CARROT APPLE MUFFINS { vegan + gluten free }

August 12, 2014


Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer, blogger, and journalist with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed "schooners”). From an office full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork, she’s writing her first book, a memoir of her parents' journey in raising 14 children, and her own lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company.

With school just around the corner, I've been looking for healthy and quick breakfasts that are easy and can be grabbed for the car if we're running late. Which, we're always running late. While we love our fair share of cereal over here, the milk inevitably ends up spilling, forgotten flakes get stuck to the floor, and you can forget trying to take it on-the-go. I may or may not have actually tried it. ;)

I love making muffins for breakfasts because they are quick to mix up, typically fail-proof, and easily made ahead on a Sunday afternoon and frozen for the week ahead. I have a few muffin recipes I swear by and have shared them here, but I wanted something a little more nutritious that could be paired with a fresh banana to make a complete meal for me and my kids this school year. Just a tip, I always look for recipes that have a "moisture" applesauce, mashed banana, or yogurt. You can bet your money that those are the ones you will end up loving because they're not dried out and will keep for longer in the fridge or freezer.

While we are not gluten free or vegan, I really respect a good recipe that is easily adaptable and can translate easily either way. You never know when you will have a guest who is gluten-free, so flavorful recipes like these that please everyone are really great to have in your back pocket. Some of the ingredients, like gluten-free oats, I didn't have on hand so I just used regular. Other ingredients, like almond flour, I went ahead and used because I'm always looking for ways to get away with less white flour (minus the super healthy taste). And these weren't those kind of muffins. They weren't overly sweet but they were packed with flavor, satisfyingly filling, and my kids gobbled them up. I found this to be a great experiment recipe. Sub in what you do or don't have and see if it works!

(Vegan + Gluten Free) 
 Serves: 12 

 1.5 flax eggs (1.5 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 4 Tbsp water, whisked) 
 1/4 cup olive oil
 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1 sweet apple, finely grated
 1/2 cup brown sugar or sub muscavado 
 1/2 tsp sea salt
 1.5 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
 1/2 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot
 2/3 cup gluten free rolled oats 
 1/2 cup almond meal
 1 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten free flour blend (see notes, or I used all-purpose flour)
 1/4 cup raw walnuts (chopped) for topping 

 INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl by whisking vigorously and getting a "gelled" consistency like eggs. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare muffin tin with liners or lightly grease them. To flax eggs, add mashed banana, agave or maple syrup, olive oil and whisk to combine. Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Add almond milk and stir. Add grated carrot and stir. Add oats, almond meal, gluten free flour blend and stir. Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top, and top with crushed walnuts (optional, but so good!). Bake for 32-36 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you press on the top it shouldn’t feel too spongey, so don’t be afraid of over baking! If using the GF blend, it just takes longer to bake. Remove from oven and let set in the pan for 15 minutes. Then flip on their sides still in the pan to let cool completely. If you try to unwrap them too quickly, they have a tendency to stick to the wrappers. Once cooled, store in a covered container or bag at room temp to keep fresh (ours stayed fresh for two days and then they were gone). Freeze after that to keep fresh. 

 NOTES: *Gluten free flour blend: 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 2 Tbsp tapioca flour, 2 Tbsp white rice flour, 1/4 tsp xanthan gum. *If baking in a loaf pan or cake pan (8×8), bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour and check every 5 minutes thereafter for doneness. 

 Source: Minimalist Baker