Gnarley Muffins

While they may not be the prettiest muffins you’ve ever laid eyes on, they just might be the healthiest.  These little gems are packed with banana, apple and flax seed goodness.  For those of you who aren’t nutrition obsessed California dieters,  flax seed are rich in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.  In these muffins, flax seed meal (ground up flax seeds) replace butter and oil.  How great is that!? No butter, no oil muffins!  Just healthy fats in a yummy, moist, fruit muffin!

The fruit in this recipe help to keep the muffins deliciously moist.  I used grated apples and mashed bananas, although the recipe calls for carrots instead of bananas.  Really, use any reasonable fruit of veggie you like: zucchini, apple, carrot, banana, pear, pineapple.  Go crazy!

And!  This is also my entry into February’s Weekend Breakfast Blogging Event- created by Saffron Trail and hosted by Tasty Palettes.   This month features Healthy Eats, and what could be healthier than fresh fruit and flax seed muffins? Serious Yum.

Gnarley Muffins

adapted from Bob’s Red Mill

Print this Recipe!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup flax seed meal (if you live near a Trader Joe’s, you can get flaxseed meal and oat bran there!)

3/4 cup oat bran

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded

2 apples peeled and shredded

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Using a wooden spoon, mix together flour, flax seed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

2.  Stir in carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.

3.  Combine milk, eggs and vanilla.  Pour liquid all at once into the dry/fruit mixture.  Stir until ingredients are moistened.  Do not overmix.

4.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Yields 15 medium sized muffins.

Healthy trans fat free muffins. Your heart say ‘Thanks!’


43 thoughts on “Gnarley Muffins

  1. Oh my gosh, these were SOO good! I modified only slightly – instead of brown sugar, I used Fructevia and a Tbsp of molasses, and like Sandy who posted above, I ground up rolled oats for the oat bran. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. It made 36 tiny muffins, and they baked up kind of dark brown, so my family is calling them “meatball muffins!” But whatever they call them, they’re eating them up!

    Thanks, Joy!

  2. Hi Joy,

    Great looking recipe. I plan to try it with a few tweaks (read on).

    Please don’t buy or recommend pre-ground flaxseeds. They can become rancid within a couple of days of being ground (unless they have a preservative… hmmm). Instead, grind your own whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder until you have 3/4 cup. You likely wouldn’t need the eggs either, except for the taste, because ground flaxseeds become a binder once they are ground and mixed with a liquid.

    It may not matter to you, but with a little tweaking this can become a vegan recipe, with almond or rice milk and agave nectar for sweetening (of course you’d use less water). For those who like honey, you could use that although it’s not strictly vegan.

    I used ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil earlier this year in a successful battle against Multiple Myeloma (if you’re interested, search for “Budwig Protocol” or email me back). I don’t think I’d use flaxseed oil for cooking; when heated, omega 3 oils lose their health advantages and become as bad as omega 6 oils. Plus it is pricey: it’s about $16 for a 12 oz bottle and must be kept refrigerated. If you want to use it, save it for your salad dressings and eat it fresh. You could use olive oil, though… I read your lemon-olive oil cookie recipe and was very intrigued. Olive oil lasts forever, from what I read.

    Thanks for posting this interesting recipe!


  3. Thanks for sharing this recipe Joy. I just finished making them and my 13 and 10 year old are all over them!!They taste really great. So moist.I substituted 1/2 the white flour for white/wheat flour and I had no oat bran so I ground up some rolled oats (also I didn’t have banana so I used the carrot!) I have been searching for a while for a healthy and MOIST muffin, with lots o flax! This is the first I have found that was moist. Tasted just like carrot cake. Thanks again. These are “gnarley dude”!

  4. Because it’s you, I will try these, and because I need those good for me elements (fyi – they are also important for blood pressure and pregnancy).

  5. I have seen many bakers using these paper cups instead of more traditional pleated paper cups. They look like something you get a sample in from Costco. Any reason for using them?

  6. Suganya- By flaxseed meal I do mean ground up flax seeds. I don’t grind my own flaxseeds, I’m sure you can, but I buy them already ground

    Food Blogga- I haven’t used the flaxseed oil yet. I know I should, but I have in my head somewhere that it’s super expensive. I think I’m just being cheap and crazy. I love the breakfast smoothie idea! I’ll bust out the cash for that next time I’m at Whole Foods. Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. I just might have a fix for you. I use Trader Joe’s organic flaxseed oil preserved with Vitamin E — its about half the price of other brands. That being said, I don’t know about putting in muffins though. Tks for your recipe and your writing style too. ;-)

  7. This is so funny. I just spoke with my mom yesterday who also made muffins with flaxseed in it. She said, “Did you know that if you use flaxseed, you don’t have to add oil?” Then I come here and see your lovely muffins, so now I have two new delicious recipes! Thanks! I use flaxseed oil as well in breakfast smoothies and salad dressings. Have you tried that?

  8. Ashley- Applesauce is a great alternative too! Thanks for the reminder!

    Laurie- Morning cupcakes!… you would. I love it! :)

    Doreen- The cupcakes are sweet (from the fruit) and not terribly dense. They have a texture akin to banana bread. If you try them for your daughter, let me know if she likes them!

    1. Applesauce?? I wouldn’t change a thing if I were you. I have been looking for a recipe that would duplicate some muffins I have seen in Whole Foods and elsewhere, and well this looks like a winner being as close as you can get with that lovely amount of flax seed meal (ground).

  9. Interesting. Are they dense? Sweet? These would be a great, healthy alternative for my 18-month old daughter who has quite the affinity for cake, cupcakes and all other things sweet. And just the perfect size too.

  10. I don’t think I’ve seen a muffin recipe that uses that much flax! You can also replace the oil with applesauce. It’s always good to come across another healthy muffin recipe. :)

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