A normal conversation between me and a friend–
Me: “La, la, la. I’m eating a big bowl of quinoa salad for lunch. Yum yum!” Friend: “What on earth is kin-ow-a and why does it look like little white worms invading tiny UFOs?” Me: “No, no, you silly goose, it’s pronounced keen-wa and it’s an ancient whole grain dating back to the Incans containing all nine essential amino acids higher levels of protein, fiber, and loads of other minerals than any other whole grain.” Friend: “Fascinating! But what does it taste like?” Me: “Freakin delicious! Chewy, nutty, and slightly toasted, quinoa is yet another example of good-and-good-for-you vegan food.” Friend: “I want to eat quinoa everyday!” Me: “A top-notch idea, friend. Quinoa is great as a whole grain salad, tossed with greens, stirred into soups or stews, or used in baked goods such as in the recipe below.”
Apricot Almond Quinoa Muffins (Gluten Free if using GF flours, Oil Free)
Makes 48 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins.
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1/2 very ripe banana, mashed (or frozen and microwaved for 30 seconds)
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup amaranth flour
- 1/2 cup GF oat flour (these are two whole-grain flours that I just happened to have. Feel free to use any kind you want–whole wheat and all-purpose flour are fine.)
- 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour (give your almonds a whirl in the food processor until they turn into a fine powder if you don’t have almond flour on hand.)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa (see directions below)
- 1/2 cup (about 16) finely chopped dried apricots
First, cook the quinoa. Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat completely and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and allow to cool slightly before adding to the muffin batter.
Now for the actual muffin part! Preheat the oven to 350°F and fill 48 mini muffin tins or 12 regular tins with paper muffin cups or just lightly oil the tins.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soy milk and flax meal. Allow to sit for 1 minute, then whisk in the mashed banana, agave nectar, and vanilla.
In a separate large bowl, sift together the flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and spices.
Add the wet ingredients to the dy, mixing until just incorporated. Gently fold in the cooked quinoa and the apricots and mix only until the large lumps are gone.
Scoop the batter (about 2 tsp per mini muffin, a little less than 1/4 cup per regular muffin), into the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (15 minutes for mini muffins, 20 minutes for regular muffins).
Probably among the healthiest baked goods you’ll ever pop into your mouth, these muffins are moist, dense, chewy, not overly sweet, and absolutely perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a lovely snack washed down with some soy milk. Even my 8-year-old cousin loved them. Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.