Quinoa Whole-Wheat Muffins

Yesterday, I tried this muffin recipe that I got from a work colleague. I adopted the recipe from the book ‘The Bread Bible’ by Beth Hensperger.

These are hearty savory muffins. They are more like a mix between bread, muffins and biscuits except that they don’t take hours to rise or make and contain ingredients with a low glycemic index (quinoa).

Quinoa is a really fascinating seed – it’s gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids (which is important for vegans). It also contains about 6 grams of protein in a 1/4 cup, has a couscous-like grain texture and a light nutty flavor.

I substituted some ingredients to my liking and think the muffins came out rather good. I came up with a short list of all the condiments that I could eat them with: stone ground mustard, olive oil or butter, Indian pickles (achar) and even with cold meats and cheeses.  They go well with breakfast, lunch and dinner (this is important for those individuals who cook like they are still in college)!

The quinoa needs to be cooked ahead of time – it takes about 20 minutes. This recipe makes 12 muffins.


  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (or 1/4 cup barlet malt)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup of applesauce)
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seed oil or canola oil
  • 1.25 cups cooked and cooled Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line 12 standard muffin cups. Fill a small oven dish with about 1/2 cup of water to place in the oven at the same time as the muffins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If you are using brown sugar, then mix it in as well. If you choose to use a sugar substitute that is a liquid, then omit it from this step and add to the wet ingredient mix below.

In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs (or applesauce) and oil. Add the cooked quinoa and sunflower seeds. Then add the wet ingredient mix to the dry ingredient mix, stirring just until moistened and using no more than 15-20 strokes.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, level to the top. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden, they feel dry and springy and a knife or toothpick  inserted into the center comes out clean. Also place the oven dish with the 1/2 cup of water in the oven at the same time – don’t forget to remove it when you remove the muffins. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

To cook quinoa: Measure 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa and rinse well.  In a small saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow to cook until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

I replaced the brown sugar with barley malt. Depending on how sweet you want the muffins to taste, you can also replace the sugar with agave nectar. The benefits of using sugars substitute like barley malt or agave nectar are their low glycemic index. Barley malt provides a very subtle sweet flavor to the food without the side effects of a simple sugar like granulated white and brown sugar. For a slightly sweeter, fruitier taste to the muffins, replace the sugar with agave nectar.


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