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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato Banana Muffins (with Quinoa!)

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins - Healthy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Vegan

Sometimes I don't know where I get my ideas from. My Mum doesn't bake, my Nanna struggles to get a packet mix right and the only person who I ever cooked sweet things with was my neighbour Audrey when I was four. 

But somehow, I found a way to light the baking spark inside me - and I can't. stop. baking. 

For Jesse, that baking habit is a very.... fufilling habit to have. Why? Because he gets to sample all of the different things I bake and make. 

Sometimes, however, I can't tell him what's in the things that I bake. 

Quinoa Sweet Potato Banana Muffins - Healthy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Vegan
"Oooh, something smells good - what are they?" he'll say as he walks into the house after a day at work. 

"Oh, nothing.. just some banana muffins" I say... leaving off the sweet potato and quinoa.

"They're a bit orange though?" he questions. I have to think fast...

"Whole grains... you know.. flaxseeds and polenta and stuff..." It's okay to fib, I tell myself, because I'll tell him after he's eaten one

And before I know it, a muffin is in his hand and quickly disappears. "Oh yum, baby.. these are good" he says. 

This is when I start doing an internal victory dance, screaming SUCCCEEEEEEESSSSS in my head.

"Oh, Jesse? I forgot to tell you.. they have sweet potato in them.." I say, quietly. 

"Really? Sweet potato? But they taste like banana muffins... and they're good" he says. "Yep - and quinoa too" I add.  "No way"

Yes way. These muffins are filled with healthy ingredients and have no added fat or refined sugars - but they are so good. Which just goes to show - most of the times it's the healthy misconceptions that turn people off good food - but if you don't push those healthy benefits, people are more inclined to try things. 

My family and friends know that every sweet and baked good that comes out of my kitchen is a healthier version - but by now, they know that I wouldn't feed them anything that tastes anything other than amazing.

These muffins are perfect for kids and fussy eaters - and it also makes a delicious cake or quick bread that's perfect on it's own or topped with some cream cheese frosting. If you want to keep things healthy, my favourite cream cheese "frosting" is simple a mix of reduced fat cream cheese and maple syrup. Taste as you go and don't add to much maple syrup - I only use a tiny bit to lightly sweeten it.

Sweet Potato Banana Quinoa Muffins - Healthy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Vegan

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins - makes 12  
gluten free, vegan, clean eating friendly, low fat, healthy, can be refined sugar free or completely sugar free

2 1/2 tbsp dry quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup polenta/cornmeal*
2/3 cup + 2 tbsp plain flour/gluten free flour
2 tbsp flaxseeds, ground
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup pureed sweet potatoes**
2 bananas, mashed 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/sugar/sweetener of choice***
Optional: spices/nuts/mix ins of your choice

Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F
Prepare muffins tins or a medium loaf pan or cake tin
In a bowl, combine flour, cooked quinoa, cornmeal, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, mash banana and add in sweet potato puree, applesauce, vanilla and honey/sweetener (if using - see tips).
Mix wet ingredients together until combined.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 
Pour your batter into muffin tins or your prepared pan and bake for around 20-25 minutes for muffins or 40-50 minutes for a cake or loaf. 
Leave to cool before removing from tins.

*If making these gluten free, ensure you use both gluten free flour and gluten free polenta
**I simply peel sweet potatoes, wrap them in baking paper and then foil and bake them until they're soft. Once they're cooked, I puree them with my Masha or in the food processor and pop them in the fridge. If you don't use all of the puree, simply freeze it for later - but ours never lasts that long! You can also boil/microwave the sweet potato if you prefer.
***I find with all of the fruit, these are sweet enough - but it's up to you!

So tell me, do you have a healthy dish that everyone loves - but doesn't necessarily know it's healthy? 

Now my family and friends kind of expect they're getting a healthier version, even though it tastes incredible - but I often get comments like "there's no way this doesn't have butter" or "well this is going to go straight to my butt!" when it's actually a healthier version!

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  1. This breakfast idea sounds like something I must try! Loved the way you presented this. Very neat blog and awesome recipes, I must say!! :)

  2. You are awesome! Have you ever tried to substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato? I'm a pumpkin nut and tis the season... I think I'll try it! ;)

    1. Oh shucks - thank you! I have switched the sweet potato for pumpkin and they're delicious! xx

  3. I can't have corn. might try these with oatmeal instead?

    1. Hi Tina,
      I've never tried it with oatmeal so I'm not sure how it would work, but you can definitely give it a try! I'd probably try grinding the oatmeal into out flour as it will be closer to the polenta texture.


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