Developing recipes that are both delicious and nutritious is both a challenge and a goal. The true test is if family (especially kids), friends, and/or guests comment on the health of the recipe, or identify what they are eating as “healthy” (as if that were an ugly word). The greatest joy is when my food is eaten with joy and gusto without questioning. I am not tricking people into eating healthy food. Rather, my aim is simply not to raise any questions and make people believe good food is healthy.
Muffins are a great treat for a birthday breakfast or a party brunch. But just because you are celebrating doesn’t mean you have to pollute your body with processed white flour and sugar. The whole wheat flour in these muffins adds an earthy flavor and some extra nutrition points, and the applesauce replaces the traditional white sugar sweetener while adding an uncompromised moistness. The result is delicious muffins that far exceed traditional muffins in terms of health and ability to satiate. In a blind taste test between my favorite “traditional” blueberry muffins and these vegan blueberry muffins, I am happy to report that these won by a landslide. No one—neither kids nor guests—will look at you funny for serving healthy muffins because, quite simply, no one will know the difference!
Vegan Blueberry Muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can substitute almond extract)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together water, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then gently fold in blueberries.
- Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Vegan Cranberry Muffins. Gently fold fresh or frozen cranberries into the mixture. This variation adds a great tangy taste!
- Vegan Blueberry-Nut Muffins. For an extra punch of nutrition, add a half cup of chopped walnuts to the dry mixture. Walnuts add a dash of protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as a nice crunch to your muffin.
- Vegan Lemon-Blueberry Muffins. Add the zest of 1 lemon to the dry ingredients and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the wet ingredients.
If you are nervous baking with whole wheat flour or if you are trying to rid your pantry of white flour to officially make the switch to whole wheat, you can use half whole wheat and half white flour.
According to the United States Highbush Blueberry Council , blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fruit, vegetable, spice, or seasoning. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals—atoms or molecules caused by exposure to pollutants like smoke, toxins, and pesticides—that wreak havoc on your overall health by causing cellular damage. This cellular damage is one of the key causes of aging and disease.
And if long-term benefits are not enough to start popping these berries, then perhaps consider the fact that just one cup of blueberries delivers a great dose of fiber (approximately 14 percent of the recommended daily dose) and vitamin C (nearly a quarter of the recommended daily intake) into your diet.
Craving blueberry muffins in the middle of winter? Instead of buying blueberries from abroad—where they are often sprayed with pesticides—try organic frozen berries. This switch not only saves you from pesticide exposure but also saves you money and increases the overall health value of your muffins. Frozen fruit is picked at peak season to maintain the maximum health value of the fruit, so don’t be afraid to venture into the freezer section of your grocery store to go fruit shopping!