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Carrot & Quinoa Muffins

Hello?  Are you still reading?  I was worried that I would lose a number of you immediately after you read the title of this post.  I, too, was a skeptic.  When J mentioned Carrot & Quinoa Muffins as one of the many items in her Kentucky Derby party spread, I stared at them in disbelief.  I've never been a huge fan of carrots in baked goods and, frankly, they sounded too healthy to be good.  I should have known better than to doubt J, the woman who introduced me to my all-time favorite Kale and Pear Salad.

My Dad had the same reaction to these muffins.  I offered to send him home with a few and he wrinkled his nose at me like he wouldn't possibly enjoy them.  Then he tried one.  He left our place with a bag full of muffins.  Later, my Mom called for the recipe.

 What I'm trying to say is do not be dissuaded by the healthful ingredients in these muffins.  The carrot flavor is subtle.  The coconut oil provides undertones of coconut, but nothing overpowering.  The quinoa gives the muffins a wonderful texture.  These are dynamite. 

I've made these three times and have a few tips as a result.  First, I think the coconut oil makes a huge difference in how these taste and I'd recommend using it.  I found mine at Sunflowers Market and I am sure they have it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  The first time I made these, I used 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil.  The muffins tasted great but were a bit greasy.  The second time around, I made these with butter and I frankly didn't like them as much. The third time (I know...ridiculous), I made them with 1/3 cup of coconut oil and they were tasty and less greasy.  Finally,don't overfill the muffin cups!  3/4 of the way full produces lovely muffins that stay in the confines of their wrappers.  Trust me on this one... 

Carrot & Quinoa Muffins
Yield = 16 muffins
Adapted from Fresh365 

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (all-purpose flour works well, too)
3/4 cup almond flour (again, all-purpose flour works well, too, but I like mixing in almond flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter if you prefer)
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup loosely-packed, grated carrots
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil (allow to cool), Greek yogurt, vanilla, and eggs.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well.  Gently fold in the carrots and walnuts until just mixed.

Divide batter evenly such that none of the muffin tins is filled more than 3/4 full.  For me, this yielded 16 muffins.  Transfer the muffins to the oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Reader Comments (23)

I've been in a serious quinoa state of mind/stomach recently, so once unlike you and your dad I got really excited when I saw Carrot Quinoa muffins. Have you tried substituting any other sweeteners for the 1 cup of sugar? I wonder if raw cane sugar, or maple syrup would work. I've been trying to think of white sugar substitues recently....

These look delicious! I will definitely try them out the next time I make quinoa

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertalley

Talley, I have been making quinoa constantly, too! These are so, so good. I think I was just a bit put off by healthy they sounded. What does that say about me? I made one batch of these with brown sugar instead of white sugar but I haven't tried anything else yet. Let me know if you make them with maple syrup or maybe agave?

Happy weekend!

May 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

These look so moist and delicious Darcy! I need to experiment with coconut oil — I seem to be seeing it everywhere and it sounds as though it works wonders. Also, I love almond flour. It's such a great ingredient to have on hand. Thanks for sharing and for sharing the Fresh365 blog — so beautiful!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterali

ok, I just ate two of these and am having to restrain myself from going for a third. Wow! Excellent recipe. Also, I was happy to have an excuse to finally buy coconut oil. Like Ali, I have been seeing it in lots of recipes recently too. Thanks so much for sharing!

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

Jackie, so glad you liked these! I felt like this was a risky post because these certainly are a quirky muffin and I think people could really dislike these. So far, however, the reviews have been great! My friend M made them yesterday and reported back that she thinks you could use even less coconut oil so I'll try that next time.

The only other thing I've used coconut oil for were some granola bars and it was awesome in those - the coconut flavor was delicious and it helps them stick together.

May 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I made these last night, and my husband and I both ate two and had to resist going back for more - they are so good! It's shocking! Any idea of the nutritional values per serving? I am fooling myself by pretending they are a true "health" food. But i guess the sugar is really the only "bad" thing in them, so I'll take it - it's better than they sugar bombs from starbucks or coffee bean!

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Kim, I am thrilled that you enjoyed these! I put the information from the recipe into Calorie-Count ( and the result was 215 calories per muffin (if you made 16). These are high in saturated fat because of the coconut oil, but my understanding is that coconut oil is a "good" fat (e.g., like avocados, olive oil, and nuts). These had 12.5 grams of sugar per muffin - you could obviously reduce that if you think they are sweet enough. Hope that helps! Either way, I am positive they are much better for you than most things you can get at Starbucks (and hopefully you think they taste better, too).

May 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

thanks so much for the nutritional info! this is a great on-the-go breakfast for me :)

May 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkim

I used 3 cups of 100% whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup honey instead of sugar. I also added about 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. They came out delicious!

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

Laurie, so glad you tried these and enjoyed them. You've reminded me that I love these muffins and I should make them again - it has been too long.

October 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I made these this morning, my pantry dictated some substitutions, which I don't normally like to do the first time I make something, but they looked too good not to try! I used 3/4 cup each of spelt flour and oatmeal flour, and sadly had no yogurt so threw in some sour cream instead. Also used 3/4 cup brown sugar instead of the cup of white, and increased the carrot to about 1 1/4 cups, which I pulsed in the food processor so it was really finely grated. They were SO GOOD! thanks!

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Sarah, so glad you tried these and enjoyed them! I think this recipe is super versatile so way to go with trying different flours, brown sugar, etc. Aren't these surprisingly delicious? You've inspired me to make another batch this weekend...

November 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I used 1/4 cup of oat bran in place of almond flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar (no white sugar), 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts/dried cranberries mix, 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cup white flour, and 1/2 cup of pineapple Chobani.

These were so good...thanks for sharing!

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkeiko

Keiko, I love the idea of pineapple Chobani - yum. I'll have to try that. Thanks for your comment.

January 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I am making this today and am so glad I saw the post above. I think I'll be switching the sugar and adding the pineapple Chobani! I'll let you know how it turns out. This looks like such a yummy recipe.

I have made these muffins twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly except for using 3/4 cup sugar instead of 1 cup and adding in 2 tsp vanilla extract. We were having a play date at our home and all the kids and other mom liked them a lot. Today I made them again with my 4 year old. We used 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup oat bran, 1/4 cup ground flax seeds, 1 1/4 cup packed shredded carrots, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tsp vanilla kids (4 y/o & 2 y/o) each ate 5 muffins today! Both times they were a big hit.

May 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterj.t.

J.T. - Thanks for your post! I'm so happy to hear that such a wide range of people liked the muffins. And thanks for sharing the ingredients you used. I haven't made these muffins in ages but I think it is time I do it again...

Sally, did you try making these? I still haven't made them with the pineapple Chobani but I'd love to hear what you think.

May 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

These are in the oven, only two changes 1/3 the sugar and almond extract because I'm out of vanilla. My 1 yr old loves muffins so trying these!

June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

Paula, how did the muffins turn out? Did you like them? They are still a favorite of mine!

June 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

What about substituting coconut flour or garbanzo bean flour for the all purpose to make them grain free?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFran

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