Happy Monday, dear ones! I mentioned at the end of the Rest Retreat wanting to narrow my focus and post more consistently with regard to more homemaking topics on Homesong, and sharing food our family enjoys is one thing I plan on incorporating more of into the flow of this space. I aim to share one meal or recipe with you each week, talking a bit about how we as mothers, caretakers, and homemakers can approach food in a way that not only fills our families up, but does so in a wholesome and nourishing way. I know how cooking three meals for a family (either big or small) can feel like a chore sometimes – I swear my kids never stop asking for snacks! – but I also know that preparing what we eat with intention and care can also be an empowering opportunity to heal and nourish ourselves from the inside out.
It’s also worth noting that by eating more consciously, rather than of eating in a rush out of pre-packaged boxes and plastics, we are doing important work by choosing to walk a more gentle, sustainable and earth-friendly path. The recipes I will be sharing here are mindful ones that will take several things into account. First off, the food I’ll continue to share will be recipes our family really enjoys eating! What’s the point of posting recipes in the first place if they don’t actually taste good? This to me is the most important aspect of cooking, because I love food and I love to eat. As Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people,” and I happen to agree with her. I live to eat, not eat to live, and these recipes will be a reflection of that philosophy. I also want to talk more about how making food with care doesn’t and shouldn’t translate into being fancy, expensive, or an unattainable luxury. I find fulfillment in honoring good, honest food using simple preparation methods that give us comfort, energy, and nutrition.
Future foods posts will also go into greater detail about food preparation, because knowing how to execute several basic food preparation methods can really expand your home cooking repertoire. Let’s get familiar with some techniques, friends! And like most of my content here, the recipes I share will be tethered to the seasons, ones that better connect us to the earth and give us a chance to slow down a bit. To me, eating well is about eating with passion and care, and it all starts in the kitchen. Let’s kick off this little food adventure with morning muffins, shall we?!
Our family is all about muffins this winter. Do you have a muffin lovin’ crew? Kids aside, I love them and always have. Lately I’ve been really into trying new combinations of healthy ingredients for various morning muffins. I enjoy the creative process of changing this ingredient out for that one, and seeing how the end result plays out. These carrot muffins win the prize for healthiest + tastiest so far! From start to finish they take about 40 minutes to prepare and bake with minimal clean up. I usually make a batch over the weekend and then we’re set for the week ahead with a quick breakfast or snack item that’s not only nutritious but something they love and look forward to. Knowing hectic mornings are on the horizon makes this simple recipe a good one to have I your back pocket.
Out of all the healthy muffin recipes I’ve tested, this one has been the biggest hit with the kids as well. Alfie calls them donuts and would eat five in a row if I let him! They remind me of spiced carrot cake, minus the raisins and frosting, which of course you could add if you’d like but I don’t think they need them. My kids are also kind of picky when it comes to eating large nuts, so I opted out of adding walnuts which I think would make a nice addition to this muffin as well. Perhaps I’ll finely crush them and add some to my next batch?
Spiced Carrot Quinoa Morning Muffins
Gather Your Ingredients:
- 2 cups almond flour (or whole wheat flour if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup ground flax
- 1 cup cooked quinoa or 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa (you can add it either cooked or uncooked – if uncooked your muffins will have a little crunch, which I like!)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 farm eggs (substitute ground flax or chia seeds if going the vegan route. 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 2.5 tablespoons water + soak for 15-20 minutes in the fridge = 1 chia egg)
- 1/2 cup grade A maple syrup
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 cup applesauce (0r pear sauce if you preserved a bunch like I did!)
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or any other nut milk you have on hand)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4-5 large carrots)
To prepare: Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients together each in separate bowls. Once each bowl has been mixed, combine the two and mix well. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Store in a glass container, or they will freeze up to 3 months if you plan on making a larger batch.
The ingredients above are vegan and gluten-free friendly if that’s the baking route you are accustomed to following, but know can definitely get creative with substitutions if you have other things on hand, say whole milk in lieu of nut milk. And one more thing, these muffins are really good when made with zucchini as well. Yes, vegetable muffins that taste good! You can swap one cup of carrots for one cup of grated zucchini and they will turn out beautifully, with a little less carroty flavor. It’s a fantastic way to sneak veggies into my kid’s diet, and into my own when I need a healthy energy boost! These muffins are also great additions to school lunches, snacks after school, and a bedtime treat. Enjoy!
Cindy - I look forward to your posts every week….I really enjoy them. Can’t wait for your recipes….going to make these muffins ASAP! I’m thankful you are offering a vegan option….❤️
admin - Cindy, oh thank you for sharing that with me. Let me know how they turn out! 🙂 x Amanda
Holly - I’m making these muffins right now! they look delicious already 🙂 thank you for sharing!
Tori Hall - Love this! Would you happen to already know the nutritional content of these for those keeping track of calories?
admin - Tori, gosh I don’t! Sorry about that. x Amanda
Ashley Woodbeck - These sound yummy and nutritious — and I have all the ingredients in my cupboard! Thanks for the vegan option as our family just went vegan a couple of weeks ago 🙂
One question, about the quinoa: I know cooked quinoa yields more than dried, so to get one cup of cooked quinoa, should I cook 1/4 cup dried? 1/2 cup? Thanks, Amanda!
admin - Ashley, you bet! We are transitioning to more vegan options as well. And great question, I should have made that more clear. So 1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa, so I’d say do:
1 cup cooked quinoa or
1/3 cup uncooked
Hope you like them! I am going to make another batch this afternoon too 🙂 x Amanda
Ashley - Thanks again! That’s so exciting to hear you’re also transitioning to more vegan options as well 🙂
Lacey - Love this recipe for the mornings! My boys love any kind of muffin, and so do I haha!! I was wondering, do you think I could substitute quinoa with oats maybe?
admin - Lacey, oats would be a great substitution! I have a banana oat muffin the kids love too and the old-fashioned oats are yummy in them. x Amanda
Ally - I love this .. gonna make them tomorrow.. I’ve been mostly plant based since the summer so this is great! I don’t eat refined sugar . Could I skip it ?
admin - Ally, have you ever used coconut sugar? I use that in lieu of brown sugar all the time! It’s delish 🙂 x Amanda
Amanda - Thank you, thank you for sharing this! I’ve been phasing out wheat and most dairy for our family, so I’m so excited to try this recipe!!
Dee - So I was wondering….can I make this without any carrots or vegetable substitutions in general? Defeats the purpose, but I was wondering how these would taste with everything less the vegetable. Any idea how they would hold up. I’m gonna sub vanilla extract for almond and add some nuts and chia seed. I simply have no desire to go to the store for carrots, hence my question about doing away with them for now anyway.
Sarah - I’m so excited for more recipes and especially to read more of your thoughts on slow, sustainable, healthy cooking. It’s something I want to do, and I’ve been slowing down other areas of our life, but the ice cream keeps ending up at home! haha. We’re definitely making progress though! You shared the “Slow your home” podcast in a list last year and between you and Brooke my life and mindset has dramatically shifted. My newest revelation is that I can’t do it all at once. I have to SLOWLY and intentionally make sustainable changes for us. I hardly ever process snacks for my kids now. We are making progress! I’m sure they’ll love these muffins. Thank you! Thank you!
Jackie - Your site is my favorite and I’m so excited for what’s upcoming! This recipe excited me and I hopped in the kitchen to make them right away. I’m totally looking for vegan, gluten-free recipes and you totally hit the nail on the head re: snacking children and making 3 meals a day + snacks can be such a challenge (I have 3 boys: 2, 4, and 6). I made these muffins and they turned out VERY moist; I’d say mushy and wouldn’t firm up. I even cooked them way longer than stated because they kept not really coming together…not sure what the issue is. I re-read through the ingredients and directions and followed them exactly. I used almond flour, the uncooked quinoa, and 1 regular egg and 1 chia egg. Curious to hear about others’ results. Regardless, thank you so much for your work here and for sharing such lovely and valuable resources with us. You are SO appreciated. xo
admin - Jackie, oh bummer! I wonder what caused it 🙁 So sorry love. I will make them again and see if the same problem arises. I have had luck, so maybe it has to do with the brands used?? Again, sorry that happened! x Amanda
Casey - I had the same experience. The center never set. Used almond flour and oats instead of quinoa. I increased the oats to 1/2 cup because they seemed a little wet. I’m certain they would turn out more firm with wheat flour, but I’m GF. I’m thanksful for this website and will try these again with less wet ingredients, maybe less applesauce and no milk…. the taste is great, but just mush in the center with almond flour.
Holly - Mine JUST came out of the oven and i’m having a muffin with my cup of tea right now 🙂 I used ww pastry flour & cooked quinoa — they turned out perfect!
Nikaela - I made these today, they were so wonderful. Thank you! Just wanted to note: I omitted the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and put in 2 mashed overripe bananas. They were sweet. Loved the uncooked quinoa!
Amy - I love this recipe (and your blog + IG account, Amanda!), but we, too had the issue with them never setting up in the middle. I followed the directions exactly and baked them an extra 30 minutes, and they were still batter-y on the inside.
However, my husband made some add-ins to the last third of the batch that made the second round of them AMAZING, as follows (he calculated up to account for the entire recipe):
1/2 c white rice flour
1/3 c oat flour
1/3 c tapioca starch
1/3 c potato starch (not potato flour)
and an additional tbsp baking powder
This batch rose and puffed on the top like traditional muffins and was perfectly done inside and out.
We’re a GF household, so we have a lot of substitute flours on hand. Easier still: 1 c all purpose GF flour (like Bob’s Red Mill) + 1/3 oat flour + the tbsp baking powder.
Since we don’t do sugar on the regular, I like the reader’s suggestion of two ripe bananas in lieu of the brown sugar.
Thanks again for this recipe–we appreciate your making it vegan and GF friendly. I’m going to print it and the paper is sure to get covered in flour and batter over the years as any well-loved recipe does (in our house, anyway)!
Amy - And I should add: the second round baked up fine in the original 30 minutes.
Lindsay - I had the same problem with the muffins not setting up. Added 1 cup of wheat flour and they were perfect <3
Jodie McBride - I have been using this recipe for about 3 years now. Sometimes I add raw homey instead of the maple syrup. Today I’m adding pumpkin puree. It’s one of my favorites with hot tea. I just pour the batter in a 2 quart dish and serve it in bowls with a spoon. Easy and quick. Thanks Amanda