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.
Healthy Power Muffins that Happen to Be Vegan, Gluten-Free & Nut-Free!
Unlike the original power muffins, this is a vegan (egg-free!) and gluten-free muffin recipe (made with buckwheat flour instead of spelt). My recipe also 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 without gluten.
Beyond breakfast, we’ve found these plant-based 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!
Special Diet Notes: Gluten-Free Power Muffins
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1¼ cups buckwheat flour
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (reduce to ¼ teaspoon above 3000 feet)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1⅓ 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!)
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF and grease or line 9 muffin cups (unless you are using silicone muffin cups; they work best ungreased).
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buckwheat, tapioca, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, blend the banana, oil, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla until relatively smooth with just some small banana lumps remaining.
- Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
- Stir in the hemp seeds and chocolate.
- 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!).
- Serve with hot tea or pack along in lunch boxes.