Honey Mesquite Pancakes

Nature Guides & Activities

PURPOSE: Learn how to make pancakes from the pods of the Honey Mesquite Tree, a desert plant utilized by Southern Paiutes for centuries!


  • Learn about edible uses of Honey Mesquite Tree
  • Be introduced to the Native Americans that used the Honey Mesquite Tree
  • Make connections with the Paiute tribe by cooking with a native plant they used


For the lesson

  • Paiute History Slides (provided)
  • Cooking utensils (measuring cups, etc.)

Mesquite Flour you can purchase online or you can create flour from scratch:

  1. collect ripe pods (yellow/tan in color, dry and brittle)
  2. break pods into 1-inch pieces.
  3. blend them until it all becomes fine powder

Store in glass jar. Flour lasts up to 6 months.

Ingredients for Pancake Mix

  • 3/4 cups Mesquite Flour
  • 1 cup flour (enriched, buck, etc)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs (or substitute with bananas or peanut butter)
  • 1-2 cups Milk of choice

Downloadable PDFs

Summary Of Activities

The following information is presented so you can follow along with the images and information that is provided on the slides.

Slide 1-3. Begin by asking your child if they recognize the photo. Explain that we live in the Mojave Desert, and the water you see in the photo is part of Lake Mead. That source of water allows us to live in the desert. But long before we (modern society) lived here , the land was inhabited by Native Americans. One of the groups that lived in the Las Vegas region is the Southern Paiute. They used elements of their natural environment for food and shelter.

Slide 4-6. Mention that people have been using different parts of plants to create different types of foods. Challenge your child by completing the matching activity. Explain that a lot of the food we eat contains ingredients from nature, even though it may not always appear that way. The first picture shows chocolate, which is made from Cacao seeds that grow on trees. The second picture shows french fries, made of potatoes which comes from underneath the ground. The third picture shows pizza; the dough is made of flour which comes from the wheat plant.

Slide 7-9. Tell your child that today you are going to try be eating a meal from a flour made from the Honey Mesquite Tree. Tell him/her that this tree is found in the Mojave Desert, where we live. Ask them if they has ever seen this tree around their neighborhood or school. If available, show your child a Mesquite pod for them to feel. If you have a good batch of pods, allow your child to taste them. Ask them what it tastes like (some people say they taste sweet). When pods are green or purple in color, they can be eaten straight from from the tree. When the pods turn yellow or tan and become hard, they can be crushed using a metate (pronounced mah-taugh-tey), a flat stone used to ground materials. Crushing the pods turned it into flour. This flour was used in many ways, for example, to make baked goods like bread or chicken soups. The pods are high in dietary fiber and protein; they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Slide 10-14. Tell your child that now you are ready to make some pancakes! Tell them that they will follow the recipe below.

Pancake Instructions from Martha Darancou Aguirre of Rancho La Inmaculada

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  2. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix.
  3. Add milk until desired thickness is acquired (the thinner the mix, the thinner the pancake).
  4. Heat cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-low temp.
  5. Oil the surface with additional vegetable oil or fry some bacon first.
  6. Spoon enough batter onto the surface for a medium-sized pancake.
  7. Check underside for the right color and watch for bubbles to appear on the surface of the pancake (work with lower temps and check often until you get used to cooking with Mesquite flour).
  8. Flip when bubbles appear across the pancake.
  9. Serve pancakes with prickly pear syrup, agave nectar, or honey!
  10. Enjoy!

Conclusion. As you sit with your child and enjoy your pancakes, ask them,”How do you like your pancakes? Would you use Mesquite flour again? Mojave Plants can be used for food, does this change your perspective on the Mojave Desert? What is one thing you learned today?”