Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carrot, Quinoa, and Ricotta Muffins

The other day, I was browsing the internets in search of some "Meatless Monday" inspiration when I came across a recipe for Carrot-Quinoa Muffins from Fresh365.  The premise was intriguing--a couple of nutrient-rich foods packed into a moist and portable muffin.  I habitually run late in the morning, and grabbing a couple of muffins has allowed me to eat breakfast on the run every day this week.  This is a HUGE step for me!

When I first mixed the batter, it seemed really thick so I added water until it thinned out a little bit.  It wasn't anything runny or pourable, but just enough that I'd consider the mixture a "batter" instead of a "dough."

The results were fantastic--moist and a little bit sweet; substantial without being too dense.  This muffin recipe is definitely a keeper, although next time I might try brown sugar and possible substituting applesauce for half of the butter to bring the fat content down.  I might also try the same concept using pumpkin instead (and maybe adding some cinnamon and nutmeg too.)

Carrot, Quinoa, and Ricotta Muffins

makes 1 dozen
1 c. cooked quinoa
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar, plus 1 T for sprinkling (I used Hawaiian vanilla sugar for sprinkling)
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

1/4 c. water
1 c. grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients (quinoa, both flours, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine the sugar, butter, ricotta, vanilla, eggs, and water.  Slowly add wet ingredients to the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.  Fold in carrots until just mixed.  If the batter seems to thick, add more water and stir until it reaches a "batter" consistency.

Divide batter evenly among the paper cups (I like to portion with an ice cream scoop), and then transfer the muffin tin to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle reserved sugar over the top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.)

Store in an air tight container.

Nutritional Info
It's not the "healthiest" recipe, if you judge "healthy" by low fat/low cal at least.  But hey,  aren't muffins really just glorified cake for breakfast?  

I think that tweaking the recipe to replace some of the butter with applesauce or pumpkin will lower the calories and reduce the fat by about 3-4 grams per muffin while maintaining a decent amount of protein.  I'll update if/when I try it!

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