Now, now..I know that is not the tastiest sounding muffin ever, but hear me out. My husband has turned vegetarian this year because of health reasons, and he’s normally a meat and potatoes kinda guy. I wanted to make the transition easier for him, and for me too so I decided that we will both be mostly vegetarians at home. I will just get my carnivore on when we’re eating out or when I’m hanging out with friends. At that time, I was actually looking to eat healthier so it was a good kick in the behind to get started.
Like anything else I did, I dove headfirst into the world of vegetarian cooking and it’s actually been a fun challenge! Quinoa, tofu, seitan, and veggie brands like Quorn and Morningstar are my new friends and are great substitutes to get that ‘meat’ texture. Tempeh is the only one in this fake meat world that I’ve tried many different ways and it’s just a consistent FAIL so I have given up on that. I have learned to cook with new vegetables that I have never used before and found a newfound love for beets, spaghetti squash and eggplant. Spinach is also on the banned list so hello to swiss chard and kale.
In the quest for recipe books with healthy recipes that I can use in our new healthy lifestyle, I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good”. The intro is a tad too dramatic but look past that and you’ll find a cookbook that actually has some healthy, and delicious recipes you’ll make over and over. It’s very much a beginner’s type of cookbook, but has a lot of recipes that are interesting, easy and not too many ingredients. One of these interesting recipes is the vegan Banana Date Muffins, touted in the book as “…a comforting chord for people who adore banana bread.” Yes, that spoke directly to me and when I found myself with a few overripe bananas, I figured it’s time to test this claim.
I did not have pumpkin seeds on hand so I used walnuts instead which provided the balancing crunch and that comforting feel and taste of traditional banana bread. It just came out so moist and perfect and something that I think both vegan and non-vegans will like. It makes for a great breakfast with some coffee, or for a snack with a cold glass of milk. Yum! Next time I think I’ll try it with some chocolate chips for a more luxurious, vegetarian version. Enjoy!
Vegan Banana Date Spelt Muffins
(adapted from It’s all Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen)
2 cups spelt flour plus 1 Tbsp
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 t sea salt
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
healthy pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped (I used about 8 dates)
1/2 c walnuts or pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. In another large bowl, combine the bananas, oil, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend both wet and dry ingredients. Toss the extra tablespoon of flour with the chopped walnuts and dates, and fold into the batter. Pour batter into tins, about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are browned. Use a toothpick to check for doneness, it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.