These gluten-free muffins taste wholesome enough to feel good about eating them but sweet enough to taste like a treat. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of muffins, but I changed my mind when I first tried Shalane Flanagan’s Superhero Muffins a year ago when I made some post-race food for our first $5 5K.
A “Real Food” diet is gaining more ground every day, but it’s very easy to put it aside when it comes to our athletic lifestyle. When I started learning about real food – what it is, what it means, what it does for us, etc., I was all in, except when it came to my running. I was quick to grab chews, gels, bars, waffles, or whatever else was so popular and always around. It was simply about finding what my stomach and taste buds could handle.
The more I raced and the more synthetic fueling sources I consumed, the more cognitive dissonance I felt about my running fuel. I started to read about elite endurance athletes who fuel with real food, and some even on a 100% plant-based diet. It’s simply making the commitment, planning, and sticking with it. This doesn’t mean we have to make our own fuel; it only means we must read the labels. I run because it’s therapeutic; I certainly don’t want to counteract that with artificial sweeteners, coloring, and other chemicals that aren’t necessary.
Since deciding to go “real” with my fueling options, I’ve been searching for several great recipes for us – delicious, nutritious, and easy and practical to carry. When we make muffins, we always make them mini in case we want to pack them. These gluten-free muffins are more of a grab and go pre-run breakfast or yummy treat, but l made them mini for an open house at the studio where I teach.
Take the liberty to make some changes, but if you’re not a baker, such as myself, start with a small batch before getting too experimental. If you know your way around the baking scene, go nuts (pun intended)!
FROM OUR KITCHEN
- ALMOND FLOUR. Feel free to make your own with raw almonds.
- GLUTEN-FREE OATS. By nature, oats are gluten-free, but you want to purchase “gluten-free” to guarantee zero cross contamination.
- EGGS. Always use organic, pastured, or farmed raised eggs. If you want vegan muffins, replace egg with flax eggs.
- ZUCCHINI. 1 cup equals a small to medium size zucchini. You can grate with a handheld grater or use a blender or food processor, just be sure not to over process. I suggest measuring your zucchini and carrots.
- CARROTS. 1 cup of grated carrots equals about two carrots or 14-16 baby carrots. You’ll always see baby carrots in my recipes because we give them to our fur babies as treats. If they’re good enough for the dogs, they’re good enough for us.
- WALNUTS. You can buy chopped or throw them in the food processor. Let the food processor be your friend! 😉
- CRANBERRIES, CHERRIES, or DATES are optional. If you want your muffins a little sweeter, toss them in.
- APPLESAUCE. The applesauce is replacing butter.
- PURE MAPLE SYRUP. Pure maple is one of the natural sweeteners we should be using in place of refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. “Pure” is the key word here.
- OIL MUFFIN PAN with avocado or coconut oil. I’m not a fan of muffin paper liners, so I always pour the batter right into the cups.
- WET INGREDIENTS. I recommend measuring wet ingredients (accurately) to prevent batter from being too thin or watery, especially if you’re replacing butter with applesauce.
- Real Food
- Vegan (with substitution)
- Large food processor
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 medium-size mixing bowls
- Mini-muffin pans (makes 48)
- 2 cups of almond flour
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 3 eggs (organic or pastured)
- 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
- 1 cup grated carrots (about 14-16 baby carrots)
- 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or dates (chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons applesauce
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Oil mini-muffin pan with avocado or coconut oil.
- Process dates, walnuts, and carrots in a food processor, then transfer to mixing bowl.
- Add the other wet ingredients to the date and carrot mixture: eggs, zucchini, applesauce, maple, and vanilla.
- Mix all dry ingredients together in another mixing bowl: almond flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda.
- Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients and mix until blended. The batter should be thick.
- Divide mixture evenly among mini-muffin cups, filling them to the brim.
- Bake 15-25 minutes, or until the tops of muffins begin to brown or use a toothpick to check (insert into center and it should come out clean). Large muffins will need to bake longer, 25-35 minutes.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
HAPPY & HEALTHY
Recipe inspired from Superhero Muffins in Run Fast. Eat Slow. By Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky.