These healthy muffins starring zucchini and cherries are subtly sweet and have a nutty, rich flavorful from almond flour that together with oats that creates beautiful gluten-free zucchini muffins. Serve up as a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert…this healthy muffin recipe will become a fast favorite for those who are gluten-free and gluten-eating alike!
The end of this week marks the half-way point of summer and that’s just a little uncool, if I’m being honest. Sure, our whole morning and laundry routine is much easier during the school year, but the girls are loving camp and we’re enjoying summer as much as the weather will allow. I’ve been sneaking in Friday afternoon PTO where my schedule and the weather allows and I’m grateful to extend the weekends in that way. Yesterday was a leisurely outdoor lunch with friends and then a most-productive (for some) beach glass hunt.
In much more exciting news, our family grew by one sweet little baby boy, Owen, last evening. Mark’s sister delivered a healthy baby boy! We are all so anxious to see him and snuggle! Atlanta has never felt so far away!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Gluten-Free Folks: Y’all, I’m so sorry that gluten-free baked goods aren’t always available OR delicious. These muffins are made of simple, wholesome ingredients and are adaptable to whatever mix-ins you choose. The base recipe (as is, minus the cherries and zucchini) can serve as a starting point for whatever gluten-free muffin combination you can dream up.
- Summer Muffins: Cherries and zucchini are summer staples! That said, zucchini is available year-round and frozen cherries are delicious and also available. So while this recipe SCREAMS summer, it’s also a great way to incorporate fruits and veggies any time of year.
- Kid-Friendly Fun: These muffins are full of color – green from the zucchini, a deep blue-purple from the cherries, and the prettiest display of colors as you bite in and enjoy. With the zucchini offering only nutrition and color, the nearly tasteless veggie is great to sneak in added nutrition that kids will most certainly approve of! I love to offer these as an afternoon snack or breakfast option.
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Zucchini: A medium zucchini is 6-8 inches in length. Be sure to follow the directions for removing excess water to avoid overly wet muffins. Gluten-free flours, such as almond flour, can be a bit tricky when striking a wet ingredients and dry ingredients ratio. Fresh zucchini season is generally July through September in the US, but can generally be found year-round and are generally an inexpensive produce to buy. You can add extra zucchini if you wish, but I wouldn’t go overboard to ensure not too much moisture is added.
- Almond Flour: I opt for a blanched almond flour, meaning the skins of the almonds have been removed. I prefer this option in baked foods so that the “flour” is lighter and fluffier and the end product is most appealing in texture and crumb. You can find almond flour in most grocery stores near the other flours and gluten-free flour offerings. Note: other gluten-free and all purpose gluten-free flour blend options will not yield the same results as almond flour.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both are used as a leavening agent for best results. If you don’t have baking soda, you can triple the baking powder as a substitute.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is best to avoid excess moisture that is present in brown sugar and other sugar replacements that are liquid in nature.
- Eggs: If you prefer to use egg whites or egg substitute, you can do so. You’ll need about 1/2 cup in place of the 2 eggs. If you prefer to use flax eggs, mix 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons water and set aside for 5 minutes before using as you would eggs in this recipe.
- Coconut Oil: Be sure to cool the melted coconut oil before adding to the wet ingredients so that it does not harden into clumps. Melted butter or avocado oil (vegetable oil or canola oil work, too) can be used in its place.
- Applesauce: Choose an unsweetened applesauce variety to reduce the sugar content of the recipe. You can use another pureed fruit, such as banana, or baby food, as well.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract is the best, but imitation is just fine. You may also omit this ingredient.
- Cherries: Fresh, pitted cherries are ideal, but frozen or dried will work, too! If you use frozen, be sure to thaw and drain any excess liquid before adding to the muffin batter. You may also swap in another fruit of your preference: pear, blueberries, apple, peach – you choose!
Where should almond flour be stored?
Storing almond flour in a cool, dry location such the refrigerator is best. Almond flour stored in the fridge is good for 6-12 months after opening where as it is good for only 2-4 months if stored in a cool pantry. Freezing is also an option if your use is very little or intermittent.
What makes almond flour tricky to work with and get good results?
Almond flour is extremely absorbent and the amount of wet ingredients often looks inadequate for complete incorporation of ingredients. Be patient, mix by hand, and measure closely!
Do you measure almond flour the same as other flours?
No! Use your measuring cup to scoop and level the almond flour versus spooning it into the measuring cup. That said, you do not want to pack the almond flour. Scooping works best!
Can I use a loaf pan versus a muffin tin?
This recipe doesn’t offer a ton of leavening like a quick bread, but you can use 4 mini muffin tins (bake about 25-30 minutes) or 2 loaf pans (bake about 30-35 minutes). That said, I prefer almond flour as muffins!
- Almond flour is a great option for those living a gluten-free lifestyle as well as those looking for lower carbohydrate options or a most nutritious flour option. Being that almond flour is rich in fiber, unsaturated fat, and numerous vitamins and minerals, it is wholesome, nutrition ingredient especially when compared to standard all-purpose flour.
- With 15 grams of carbohydrate per muffin and over 3 grams of fiber, these muffins offer a reduced carbohydrate (and sugar) muffin option while managing to pack in both a fruit AND a vegetable. Thank you, shredded zucchini – so versatile!
- These muffins are gluten-free (when using gluten-free oats) and can be made dairy-free and vegan zucchini muffins by using flax eggs.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- Zucchini Prep: I used a thicker grate on the zucchini on a box grater. I grated zucchini set over several sheet of paper towels and placed it into a strainer in the sink. Firmly squeeze the zucchini to remove excess moisture before adding to the muffin batter.
- Cool your muffins to room temperature and on a wire rack, if available. Because almond flour muffins tend to be quite moist, allowing air to circulate around the entire muffin as it cools is ideal. To avoid sticking to the muffin liners, cool completely before serving (hard to do, I know!).
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Again, because of the moisture content, these muffins have a slightly shorter shelf life than other baked goods.
- Muffins are always a great thing to make a double batch of – everyone loves a delicious muffin!
- A 1/3 cup ice cream scoop works perfectly for filling the muffin tin with batter.
- 1 medium zucchini, grated*
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
- Prepare the zucchini as noted below.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and set
- In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk well to thoroughly combine and set aside.
- In a second medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and applesauce; whisk well to combine.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well-combined and cohesive. Gently fold in the cherries and grated zucchini.
- Drop the batter into the muffin wells by the 1/3 cup. Bake for 24-28 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.
See below on zucchini preparation.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 15.3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 164mgCarbohydrates: 15.4gFiber: 3.2gSugar: 6.8gProtein: 6.1g
MUFFIN FAN!? I live with a crew of them! Here’s some more they love!
- Best Ever Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Morning Glory Muffins
- Fuel-to-Go Muffins
- Kale Banana Toddler Muffins
- Healthy Banana Muffins
- Maple Peach Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Raspberry Banana Muffins
- Applesauce Chia Muffins