Spiced Applesauce Quinoa Muffins

August 27, 2013
4 Ratings
  • Makes 1 dozen
Author Notes

[I've put this in my "Test Kitchen" collection because I plan to test it using pureed pumpkin / butternut squash + a tart apple chopped. Stay tuned.] Quinoa gives this classic muffin a bit of extra protein, as well as a fun texture. I like to use red quinoa for this, as it makes the muffins rather pretty. This recipe can also be made in mini loaf pans, making it easy to freeze some for another day, or in a standard loaf pan if you prefer. The basic ratios are loosely based on my go-to banana bread recipe, from The Tassajara Bread Book. Be sure to use chunky applesauce for this. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames

Test Kitchen Notes

These muffins are 1970s meet the 21st century. And I mean that in a good way! In addition to protein, the quinoa adds moisture and textural interest without adding the grassy or soapy quality that quinoa can sometimes have. The spices blend together really well, making the muffins -- which are delicious on day one -- taste even better on the second day. An excellent recipe from a great cook! —drbabs

What You'll Need
  • 96 grams (1/2 cup / 118 ml) canola, sunflower or similar neutral oil
  • 96 grams (1/2 cup / 118 ml) dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 13 grams (2 tablespoons / 30 ml) ground flaxseed
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup / 118 ml) cooked red quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml vanilla
  • 366 grams (1 1/2 cups / 354 ml) unsweetened chunky applesauce (or add 1 tart apple, pared, cored and finely diced, to 1 cup regular unsweetened applesauce)
  • 125 grams (1 cup / 237 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 92 grams (3/4 cup / 177 ml) whole wheat flour
  • 15 grams (2 tablespoons / 30 ml) toasted wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml baking soda
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon / small pinch ground cloves (or ground cardamom, if you prefer)
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup / 118 ml) pecan or walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup / 118 ml) dried cranberries, raisins, or finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 teaspoons / 10 ml raw sugar
  • A few good dashes of cinnamon for the topping
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a regular muffin tin (or a standard loaf pan or three mini-loaf pans, if you prefer).
  2. Beat the oil and brown sugar together; then add the eggs, the flaxseed, and the vanilla and beat well until the batter is glossy and smooth.
  3. Add the applesauce and the quinoa. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Stir together the flours, wheat germ, soda, salt and spices, to combine well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients, the nuts, and the dried fruit to the wet ingredients. Swiftly stir with a large spoon, taking care not to overbeat.
  6. Pour the batter in the prepared muffin tin or loaf pan(s).
  7. Combine the raw sugar and a few good dashes of cinnamon to make the topping. Sprinkle it on the muffins or loaf (or loaves).
  8. Bake for 25 minutes if making muffins; if making the standard loaf, bake for about 50 to 55 minutes, and the mini-loaves for 30 minutes. In each instance, test by gently pressing your index finger in the middle of the loaf or a muffin. If it quickly springs back, remove from the oven. If you create a little depression, continue to bake for another 5 minutes in the case of a standard loaf, or 2 minutes for either the mini-loaves or muffins. Check and repeat again if necessary.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before removing.
  10. I hope you like these.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle de Lima
    Michelle de Lima
  • AntoniaJames
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Zo

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

9 Reviews

Michelle D. September 30, 2017
I know this is an odd question, but what could I substitute for quinoa, or could I just omit? I'm really not a fan.
AntoniaJames October 2, 2017
Michelle, I'd substitute cooked rice - about 1/3 cup. I'd chop it a bit on a cutting board before adding. I use quinoa in the recipe for the texture and protein boost -- and because I often have odd bits of leftover quinoa that I don't want to waste. ;o)
AntoniaJames April 18, 2015
This recipe works well as mini loaves, too. Bake 25 min at 350. I didn't have 1 1/2 cup of chunky applesauce; I used 1 1/8 c of regular unsweetened + half a medium apple, finely chopped. ;o)
Zo January 31, 2014
Hello and thank you for the wonderful recipe. I love it.
However, i wonder if you could assist me with a gluten free version of it. I did not dare substituting because i am afraid of an unsuccessful result. I live in an area where we do not have GF mixes starches available in the market. All we have is: corn flour, buckwheat flour, white and brown rice flour, almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea can i substitute these for the white and whole wheat flours? Thank you so very much.
sarah September 28, 2013
I made these, and even though I had to use white sugar and flour, they were still great--lots of different textures and flavors 'cause of the nuts and fruit...I put them in the freezer and just microwave one whenever...thanks for the recipe!
AntoniaJames October 7, 2013
sarah, so glad you liked them! Glad to hear that they freeze well. We don't need an entire dozen in the house at the time. I've made this in mini-loaves, but will try a batch of muffins next time I make a batch. Thanks for posting this comment! ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian September 23, 2013
OMG, I'm making this asap, AJ. They look perfect for the season too. Tomorrow if at all possible they are going in the oven, and then into my tummy.
Sherry October 7, 2013
I made these and my family absolutely LOVED them! I hope that you will try these because they are delicious. They will become a regular treat in my home.
AntoniaJames October 7, 2013
Thanks, Sherry. I actually made the first batch because I found a bunch of jars of homemade applesauce and apple conserve from the year before, which I needed to use up. This year, I'm canning extra applesauce to have on hand for this recipe. ;o)