waffles, stuffed with strawberries and Southern pecans, and big craters that hold warm maple syrup remind me of family road trips to South Carolina. When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for our first Waffle House stop. Those perfectly cooked waffles started calling my name as soon as we crossed the Illinois/Indiana border. That memory was triggered last weekend, and the craving was just too great to ignore. So my husband, the breakfast king, made gorgeous, delicious, Southern strawberry pecan waffles (egg-free, dairy-free, vegan), just for me.
Have you ever been to a Waffle House? The ones that I remember where pretty grimy, filled with truckers, and the waitresses called everyone hon (short for honey) or sugar. They were nothing like the restaurants I was used to in Wisconsin, and I loved them.
I’d sit in the booth and lean my head into the back of the red vinyl bench and strain to hear the conversations going on around me—I still do that and it drives my husband crazy. Sometimes I was shocked, most of the time I wasn’t, but I was always excited to be there, because it meant that we were closer to the beach, and that the waitress was about to hand me a plate with a hot pecan waffle that was the size of my head.
Ahhh, waffles that are the size of your head are the best. That’s why I bought a Belgian waffle maker, (affiliate) because my kids needed to experience strawberry pecan waffles like I used to eat in those roadhouse diners. (Truth be told, there were never strawberries in the Waffle House waffles, I added those to make them slightly healthy.)
Why not just take the kids to a Waffle House so they could get the full experience? Because we never took a road trip to the South with the kids.
When I was a rugrat we had a huge station wagon, and my dad would put a mattress in the back with a cooler full of food and drinks. And we played games and slept when we were tired. My kids where buckled in tight and had to sleep upright. Driving for more than four hours with them was the worst. Even the thought of a twelve hour drive with them makes me start to sweat.
So we made our own, and they were fabulous.
Mind you, they are not healthy. There are a lot of food bloggers who love to claim that their recipes are “healthy” because they’re vegan or they have a hint of fruit in them. Not me. I’m not about to mislead you. These are waffles. Belgian waffles. Delicious strawberry pecan waffles. A special breakfast or brunch treat. Don’t be afraid of them. Embrace them. Just don’t make them every week.
To make these big as your head, fluffy, delightful Southern strawberry pecan waffles (egg-free, dairy-free, vegan) you’ll need a Belgian waffle maker. (affiliate) There’s no way around it.
Then you’ll need approximately 10 small strawberries. Finely chop them up and set them aside.
Once you’ve chopped the strawberries it’s time to prep the pecans. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar and a pinch of sea salt over them and roast them in the oven until they’re slightly crisp and golden brown. Some of the sugar will stick and some won’t, don’t worry about that. When they are finished toasting take them out of the oven and let them cool.
While you’re making the batter heat up your Belgian waffle maker. (affiliate)
For the batter you’re going to start with a pureed banana. Puree a ripe banana in a mixer with a paddle attachment until it looks like baby food, then add the almond milk, vanilla, and lemon juice and blend it. Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then gently fold it into the wet ingredients until it’s just moistened. Gently fold in the pecans and strawberries until just combined.
The reason that I call these Southern strawberry pecan waffles is because there’s yellow cornmeal in the batter. It gives the waffles a crispier texture and an awesome flavor.
Brush canola oil on your Belgian waffle maker (affiliate) so the berries don’t make the waffles stick. Even our non-stick Belgian waffle maker (affiliate) needs a little oil or the waffles get stuck, and there’s nothing worse than digging waffles out of the iron.
Fill the iron with batter and spread it evenly. Don’t overfill or you’re going to have a mess on your hands.
Cook the waffles for as long as your particular Belgian waffle maker (affiliate) instructions recommend. They should be golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, maple syrup, extra fruit and nuts, and dig in.
Have you ever been to a Waffle House? What did you think?
Do you love Belgian waffles?
Did you drive to your vacation destination when you were a kid?
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