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!) (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 Protein Muffins
Gluten-free, low-sugar, and delicious!
Makes 12 muffins
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Mix your dry ingredients (protein powder through cinnamon) together in a medium-sized bowl. (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!)
- In a (separate) large bowl, mash your banana with a fork until the large chunks are removed.
- 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?!
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients, add orange zest, and continue stirring until combined and equally moist.
- Spoon muffin batter into a muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake muffins for about 15 minutes at 350, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
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?