Lately, I’ve been drooling over recipes for summery, fruity muffins – they’ve been popping up on blogs, on Pinterest, and in magazines, and I was determined to create some for myself.  I’m the first to admit that I love a good muffin, but some readily available options are deceptively unhealthy (take Dunkin’ Donuts’ Coffee Cake Muffin, for example, which has 590 calories, 24g fat, and 51g sugar!  You could have 11 Double Cocoa Creme Puff munchkins for less nutritional damage!)  dunkin no(picture source)

Those options are fine for an every-once-in-a-while treat, but I wanted to make a muffin that I could feel good about including in my daily diet.  I was going for something with a hint of sweetness, but not too sweet to enjoy for breakfast.  I wanted to challenge myself to step out of my “baking comfort zone” (berries! vanilla! chocolate!) and try a more creative flavor profile.  Lastly, I baked these on Sunday, the same day I warned you about places that added sugars sneak into your diet, so I wanted to avoid dumping in a bunch of added sugar!  And even better, why not include a hit of protein to fill me up?  With these criteria in mind … my Orange Almond Protein muffins were born!  Enjoy! orange almond muffins thelyonsshare

Orange Almond Protein Muffins

Gluten-free, low-sugar, and delicious!

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • About 50g vanilla/ unflavored protein powder (I used 2 packets of ViShape “Sweet Cream” flavor, but I think my beloved Vega Vanilla Chai would be good here, too!)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or almond “flour” … it’s basically ground almonds and I got mine from the bulk bins of Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour (a great gluten-free alternative to regular flour, but I’m sure regular flour would work in a pinch, if you’re not gluten-free)
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2t olive oil
  • 4T unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I’m sure regular milk would work fine)
  • 2-3T freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 6T liquid egg whites (this is what I had; you could substitute 2 whole eggs or 2T chia seeds soaked in 6T water)
  • 1/2T almond extract
  • 1t fresh orange zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients (protein powder through cinnamon) together in a medium-sized bowl. dry ingredients (I have a strange thing for putting everything in bowls that are juuuuust right, which is probably where my habit of eating cereal out of coffee mugs comes in!  But take my advice – make it easier on yourself and just use a bigger bowl!) dry ingredients mixed
  3. In a (separate) large bowl, mash your banana with a fork until the large chunks are removed. mashed banana
  4. Add wet ingredients (olive oil through almond extract) to the large bowl with the banana, and stir to combine.  I don’t have a juicer, so I squeezed a fresh orange by hand, which was quite messy!  But you “do what you gotta do,” right?!wet ingredients
  5. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients, add orange zest, and continue stirring until combined and equally moist.
  6. Spoon muffin batter into a muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray. muffin tin filled
  7. Bake muffins for about 15 minutes at 350, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. orange almond muffin

Let them cool (if you can wait!) and dig in!  I’ve enjoyed these muffins warm with a smear of almond butter, crumbled over my favorite yogurt breakfast, or plain old room temperature.  They’re all delicious!

If made according to this recipe, the muffins have 89 calories, just under 4g (heart-healthy!) fat, 9g carbs, only 2g sugar, and 5g protein!

So tell me in the comments … what recipe would you like to see next?

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6 Comments

  1. Caitlin on July 12, 2013 at 11:58 am

    i really like the presentation in your photo and these sound wonderful! i prefer a heartier breakfast pastry (if i eat one at all) like a scone but a muffin like this would work too.

    • Megan Lyons on July 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Aw, thanks Caitlin! My photography obviously has a loooong ways to go but I’m improving! I also need a heartier breakfast than just this – I loved the muffin crumbled on top of my regular pumpkin/ Greek yogurt/ chia/ cinnamon combination, but it wouldn’t sustain me by itself for a meal. It was a great snack on its own (or with almond butter), though!

  2. Katie on July 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    These look so yummy! I have a friend recently diagnosed with celiac disease, I’m going to make these for her since they are gluten free! 🙂

    • Megan Lyons on July 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      That is so nice, Katie! Here is an (unsolicited, sorry!) tip: when I make things for people with food allergies/ intolerances – like your friend with celiac disease – I like to attach a little tag to the outside that lists out the ingredients I used. It’s good for providing comfort that you actually understand what gluten-free means. (To relate it to your situation, doing this prevents something like “oh, this is vegetarian, I used chicken/ shrimp” 🙂 ).

      • Katie on July 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm

        Great idea! (Especially since after I wrote this I thought I remembered my friend’s children have nut allergies, and confirmed that with her today. Any ideas on a substitution for almond meal?

        • Megan Lyons on July 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm

          Wow, what a challenge for that family! You could just use all quinoa flour, or mix 1/2 and 1/2 with brown rice flour. I think they would be a bit fluffier/ less dense this way, but I’m still learning. There is also some gluten free imitation flour made by Bob’s Red Mill (made from potatoes, sorghum, tapioca, fava beans, and chickpeas). I’ve never tried this, but I like a lot of the Bob’s products. For a twist, you could use coconut flour (I’m not sure if her kids would be allergic to that?) – it definitely gives a hint of coconut taste, but the texture would be more similar to almond meal. For the almond extract, the McCormick’s brand does NOT contain actual nuts, but it would be worth checking the package (or you could just skip that, and maybe add vanilla for a slightly different flavor?). Let me know what you try!

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