Easy Allergy-Friendly Comfort Food
A vegan AND gluten-free muffin may seem like an oxymoron to anyone used to traditional baking methods, but it can be done – and taste great too, believe it or not! This simple recipe comes together in the blender, making it the perfect quick baking project when you have a few extra minutes during your day. You can also use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender.
Almond flour forms the base of the muffin, and chia seeds create an effective egg substitute when combined with water and allowed to sit until they “gel” (creating a texture quite similar to the albumen of an egg). Brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, shredded apple, and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and raisins add flavor and sweetness. The resulting muffins make the perfect grab-and-go breakfast, accompaniment to soup or stew, or afternoon snack. They’re full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, meaning you’ll stay satiated and avoid a sugar crash – which certainly can’t be said of traditional muffins. If you’re looking for something healthier to fill the “comfort food” role of muffins and baked goods in your diet, then this recipe is for you.
To prepare the apple for this recipe, simply wash it, core it, and shred it using a cheese grater. The peel stays on the apple for added fiber and micronutrients. If add-ins are your jam, feel free to add a handful of pepitas and raisins to the batter of the muffins too (instead of just sprinkling them on top).
Baking with Chia “Eggs”
Vegan baking requires the acquisition of a whole new baking ‘vocabulary’. Without the use of animal products like butter, eggs, and dairy milk, creative plant-based substitutions are required. Fortunately, today’s bakers have many awesome options available at their fingertips. Chia ‘eggs’ are a simple and easy-to-put-together substitute for traditional eggs. Simply combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water in a small bowl, stir well, and within ten minutes, you will have yourself a chia “egg”.
While it’s best to use vegan baking recipes that call for chia eggs (as opposed to substituting a chia egg directly for a traditional egg in a typical baking recipe), if you’re comfortable with the possibility of failure, feel free to experiment. Many of the best vegan treat recipes were discovered this way!
In this recipe white chia seeds were used (instead of the usual black chia seeds widely available at most supermarkets) so that the seeds would blend in with the muffin batter and play less of a starring role. If you can find white chia seeds, it’s worth trying them. They often have a milder flavor than black chia seeds, making them a great option if you’re new to vegan baking. Once you feel confident with chia ‘eggs’, explore other vegan baking egg substitutes like flax eggs and store-bought substitutes. The first rule of vegan and allergen-friendly baking is taking ownership of the process and exploring new options with an open mind.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Blender Apple Muffins (Makes 8 standard muffins)
2 cups blanched almond flour
3 chia “eggs” (3 tablespoons of chia seeds stirred into 9 tablespoons of water)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 apple, unpeeled and shredded
Pepitas and raisins for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
- Measure all ingredients except apple into a blender or food processor. Blend until a thick, cohesive batter forms, approximately 30 seconds. Stir apple into mixture and portion batter out amongst eight muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a few pepitas and golden raisins if desired.
- Bake muffins for 30-35 minutes, or until set in the center and golden-brown. Cool muffins completely in pan on a wire rack. Eat at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw frozen muffins in the microwave.
- These muffins taste great when split and toasted under the broiler, especially if they’ve been in the refrigerator for a few days.
- Top muffins with vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, a slice of vegan cheese, or peanut butter and jam.
- If you don’t have brown rice syrup on hand and you’re not a strict vegan, feel free to use honey instead.
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