I love baked goods.
I would rather have a freshly baked scone or muffin than a piece of chocolate most days.
Add a cup of coffee and I am beside myself with joy.
Unfortunately, most muffins, scones, pancakes and waffles rank right up there with gas station hot dogs and red #40 when it comes to nutritional value.
Typical recipes for banana bread and zucchini muffins call for as much sugar and butter as cookies.
And the delicious pieces of pumpkin bread you can buy at the coffee shop down the road? Usually packed with hydrogenated oils.
Ten years ago I wouldn’t have cared about any of that and would have stuffed that entire pumpkin bread in my face. Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about healthy ingredients and my own body (no gluten for this girl unfortunately), which means I have to steer clear of my beloved baked goods most of the time.
I have tried all the replacements – vegan options, “low carb” options, paleo options – and most disappoint. I never found gluten free zucchini muffins that tasted like anything I wanted to eat. They were either not the right texture or really high in fat and calories. So I have treated myself with the occasional bite of pancake or pumpkin bread and accepted I would lead a life free of the joy and peace that is a freshly baked muffin.
The rise of the “paleo” diet and “gluten free” diets over the past few years has resulted in a plethora of baking recipes that are low-glycemic and flourless. I am really thankful for all the fun recipes that are being created to fill the need for so many people trying to find the occasional treat that meet their dietary restrictions!
Or, like most of us, those who just want to know we are putting something good in our bodies while we treat ourselves!
I’ve sifted through quite a few of these recipes over the years, weeding out the “pretending to be healthy but not really” and “are you kidding me?” varieties. I gave up after not really finding something practical for our lifestyle.
I mean I love eggs, but I can’t justify using six of them to make four muffins.
Recently I revisited the search because I specifically wanted something I could sneak veggies in and give to my young daughter. I came across a recipe for flour-less zucchini muffins and knew I might have the foundation for something awesome.
I made a few tweaks to keep them more toddler friendly and sneak in a few more nutrients, and they were a huge hit! My husband snuck in during snack time and the three of us proceeded to finish half the batch right out of the oven. The rest I put in an airtight container in the fridge where they kept beautifully. The original recipe mentioned the possibility of the muffins falling, but mine stayed nice and puffy. They were hearty, yet light and delicious. I know I’ll be making these many times in the future.
These muffins use almond butter as the base, which gives you a healthy dose of good fat and protein. You then add an entire cup of freshly shredded zucchini, as well as chia seeds, flax seeds and cinnamon.
Oh, and I might have snuck some chocolate chips in there for a few batches, as well.
If you have never baked without flour, get ready to be blown away! You will think there is NO WAY these muffins will rise when cooking.
They do and they are beautiful.
Follow the recipe and especially don’t skip the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. These two ingredients make the magic that helps the muffins rise. While the chia seeds are optional if you don’t have them on hand, I recommend using them because they help take in some of the moisture of the muffins. If you don’t use them, your muffins will just be a little more sticky.
You can play with some of the add-ins and see what works for you. I think chopped walnuts would be delicious for some texture and crunch, and next time I’m going to try adding mashed banana for some natural sweetness. This recipe does call for 1/4 cup of sweetener, and I use brown rice syrup. I absolutely love this sweetener as it’s naturally low-glycemic and a little less sweet than honey and maple syrup, but maple syrup is delicious to use as well and works great.
If you want to make them vegan or are allergic to eggs, replace each egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal or ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons water).
Try these gluten free zucchini muffins for yourself and your kids! You won’t be disappointed, and your house will smell like freshly baked bread all day. It’s a win-win!
Gluten Free, Grain Free Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup zucchini grated and then squeezed free of excess liquid
- 1 cup creamy no salt almond butter (you can substitute any nut butter, but I love the sweet taste of the almond butter)
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup you can use maple syrup as a replacement
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds you can leave these out if you don't have them, but your muffins will be a little stickier
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or other preferred dried fruit
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a regular sized muffin tin (either with muffin liners or by spraying the tin with cooking spray). Add all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Fill your muffin tin with the mixture. (I filled each compartment almost all the way full and got 9 muffins). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are light brown. Take them out of the oven and let the tray and muffins cool completely. Use a butter knife to gently take the muffins out of the tin and cool them completely before storing.
- I personally had no problem with sticking of the muffins, but do make sure they are completely cool before taking out of the tin. Also, they will stay a little sticky on top, so they are best stored in the fridge or freezer.
- Note to parents - this recipe has a few ingredients that are not recommended for kids under one. You would want to avoid the egg whites and honey for these youngsters.