Gluten-free, light and tender muffins made from the ancient grain quinoa and flavored with winter fruit and spice.
One of the easiest ways to improve our diets is to replace recipes that call for all-purpose flour with ones that call for whole grain flours. Many people need to make this switch because of food allergies, and others simply want to eat more healthfully. Fortunately, food companies large and small have answered the demand and are now producing whole grain flours that were once considered esoteric. Quinoa flour is one such flour and my grocery store just started carrying it so I couldn’t resist grabbing a bag and with it, I made gluten-free Cranberry Orange Quinoa Zucchini Muffins. These seasonal muffins are flavored with winter fruit and spice and are really delicious!
Most people are familiar with cooked quinoa in salads and side dishes, but very few people realize that you can use quinoa in baked goods too if you grind the raw grains into flour. Quinoa flour isn’t a good substitute for all-purpose flour in every recipe, but it works particularly well in muffins and quick breads. These Cranberry Orange Quinoa Zucchini Muffins are proof! If you can’t find quinoa flour, and prefer not to buy it on-line, you can save money and make your own by grinding the raw grains to a fine powder in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix.
Although quinoa is commonly referred to as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that’s harvested from the goosefoot plant and is officially categorized as a pseudo-cereal even though, botanically speaking, it’s more closely related to spinach and beets. Another unique attribute of quinoa is that it’s one of the few plant foods considered to be a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the “essential” amino acids our bodies need for optimum health. We make “nonessential” amino acids on our own, but we can only get “essential” amino acids from food. One other reason to love quinoa is that it’s rich in potassium, a key mineral that helps maintain the proper balance of fluids in our bodies, sends nerve signals, and regulates muscle contractions. Yay for super nutritious quinoa, the main ingredient in Cranberry Orange Quinoa Zucchini Muffins!
One can never have too many muffins recipes so if you’re a muffin fan add this one to your recipe box! And if you’d like to see more quinoa recipes check out: Lemony Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Basil Cheddar Quinoa Meatballs Sheet Pan Meal, Curried Cranberry Cashew Quinoa, Turkey Cheddar Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, Baked Quinoa Chia Pancakes, Pepita Quinoa Chia Bread, Spinach Parmesan Quinoa, Thin and Crispy Quinoa Crust Pizza, Quinoa Lace Cookies, and Quinoa Cannellini Cakes.
If you make Cranberry Orange Quinoa Zucchini Muffins don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
Cranberry Orange Quinoa Zucchini Muffins
- 2 cups quinoa flour
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice and zest from one orange
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 6 ounces) with as much liquid squeezed out as possible (see notes #1)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts toasted
- 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar optional garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick paper baking cups (see notes #2).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- Measure the orange juice and add enough water to equal one cup. Add this to the flour mixture along with the eggs and avocado oil. Stir until well combined. Fold in the zest, zucchini, cranberries, and walnuts. (Batter will be quite liquidy.)
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake on the bottom rack of the over for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before peeling off the paper liners. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
2. There is very little fat is this recipe so the muffins will stick to the liners unless you use non-stick baking cups. If you can’t find non-stick baking cups, spray each cup lightly with cooking spray. NUTRITION FACTS - Serving size: 1 muffin, Calories: 292, Fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 1g, Unsaturated fat: 9g, Trans fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 48g, Sugar: 13g, Sodium: 220mg, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 5g, Cholesterol: 48mg
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