As someone who fumbles her words in delicate situations, I deeply admire those who possess an innate ability to say just the right thing at just the right time. I, on the contrary, tend to dig myself into an incoherent verbal hole. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a different love language more adept at communicating my sympathies—muffins. Today’s expression: Carrot Quinoa Muffins.
Whenever someone I love is faced with an emotional situation, happy or sad, my immediate inclination is to bake, and my go-to good is muffins (especially these Healthy Blueberry Muffins). Why?
In truth, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps it’s their homey simplicity and wholesome comfort that makes them a fitting means to convey my caring.
Muffins are also fairly quick and easy to stir together (like these Yogurt Muffins), meaning that I can more rapidly bake a batch to speak love on my behalf.
My latest “MuffinCare” (term to soon be trademarked) creation: carrot quinoa muffins.
5 Star Review
“These turned out great for me! I was looking for a healthy breakfast for my kids to eat at daycare and my kids loved them!”— Maureen —
These carrot quinoa muffins were a declaration of love/sympathy/you-should-probably-eat-something-healthy-ASAP for Ben when he was having a particularly toilsome week.
I reasoned that a batch of healthy quinoa muffins with carrots would be a welcome, bright addition to his day (these Banana Bran Muffins were also a contender).
I wasn’t sure how Ben would react to quinoa muffins, but he loved them (he also adored these Healthy Oatmeal Muffins). When I asked him if he could guess what the muffins were called, his immediate response was, “Darn Good Muffins.”
Except he didn’t say darn. His wording was a bit more…emphatic.
How to Make Carrot Quinoa Muffins
Made with toasty walnuts, cinnamon, and ginger, these quinoa muffins taste reminiscent of my Healthy Carrot Cake but are filling, good for you, and breakfast-approved.
- Shredded Carrot. Adds natural sweetness PLUS tons of vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and beta-carotene. (For another healthy carrot muffin recipe, try these Zucchini Carrot Muffins.)
- Quinoa. Cooked quinoa is stirred into the batter and provides a healthy dose of plant-based protein to power your morning breakfasts and afternoon snacks.
- Greek yogurt + Buttermilk. Make these healthy quinoa muffins with carrots ultra moist (like Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins).
- White Whole Wheat Flour. My favorite swap for healthy muffin recipes (like these Applesauce Muffins) that adds extra fiber and protein without weighing them down. If you don’t have white whole wheat flour you can also swap for an equal amount of all purpose flour.
- Brown Sugar. Just enough to sweeten these muffins to satisfy while keeping them healthy and wholesome.
- Cinnamon + Ginger. For a little carrot cake-esque spice to warm up the flavors. (When you’re ready for the real thing, try these Carrot Cake Cupcakes).
- If needed, cook the quinoa. You can also use leftover quinoa made the day before.
Be careful not to overcook or use more than the necessary amount of water. The quinoa grains should be tender but still separate, rather than mushy and clumped together.
- Whisk together the cooked quinoa with the dry ingredients.
- In a large measuring cup, beat together the wet ingredients
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Fold in the carrots and any desired mix-ins.
- Divide into a standard greased muffin pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let cool slightly before removing the muffins from the pan to cool completely. ENJOY!
I like to enjoy these easy carrot quinoa muffins plain or with a smear of peanut butter, apple butter, or a bit of softened, salted butter.
Tools Used to Make These Muffins
- Nonstick Muffin Tin. This pan has been my go-to muffin pan for many years.
- Stackable Mixing Bowls. Save space and give you the perfect-sized bowl for any kitchen task.
Are you having a rough day? This is me, virtually dropping a warm batch of carrot quinoa muffins on your doorstep. May they bring you joy and a very satisfied stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tried making these quinoa muffins gluten free before so it would be an experiment. Readers have reported swapping the white whole wheat flour for their favorite 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix with success, however, so it can be done. You could also use this Gluten Free Carrot Cake as a starting point.
No. I don’t know that I would recommend this swap since I fear it would make the muffin batter too moist. If you have kids (or partners) with an eye for hidden veggies in their food, you could try grating the carrots very finely so they are less visible in the final baked quinoa muffins.
Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of experience baking with quinoa flour so I can’t provide specific advice for making this muffin recipe with quinoa flour. If you have had luck swapping it for wheat-based flours in other muffins recipes, however, I imagine it could also be done here with a little experimentation.
Carrot Quinoa Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (see note)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (or melted, cooled coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly grated carrots lightly pressed dry
- 1/2 cup mix-ins: toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or other chopped dried fruit (I love a mix of walnuts and golden raisins)
- If needed, cook the quinoa. Be careful not to overcook or use more than the necessary amount of water. The quinoa grains should be tender but still separate, rather than mushy and clumped together. When ready to bake, preheat your oven oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or lightly coat with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cooked quinoa, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, beat together the egg, buttermilk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.
- Add the milk mixture to the quinoa mixture and stir by hand, just until combined. Gently fold in the carrots and any desired mix-ins.
- Divide among the muffin cups.
- Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently remove the muffins from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy plain or with a smear of peanut butter, apple butter, or a bit of softened, salted butter.
- NOTE ON SUGAR: These muffins are very lightly sweet. For a sweeter muffin, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup.
- TO STORE: Muffins may be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
- TO FREEZE: Store muffins in a ziptop freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then let come to room temperature before serving.
- For more muffin storage tips, check out my How to Store Muffins guide.
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