This week was a special one for us. Our little Mila munchkin turned one! I can’t believe she’s already been in our lives for 365 whole days, it’s crazy. I still remember trying to get pregnant, and now all of a sudden she’s a full blown toddler. Crawling, standing, talking like crazy, walking around every piece of furniture she can find, and in a few weeks no doubt taking those first few steps on her very own. She’s also just started at pre school three days a week – so yes our little baby is fast becoming a big girl!
To celebrate I wanted to create a special recipe for her, something that was sweet, a little bit girly and birthday-cake like, but that she could hold in her own two hands. Because I’m not a baby any more mama so don’t try feeding me that vege mush. I also wanted to make something that was really genuinely healthy, so I wouldn’t feel apprehensive if she took two, three or ten of them off the plate. Importantly, I also wanted these muffins to be something you’d want to make too (my not so baby-aged readers!), so they needed to be delicious, full of flavour and texture, and the type of muffin that I’d happily recommend eating for breakfast, every day if you wanted. And oh how they are!
The result of my experimentations are these gorgeously moist Beetroot and Blueberry Muffins. They’re entirely wheat free, dairy free, egg free and vegan, have no refined or added sugars whatsoever, are only very lightly sweetened with natural bananas and a few dates, and are made with a beautiful whole foods base of buckwheat, oats and almonds. What’s more, they pack five full cups of fresh fruit and vegetables in the mix, so you can feel rather gallant feeding these both to your littlies and to yourself!
As I’ve mentioned before, I love sneaking veges into recipes. Not just for kids but for us adults too! And so these muffins contain two jam packed cups of beetroot in them, which gives them a lovely earthiness, a hint of sweetness, and a lovely moist texture. People often put carrots in muffins, but have you ever thought of adding beetroot? You must try it!
This recipe is super easy to put together too – all you need is 15 minutes plus another 18 minutes to bake (just enough time to do a dance and make a cup of tea). Voila – the perfect breakfast, afternoon tea, healthy dessert or miniature hand-friendly baby food. Oops, I mean toddler.
Blueberries – an antioxidant boost and baby favourite
One other thing I was aiming for when devising these muffins was that they contain some of Mila’s favourite foods – bananas, oats, dates, beetroot and… blueberries. My goodness does she love blueberries. Her eyes light up with excitement merely upon seeing the container being retrieved from the fridge! I tried an experiment one time to see if she’d tire of them – handed her a whole full container and let her go for it. Sure enough she polished off the lot. All $7.99 worth!
I can’t complain though, as blueberries have a host of nutritional benefits. One key of which being that they’re one of the highest antioxidant fresh foods we have readily available to us. But what really is an antioxidant? Essentially, an anti-oxidant is just that – it works to prevent oxidation. It donates one of its electrons to the many free radicals we have in our body, caused by stress, pollution, poor diet and toxin exposure. These free radicals are highly reactive and cause oxidative damage in the body, aka aging. To counter this, these friendly antioxidants hand over one of their electrons, neutralising and making these not-so-friendly free radicals stable so they no longer react or oxidise. It’s therefore a great idea to consume as many antioxidants as you can on a regular basis. Which is easy to do if you’re eating a majority plant-based whole foods diet, as they’re primarily found in my favourite food group – fruits and vegetables!
Blueberries in particular contain a very high level of antioxidants, with an ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 6,552 µmol TE/100g. Don’t worry about the units here, just know that that’s high in terms of fresh foods. Other high antioxidant foods include all your spices (black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, thyme, oregano, cloves, mustard), cacao powder, raw dark chocolate, maqui berry, goji berries, black beans, kidney beans, lentils and soybeans. I’ve included a handy table below of some of my favourite top antioxidant foods – have a scan through and see if there’s anything new you can add to your food repertoire!
Top 30 Antioxidant Foods
|Food||ORAC Rating (µmol TE/100g)|
|23||Soy beans (edamame/tofu)||5,764|
Back to these amazing muffins. They are so easy to make, are super moist, and crazy delicious. It’s not every day you get an egg-free, wheat-free baked good that tastes amazing, but these do! I’m so happy with these (judging by the four full batches I’ve made this past week), so know you’ll love them too. Mila gave them the thumbs up as well – she’s been downing three in a row most days!
I made mine as a selection of mini muffins for Mila, and regular sized ones for us. They taste amazing just out of the oven, and don’t fall apart like most wheat-free egg-free baking. They keep happily in the cupboard or fridge for two days, and also freeze brilliantly – simply bring them out in the morning to defrost, or warm slightly if you wish. The texture and flavour is just as good as when they’re freshly baked = batch-cooking win!
I can’t wait for you to try these amazing Beetroot and Blueberry Muffins. I’ve been having one for breakfast every day the past week with some fresh fruit and coconut cashew chia cream – so delicious! Feels like you’re treating yourself to a café-style muffin each morning, but with the knowledge that you’re doing amazing things for your health at the same time too.
If you make these muffins let me know what you think in the comments below, or share your versions on Instagram and tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Have a wonderful weekend, we’re going to make the most of the last few summer weeks with a swim at the beach. With our big one year old.
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Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 c oat flour or rolled oats
- 1 c almonds
- 3/4 c buckwheat flour
- 1/4 c cornflour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed + 9 tbsp water
- 2 c ripe bananas ~2 large
- 2/3 c almond milk unsweetened
- 1/3 c macadamia oil
- 1/3 c dates
- Juice and flesh of 1/2 lemon 2 tbsp
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 c grated beetroot ~2 medium/300g
- 1 c blueberries fresh or frozen
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 355°F on fan bake and grease your muffin tins on all sides and round the top (mini or regular sized) - I use coconut oil to grease.
- Put the rolled oats/oat flour and almonds in a food processor and blend to a relatively fine flour.
- Sift the remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl, then sift the oat/almond flour mix on top. There will be some almond chunks remaining, pour these on top of your sifted mix (sifting helps add air to the mix, giving a better rise).
- Mix the flaxseed and water together in a cup, whisking with a fork a few times, then leave to absorb and become an egg-like gel.
- Blend the remaining wet ingredients including half a cup of grated beetroot in your food processor until completely smooth (you can grate your beetroot in your food processor prior to this step if you have an appropriate attachment). Whisk the flaxseed gel once more then add to the wet mix and blend again.
- Pour the wet mix on top of your dry ingredients, along with the remaining grated beetroot. Fold the mixture together gently with a lifting motion until most of the flour has mixed in but there is still some visible.
- Add the blueberries to the mix (reserving a few for topping if you like) and fold gently a few more times til combined. There should still be a bit of flour visible in your mix (this ensures you haven't overmixed, again providing a better rise).
- Pour evenly into muffin tins, wiping between the cups if there are any spills. Aim to place some of the blueberry part of the mix on top of each muffin for visual appeal, or place a few of your remaining blueberries on top (they will sink slightly with this method).
- Bake for 16 minutes for mini muffins, or 18-20 minutes for regular sized, until they are lightly golden and feel springy to touch in the centre.
- Remove and leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool, then move to a baking rack to cool completely. Eat warm, cool, or place in an airtight container for the next day - all are equally delicious!
- Make it gluten free: replace the oat flour with brown rice flour.
- Make it nut free: swap the almonds for sunflower seeds and the almond milk for another plant-based milk (rice works well). And if you're looking for a nut and seed free version, then you can simply just double the buckwheat flour and cornflour instead.
- In place of the buckwheat flour and corn flour, you can also use 1 c of wholemeal spelt flour (for a non wheat-free version).