Healthy Power Muffins (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

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Alisa Fleming ~ For years I’ve been attempting to replicate the Power Muffins of the former Capers grocery stores in Vancouver B.C. Those very dense muffins were an entire meal, and an indulgence that Tony and I enjoyed once a week with a big mug of hot tea after a leisurely walk. When Whole Foods took them over, they attempted to keep the power muffin legacy, but their version just didn’t measure up. The healthy gluten-free muffin recipe below is by no means identical to those original power muffins (which were made with spelt flour and quite a bit of oil!), but they truly reminded me of them and gave that same comfort food feeling.

Vegan Power Muffins - Healthy Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

Unlike the original power muffins, this is a vegan (egg-free!) and gluten-free muffin recipe (made with buckwheat flour instead of spelt) that has less oil and less added sweetener, so they can be enjoyed nearly every day, rather than as an occasional indulgence.

However, there are a few special ingredients that make this dairy-free and gluten-free muffin recipe reminiscent of power muffins past. First are the shelled hemp seeds (I use the Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest). These little morsels are a textural delight. If you don’t have any hemp hearts on hand, the muffins will still be good, but not quite as powerful. Second is my husband’s favorite ingredient, dark chocolate chunks. And finally, the hearty whole grains. I was actually a bit surprised at how the buckwheat almost mimicked the earthy flavor of spelt, but sans gluten.

Beyond breakfast, we’ve found these vegan power muffins to be a great portable snack. They go well in lunch boxes or supply packs for a day out hiking or on the ski slopes. I’ve included a few notes on how to adapt these muffins, if desired, but we love them as is. Enjoy!

Vegan Power Muffins - Healthy Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

5 from 1 reviews
Healthy Gluten-Free Power Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These are very hearty muffins, just the way we like them. If you prefer healthy muffins that are a touch lighter, and you aren't vegan or allergic to eggs, you can blend in 1 large egg with the wet ingredients. But truthfully, we prefer the egg-free version. For us, wholesome and hearty is what usually hits the spot!
Author:
Serves: 9 hearty muffins
Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cups buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (1/4 teaspoon above 3000 feet)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups mashed banana (3 to 4 bananas)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (or your favorite baking oil)
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (for vegan) (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup Hemp Hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
  • ⅓ cup chopped dairy-free dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cacao nibs, or a combination (we've liked all three!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and grease or line 9 muffin cups (unless you are using silicone muffin cups; they work best ungreased).
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buckwheat, tapioca, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, blend the banana, oil, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla until relatively smooth with just some small banana lumps remaining.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  5. Stir in the hemp seeds and chocolate.
  6. Divide the batter between the 9 muffin cups, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until slightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (well, aside from possible a little melted chocolate!).
  7. Serve with hot tea or pack along in lunch boxes.
Notes
We use just ¼ cup honey in this recipe, which makes them just sweet enough, and not too sweet for enjoying in the morning. If you like muffins a touch sweeter then you can increase the honey or maple syrup to ⅓ cup.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

55 Comments

  1. I loooooove these. Really the best allergy friendy muffin I have made. I have been making these for years now. My favorite flour to use is food for life sprouted buckwheat flour because it is just a touch lighter than regular buckwheat flour. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!

  2. You can make a flax “egg” or chia ” egg” by soaking 1 TBS chia or flax meal with 3 TBS warm water (per egg) for 10 minutes instead of using chicken eggs.

  3. Hi there

    Great recipe, the very first that stands up to gluten-containing cakes that I’ve tried.

    One question, if using nibs, do I grind down completely, partially or leave whole?

    Thanks

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  10. BLESS YOU! I needed an allergen-free muffin recipe for my 5 year old free of wheat, dairy, egg and cane sugar and the texture is better than any I’ve found so far. I like the fact that there is a not a super strong banana flavor. I can’t wait to try different variations (swapping in pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice… applesauce…. peach puree… peanut butter and cocoa powder….) For other cook’s reference, I got great results swapping out the hemp hearts for ground flax seed I had on hand and arrowroot powder for the tapioca flour.

  11. HI Alisa: These look really great. And I agree that Whole Foods has made these muffins too sweet, and overall heavy, so that afterwards one feels sick, rather than empowered!

    One question: I would like to know a good substitute for tapioca, that is not corn starch, which I do not use. Would arrowroot flour work? Or something healthier than that? I’m not averse to using eggs. Also, would apple sauce work as well as bananas/

    thanks, Sue

    • Hi Sue, in general, any starch (arrowroot, corn or potato) should work in place of the tapioca with slight variation – we just like the tapioca best as it is lighter than cornstarch and less expensive than arrowroot.

      Applesauce “should” work well, but it does tend to be more watery than bananas (and less sweet), so I would keep an eye on the consistency and taste test. I like pureed pumpkin better as an alternative. If you wish to use eggs, you could trial reducing the fruit puree to 1 cup and adding 2 medium to large eggs.

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  16. This is definitely a winner, Alisa. I love the idea of these power muffins and I’m thinking I have all the ingredients on hand. We’re headed out of town for a very short road trip Wednesday. These will be in our cooler! Thanks. What a great recipe!
    Melissa

  17. Hi Alisa:

    I would love to try these muffins. What is a good replacement for the tapioca flour? I’m not gf, so do not stock these gf ingredients. I also do not use eggs.

    Has anyone tried subbing a flaxmeal goop for the tapioca flour?

    Many thanks

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