grain-free, paleo and vegan carrot zucchini muffins!

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Hello my lovely veggies! Thank you all so much for all your votes in the Vegan Recipe Challenge! I came in 3rd and that was way more than I was hoping for!

It’s been a busy week around here- I'm so sorry to my fellow bloggers whose blogs I've been neglecting. I am trying the best I can to catch up and will read every one of your wonderful words. But I’m back and eager to share a ton of stuff with you! You can expect some delicious food coming up on the blog!

I'm constantly playing around with my diet, trying to come up with a combination that helps my tummy feel it’s best. For those of you who are new readers, I’ve suffered from very uncomfortable digestion for years and I’m on a quest to correct it! Read this post for a few things that I’ve found helpful recently.

So in playing around with my diet, one thing I’ve tried is cuting out grains. I know, crazy right? It’s something I never thought I would do and I always thought that “paleo inclined” eaters were insane! What do they do without quinoa? Fresh baked goods? No sushi? No BREAD?

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turns out you just need to find the right kind of baked goods!

Just goes to show you the lengths I’m willing to go to fix this problem. And it actually isn't too bad! .

You see, due to the make-up of grains, people with delicate digestive systems often find them aggravating. The carbohydrate content of the grain is primarily made up of starches as well as some sugars that require extra steps to digest. If you are unable to digest them properly due to a weak system, we are left with undigested fragments that are then used to feed the no-so-good bacteria in our system. This can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a crowding out of the good guys. The bad guys can also begin to produce toxic substances that can damage our intestinal lining, leading to something called leaky gut. And what leaky gut basically means is that the tight junctions between your intestinal cells become “loose” due to damage and now undigested proteins and particles can make their way into your bloodstream and cause inflammation, allergic responses and general havoc! All in all, not a pretty picture for proper digestion.

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So through cutting them out, healing can be brought to the digestive system. I by no means think this should be a permanent move, but can be extremely therapeutic for a time!

Now for the fun part- grain-free kitchen experiments! Grain-free baking was really daunting to me, but my recent success with my berry crisp and now these muffins is making me feel like all that fear was unwarranted. Now I can say I LOVE grain-free baking!

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I love that when you bake with nut meals and coconut flour, there is a ton of natural sweetness and healthy fats in there- meaning you can use less added oil and sweetener! Not only that, nut meals and coconut flour are so healthy! Lots of healthy fats and fibre! While they are not exactly low in calories, you’ll find that you are wonderfully satisfied after a small portion.

Like take these muffins. They certainly are not light bites. BUT they are filling, nutritious and delicious. And they surprisingly don’t feel heavy- they have a wonderful crumb that would satisfy the most traditional baker. I hope you all try them- I’m certain you’ll love them!

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Grain-Free Carrot and Zucchini Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD)

Adapted from these at Amazing Paleo.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

Dry

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt

Wet

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup melted raw honey
  • ¼ cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Add-ins

  • ½ cup of grated carrots
  • ¾ cup of grated zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1/8 cup of raisins (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease with coconut oil or line a 12 muffin pan.

Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix your applesauce, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon. In a final small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, water, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Now add the applesauce mixture to your dry ingredients and combine well. Now add in the coconut oil and baking soda mixture. Finally, mix in the carrot, zucchini and raisins.

Spoon the batter evenly into your muffin pan. You want to do this fast since you want to make sure the baking soda and vinegar will still be reacting to give some lift in the oven. Bake for 35min, or until tops are browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

44 thoughts on “grain-free, paleo and vegan carrot zucchini muffins!

    • Yes I froze mine (it’s just me that eats my food!) and they froze very well. I just let them thaw at room temp or in the fridge depending on how long you have. You could probably microwave them but I’m not a fan of microwaves in general so didn’t try that!

  1. These sound delicious! One word, though.

    Honey is NOT vegan. I understand that you may have more hits on this with the vegan listing, and there are certainly no eggs in the recipe, but the tag is very misleading.

    I can’t wait to substitute the honey for agave and give this a shot!

  2. Oh, the batter was dry before I added the veggies. The reason I ask about the grains is because I was also considering going grain free but then a friend of mine met with a well known nutritionist in Austin who said grains are extremely important and necessary for vegans since you cant get all the amino acids from veggies and beans alone. Are you doing this with a nutritionist? 

    • I’m studying holistic nutrition and I did my research so I feel I am covering all my bases. Nuts/seeds and legumes together actually make complete proteins so I am sure to eat those every day and I am using a good quality protein powder to fill in the gaps. I did my research beforehand, especially since good quality protein is so important for healing the digestive system. 

      So glad you like the muffins!

      • I am so glad to hear that. Maybe my friend mentioned that to me because I limit my nuts and seeds during the week (I follow a lower fat plan Mon-Sat). It sounds like you know what you are doing. Can I ask you a few questions then?
        Where are you studying? I am very interested in the same degree but am not sure where to get it and if it is best to go to a school or if online is just as good.
        Also, how do you feel about Plant Fusion as a protein shake? It’s my favorite although I also have a free container of Vega which I’m using now. Not sure I’ll buy it agian, it’s so expensive! Thanks for the reply,
        Pauline

        • I’m studying at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto. I love the in class nature of it especially since making connections in the industry is so important. I have heard some schools online are great though- like Edison.

          I have actually meet tried plant fusion, although I’m hoping to very soon. It doesn’t seem to be readily available on Canada. But the nutrition stats on it sound great. It’s cool that they use something to sweeten it other than stevia too as some people don’t tolerate t well and it seems to be in every protein product these days. Just be careful though that you are balancing it’s sweetness with low glycemic fruits if using fruit and lots f fibre. Otherwise you might get a blood sugar spike!

          Hope this helps!

      • Hi Emma- the nutritionist's name is Carly Pollack- my friend waited 3 months to get in and see her, but she's helped her a lot. She tends to advocate a paleo diet but she will work with vegetarians (not sure how you eat). Good luck!

  3. Ok. These are amazing! I have eaten half the pan already (thank god it’s my cheat day). Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have them baking in the oven right now. I had to add homemade almond milk because the batter was extremely dry. I will let you know how they turn out! Also, , how long do you plan on going grain free?

    • I’ve been grain free since the beginning of April and I think I’ll do it until at least the end of the summer. All depends on how I’m feeling and what happens when I try and reintroduce!

      Hope the muffins turn out! I guess the moisture all depends on the qater content of your veg. These will turn out moist when you bake them though!

  5. Never say never right- it is good that you are willing to try new way of thinking to improve how you feel, good for you Gabby! These look totally decadent – can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

    • exactly and so far I do find it’s helping :) These muffins are so decadent tasting but surprisingly, they aren’t that much more caloric than grain-including muffins. I think it’s because I used a lot less sweetener since the almond and coconut lended so much natural sweetness. Score!

  6. I’ve made far more cakes with almond meal (wheat-free household yeah yeah) than grains throughout my life, so this looks darn-tootin’ awesome to me!

    Wish you were at VVC this weekend xo

  7. Mmmm these sound lovely Gabby! Well… I haven’t gone off grains, but I’ve drastically reduced them myself to see if my annoying bloating will go away. I’m not sure that it’s the culprit, but I think I feel better overall anyway. And your recipes certainly help me out!

  8. They look scrumptious, Gabby! I love using nut meals as well, and coconut flour is one of my favorites. I hope that your experimenting leads to a contented tummy!

  9. Quinoa is technically a seed so personally I wouldn’t give that one up ;-) Unlike the heavy grains of wheat, barley and others that feel so “heavy” in the stomach :(

    • The problem with things like quinoa and buckwheat is while, technically not grains, they are digested the same way as grains in our bodies. So while it works for some people, it doesn’t wrk very well for me and for many people with leaky gut. But if you don’t have a problem with it, no reason to cut it out since it’s so nutritious! I can’t wait to eat it again :)

  10. I hope this grain-free regime gives you some relief – digestive issues are SO frustrating :( YUM – love how you have snuck some veggies into these muffins, they sound delicious!

  11. Aw, sorry to hear that you’ve been having so many difficulties Gabby. As someone who’s lucky enough to eat anything and everything, I can’t really relate to cutting things out (other than for pure health reasons) but I’m glad that you’ve found a way to ‘healthy up’ baked goods to suit your stomach! These muffins sound delicious. Full of nutrition-packed ingredients and flavour! I’ve also been using coconut flour recently – it’s so delicious. I haven’t ventured into almond flour though – is that similar to almond meal/ground almonds? Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be giving this a go soon, as I do have a coeliac friend who’s been searching for tummy-friendly muffin recipes!! xx

    • Thanks Laura :) 

      Yes almond flour is basically the same thing as almond meal. Sometimes, depending on the brand, almond meal isn’t as finely ground, but not always! Often it’s just a different name for the same thing! 

      I hope our friend likes them!

      • Ah, ok cool… I have some almond meal at home so I might just make sure I sift it properly then use it for this recipe! I am sure these muffins will be demolished quick smart :) Thanks lovely! xx

  12. *HUG* Hope this helps you out. I only recently discovered coconut flour and it is a lot of fun… For me, I think too many nuts and seeds bother my belly more. I never really thought about them that way until I looked at the FODMAPS culprits, though.

    • Thanks dear, hugs are the best medicine :)

      I think it all depends on the reasons for your GI distress. SOme people are missing enzyme required to disgest fructose, so FODMAPs totally makes sense for those people! 

  13. These look great! Do you feel any better for cutting out grains? I always have digestive problems in fact the only time I didn’t was when I was on my raw food diet (and my week of eating nothing but green thickies that did include oats) I’m not sure I could live without them and I’m maybe willing to put up with some discomfort to eat the grains. It’s hard to know how to recover your health and what will work for you and how long to give a particular diet before you decide it is or isn’t working for you. Hope this is working for you!

    • I actually do feel better! Not completely but better! It’s going to take time for my GI system to heal now that I’ve cut them out so I probably won’t see real benefits for a while yet! But I do think all the small changes I’m making are working!

      For me, the discomfort I have when I eat is so constant now that I’m willing to try anything. And the number of intolerances to food I have is increasing too and it’s no way to live! I want to heal my system and get it back on track. That way, ultimately I’ll be able to enjoy more foods again!

  14. Loving this recipe Gabby! I also have a recipe for carrot and zucchini muffins but with eggs, my husband will really appreciate these! Thank you

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