I am long overdue in sharing this Quinoa Banana Oat Muffins recipe. I have been making these muffins for the past year and every time I post a photo of these on Instagram or my facebook page people ask for the recipe. I didn’t have a recipe to share because I was just making them up as I went and they turned out slightly different each time. Our granddaughter little Sweet Pea loves to make muffins with me. When she spends the night the first thing she says in the morning is “Lita, I need my apron – I want to cook!” So we make a batch of these muffins. She loves to help stir and taste test!
Since they are not made with flour these are a dense muffin that is hearty, filling and delicious. I learned from Chef AJ how to make muffins without flour, oil or sugar that still taste delicious. Our little Sweet Pea would want those muffins but she would just pick out the chunks of fruit in them and leave the rest behind. I felt like she was waisting the muffin and not benefiting from the nutrition of the oats. So I set out to make a flour, sugar, oil free muffin that she would eat. I made many batches of muffins before I settled on this combination of ingredients. Everyone in my family enjoys these muffins including Sweet Pea!
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These muffins are moist without being mushy. The oats do break down somewhat when combined with the wet ingredients. and they make you think there is flour present. Update: The baking powder is optional – I no longer use it as it doesn’t make them rise much and it adds a lot of sodium. The spices add a pleasant sweetness. They are good warm or cold with a big mug of hot herbal tea.
These muffins freeze well. We take them with us when we travel, go hiking, bike riding, day trips and so on. When our daughter was in the hospital recently after giving birth to twins I took some of these muffins to her everyday. They are super filling and nutritious.
The brand of vanilla powder shown in the photo is out of stock right now but I link to another brand down below.
This is the brand of organic rolled oats that we buy at Costco. Hubby Tom eats oats for breakfast everyday so between his use and the things I make with oats we go through a lot of oats each month. Updated 3/20/23
It is important to purchase pre-washed quinoa for this recipe so it can be made into a powder to add to the muffin mixture. Quinoa is a seed not a grain and is a high quality source of plant protein and fiber. I wanted to make the muffins more nutritious for our granddaughter “Sweet Pea” so I include the quinoa powder and ground flax meal. She has no idea these muffins are good for her – she just knows they taste good! See below for alternatives to using ground quinoa. Quinoa Flakes will work or even just grind the equal amount of rolled oats and use that.
For the muffin mix you can use all old fashioned or rolled oats in place of the ground quinoa, quinoa flakes or the quick cooking steel cut oats. That would be 5 cups total of rolled oats for the muffin mix. I just like the nutritional profile of using the different grains but it does still work with all rolled oats.
I think bananas work best because of their sweetness and moisture content. But if you can’t use bananas, try pureed or mashed very ripe mango or plantains or very moist and sweet oven roasted Hannah Yams or Japanese Sweet Potatoes. If you use the sweet potatoes or yams you might need more applesauce added to the batter to make it spreadable. You might have to add date paste for sweetness as the ripe bananas are also adding sweetness.
Update: Some people tell me they use oat flour instead of the ground quinoa. I have since discoverd Quinoa Flakes which are just rolled and flatened quinoa – like how they make rolled oats. It eliminates one step and is very convenient and less processed than grinding the quinoa into a powder. I buy this product at Whole Foods in the cereal aisle by the oats. If you don’t have either of these products you can use ground millet or grind 1/2 cup more rolled oats into a flour and add it. I like using the quinoa to boost the nutritional profile especially when I am making things for Sweet Pea.
I use these parchment baking cups in my nonstick muffin pans. If you have silicone muffin pans you can use those.
Get the kids or grandkids involved in cooking in the kitchen- they really do like to help and it makes them want to try the food!
Like I showed you in the video I like to make up my own Muffin Mixes. If I have all the ingredients out it just makes sense to go ahead and measure out the ingredients into more containers to use later. I label each container and include the amounts of wet ingredients to add when I am ready to make muffins. It is such a time saver. I also keep a stash of over ripe bananas in the freezer so I can always whip up a healthy muffin or other treats.
I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as my family does. If you follow Chef AJ’s Ultimate Weight Loss program these muffins are compliant on her program. I will be working on some muffin variations in the future.
I now use the Trudeau silicone bake ware. No need for paper liners – silicone is great for oil free baking.
Update: Here are some new recipes I make using this Muffin Mix. Oat & Jam Bars – Jammies! or you might like the super cute Mini Jammies . It also works well for this delicious Cherry Peach Cobbler.
Don’t miss the Perfectly Peachy Pie.
I have now added Dehydrated Granola and Cookie recipes using this muffin mix.
Quinoa Banana Oat Muffins
- 20 ounces mashed overripe banana – about 2 1/3 cups of mashed banana frozen bananas thawed out is fine
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup prewashed quinoa -dry – uncooked ground into a powder – see video – if you can’t find prewashed quinoa try using ground millet instead or quinoa flakes or quinoa flour or ground oats
- 2 cups Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats* see note below recipe
- 2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats or old fashioned oats – use certified gluten free oats to make these gluten free
- 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder – optional it doesn't seem to make them rise very much and it adds a lot of sodium
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg – freshly ground is best – see video
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas using a potato masher or a large fork. Mix in the applesauce. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla powder or vanilla extract. Stir until well incorporated. Add the quinoa powder, quick cooking steel cut oats, old fashioned oats and ground flaxseed meal. Stir until well combined.
- If using metal muffin tins use baking cup liners to prevent sticking or use silicone muffin pans. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes – depending on your oven. They take 30 minutes in my Breville Smart Oven Air on the bake function.
- Let cool completely. May be frozen for future use.
- Yield: 12 muffins
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OMG!!!! Beautiful video!
Thank you so much!
These sound delicious. Must give them a try. (Love your haircut, by the way).
Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the muffins as much as we do!
They look great, Thank you!
The video was great. Thanks for posting it and all the links. When can we expect the video on your pancake recipe? It would be great to have a healthy recipe for this treat and your recipes are alway delicious and easy!
I hope to get the pancakes recipe up soon!
Do you store the “premixed” ingredient containers in the freezer, refrigerator or at room temperature? They look delicious!
I just store them in my pantry but you could freeze them or store in the fridge no problem.
Looks like a great one to try for my kiddos. I’m confused though….quinoa that’s ground up is flour. I can’t understand how these are flour-free….whether you grind it up or the store does, ground up grain is flour. ???
I hope this answer helps – Quinoa isn’t a grain it is a seed. “The quinoa seed is a pseudocereal, as opposed to a grain. … High in protein, nutrients, and vitamins, pseudocereals are most commonly gluten free and considered whole grains, despite not being a true grain. Other common pseudocereals are amaranth and buckwheat.Feb 21, 2017
Is Quinoa a Grain? – Bob’s Red Mill Blog”
Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is a seed that is harvested from a species of a plant called goosefoot. It is officially a seed and part of a group of pseudocereals, making it neither a cereal nor a grain, and more closely related to spinach and beets than to cereals or grains.Dec 8, 2012
Yes, but the body will still process it as a flour…I have heard Chef AJ say Chickpea flour is still flour and she doesn’t recommend it. Not trying to be annoying, just realistic about it for people that might truly be sensitive to the “addictive” power of any flours (and the sharper spike in blood sugar they cause). I know Chef AJ doesn’t recommend buckwheat, or bean, or millet pasta either, and those are also all either pseudograins or legumes….? I would be more inclined to say these muffins are definitely nutritious, but not actually in line with Chef AJ’s “no flour” policy.
Yes, it seems there is a spectrum of food addicts. I am not in UWL but have eaten an MWL style McDougall diet for 10 years. I’ve watched almost all of Chef AJs videos, eat low fat, whole plant foods and sos free for several years now. I definitely agree everybody chooses flour/no flour for themselves. I actually find a lot of the recipes on the UWL book odd because I would not consider several of them low calorie density. I know JP has similar thoughts. No problem with saying some people can have ground grains, but the “no chickpea flour” but some “millet flour” seems confusing…John McDougal has talked about all ground grains spiking insulin more and being good for weight gain. In fact, at one point, I wanted to gain weight and he and Esselstyn both responded to my questions and recommended whole grain flour products. Anyway, not looking to be a pain. Just confused about this aspect of UWL. Again though, I agree it doesn’t matter in a way…one person can choose to use it, another cannot. I have a lot of plant based nutrition knowledge from years of researching and figuring out plant based living for my family and kids. I can make an educated choice for myself…I wonder more about people who think they are eating “perfectly” and are doing everything possible to master food addiction and lose weight, and meanwhile, they are eating ground grain products that are calorically dense because they have been assured it is UWL compliant….might be, but it’s not calorically dilute, and it might trigger overeating. I know my husband is working at losing weight and if he eats and ground grains (or even two ingredient banana oat cookies) that are more calorically dense, he gains or stays overweight. The recipe looks perfect for my kids who can use lots of calorically dense, delicious, whole food calories though!
I am a member of the UWL group and in Chef AJ’s Mastery program as a mentor and I am just following her guidelines. So for those of us who are in her program and following her guidelines these muffins are considered compliant. What you do on the McDougall program or what you or your husband need to do is an individual thing. If you were a member of the UWL group Chef AJ would tell you that if you can eat these muffins and not overeat on them and they don’t cause you to have cravings then enjoy them. If not then don’t make them.
Here is the link to the McDougall newsletter i was thinking of:
Of course, you could always argue because he says “whole grain” and quinoa is a “pseudo-grain”, that his principle wouldn’t apply to the quinoa flour…but I think it is likely that the body processes whole wheat, or buckwheat, or oat, or corn, or quinoa flour in a similar way. And, one could always ask Dr. McDougall’s opinion.
Anyway, thank you for all you do. I only brought this up because I found this bit of Chef AJ’s plan to be confusing and potentially misleading for somebody who trusts her advice. Calorie density is a very very valuable tool for weight control…but muffins that are made with ground up grain/pseudo-grain are not calorie-dilute and are not tools for “ultimate” weight loss. I think that “UWL-tag compliant” is a bit misleading. Maybe weight maintenance…maybe good health…but maybe not “ultimate” weight loss and avoidance of food addiction (if indeed flours are addictive…)
The texture of these muffins is great! Just had a fresh one, with a dab of raw almond butter and date syrup. For my taste, next time I may omit the cardamom and just use more nutmeg. Have you tried with ground millet, instead of quinoa? Do you know how much you pay for the organic 25lb oats?
I am so glad you like the muffins. I haven’t tried them with ground millet. A different muffin recipe that I made that had ground millet in it we didn’t like the texture of them – the millet was kind of grainy. Just personal preference. I don’t know how much the 25 pound bag of oats is. We need to go buy another one soon! Happy Cooking!
These look great but just wondering if you think you can use additional old fashioned oats in place of quick cooking steel cut oats. Thanks!
Hi Emily, give the old fashioned oats a try and see how it works!
Tami, this is another awesome video! I just love your videos and how you explain everything so well. These look fabulous, and I’m anxious to make them! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in to sharing your recipes and videos with all of us!
That is very nice of you – thank you for the kind comments. Happy Cooking!
Thanks for the recipe. I’m making these today. They look delicious.
You are welcome! Enjoy!
Hi Tami, this recipe looks amazing! What size are the containers that you use for the pre-made mix? Thank you!
Hi Patty they are 4 cup containers!
I have a dozen of these in my Breville Smart Oven Air right now. They are browning nicely, just they way I like them. I’m giving some of them away tomorrow, which helps me with portion control! I made a container of dry ingredients for my batch too – great tips, Tami! I also appreciate your suggestion to use a half-cup measure to fill the muffin cups – it works perfectly!
Thanks for another awesome recipe!
Thank you for all the feedback Colleen – we love these muffins too! Having the batch prepped mixes ready to go is such a time saver. I am so glad you are doing it too. You are so awesome with your batch prepping. Wishing you a wonderful New Year! Hope to see you in Vegas this year.
Thanks for sharing this recipe and where to purchase all the products.
I enjoy watching all your presentations!
You are a gifted cook and teacher.
Thank you again Tami!
That is very kind of you to say Jan! I am so glad you like the recipes and videos.
Thank you for watching and reading!
FINALLY going to make these as they have been on my list forever! My only concern is that those Quick Cooking Steel Cut oats are not (certified) gluten free. I may sub my gluten free (regular) steel cut oats in and see what happens. I am “assuming” the “quick cooking” part means they are smaller in size – so maybe a quick pulse in the food processor to shorten the oats I have will help? I’ll let you know! Thanks again for all your great posts and recipes. Keep inspiring people Tami!
I saw the photo of your muffins on Instagram and they looked wonderful. I loved that your daughter added chocolate chips! I hope your husband is doing better and recovering. Happy Trails, Tami
Will regular steel cut oats work instead of quick cooking? These look so good! Thanks!
What a couple people have told me they have done is to put regular steel cut oats in their food processor and using the pulse function they cut the regular steel cut oats up a bit and then they work in this recipe. The quick cooking steel cut oats are just cut smaller which makes them cook faster. Hope that helps. These are such good muffins – enjoy!
I love this recipe!
I make several pre-mixed dry ingredients batches and keep them in the freezer.
For those who don’t have quinoa on hand, I replace the ground quinoa with ground oatmeal and the muffins still come out great.
Another hint. I sometimes sdon’t moly flatten these into cookies and love them this way, as well.
Using the same amount of cooking time they come out a little crunchy which my husband enjoys!Thanks, Tami!!
Thank you for sharing all your tips and hints. It’s great to have those here for others to read! I am so glad you like them as muffins and as cookies. Crunchy cookies sounds good to me!
I can’t wait to try these. I am going camping next month and think they might be a good make ahead breakfast if they will travel well!
These would be perfect for your camping trip. I would keep them in the cooler to keep them fresh and prevent spoilage.
So I don’t know if this has been mentioned before but you can wash your own quinoa if you can’t find it. I used to work at a raw vegan restaurant in NYC where we would make our own flours, soaking nuts or oat groats (often to get a little sprouting action going), and then we would lay out on dehydrator racks (you could use the oven on the lowest temperature) and then blend when dry. It obviously makes the recipe more complicated, but if you already have some unwashed quinoa, definitely could use this method.
I subscribed a while back but didn’t get the curry ginger butternut soup recipe. Can I get that recipe now.
The recipe link is automatically sent via a computer program and it usually ends up in your junk email folder because we aren’t in your email contacts list. Please search your junk email and it’s usually there! It is mailed from Nutmeg Notebook for search purposes. Happy Cooking!
I am so blessed to have found you guys on you tube!! Thank you so much, thoroughly enjoying this journey!
Thank you so much Linda!
Tami, these are fabulous! I usually make the regular recipe, using quinoa flakes, and it works very well. My husband wanted the pumpkin kind, but he said they didn’t taste “pumpkin-y” enough when I added the cup of pumpkin for my first try at it. So I added a whole can (15 oz) of pumpkin and replaced my aging tin of pumpkin pie spice for the next batch — and it was a huge hit!
I follow Chef AJ’s program, am at goal weight (BMI 19.5), and am being very careful so I stay there. Unlike many desserts, these muffins don’t make me want MORE. Thanks for a great recipe.
Thank you fir your review and recipe idea!
Would brown flaxseed meal substitute for the golden flaxseed meal? I’m not sure if there is a difference other than color.
You could sub – the darker flax has a stronger flavor and I just prefer the Golden – it’s just a personal preference!
Made these last night – WAAAAYYYY better than I thought they would be. I used silicone muffin trays and I filled them 3/4 full and it made 24 muffins….which is great. I put all of the info in myfitnesspal and it calculated that 1 of these muffins (which is 1/2 of the size yours apparently are) are 123 calories / 24 carbs / 4 fiber / 3 protein (not that it matters at all – just sayin)
Thank you so, so much for sharring this recipe – it will for sure be a staple in my rotation.
Oh, My, Tami, These are small but mighty muffins! Very filling and a perfect mate to morning coffee or tea! I would probably add some raisins and a little ground walnut next time. (promise I won’t pick them out, lol!) Thank you so much for sharing!!! This is definitely a keeper recipe.
I love your recipes. I would love to bake this for my toddler. We are allergic to bananas. What would you recommend as a substitute? I understand it’s a recipe for banana muffins.
This isn’t the answer you want but it might be best to find a non banana muffin recipe. Since I don’t have a banana allergy I have never had to try and make this recipe without bananas. The bananas are providing sweetness as well as moisture to the recipe. So you would need to find something with a similar texture, moisture content and equivalent sweetness. If allergic to bananas then are you also allergic to plantains? Very ripe plantains might work but they won’t be as sweet. Oven roasted sweet potatoes might work but may not be as sweet as bananas but you could perhaps add some raisins or date paste.Very ripe mango might work I would cut the the recipe in half and experiment with small batches until you find the right substitute. Maybe google substitutes for bananas in baking recipes and see what you can find – there might be people blogging about baking without bananas and what they substitute. Dreena Burton has lots of plant based muffin recipes that my daughter makes for her children – she might have a recipe that would fill your needs and not have bananas in them from the get go. Happy Cooking, Tami
Thank you! I appreciate your response.
What would be a good sub for oats? A lot of recipes call for oats but I can’t eat oats. I don’t like the taste of quinoa.
I would look for a recipe that doesn’t use oats then – I only tested this recipe as written and I don’t know what you could sub.
Hi Tami, I tried these muffins today. The batter seemed a little dry when I put them in the oven. After baking, the steel cut oats still had a crunch to them. Is this how they normally come out? should I do something different next time? The flavors were delish!
I’m so sorry yours were dry and crunchy. Mine come out moist and soft every time.
It’s difficult to know where things went wrong since I didn’t get to see you make them.
Did you use quick cooking steel cut oats or regular steel cut oats? The recipe calls for quick cooking steel cut oats which are smaller than regular steel cut oats And they are not hard or crunchy when baked in the muffins.
Also if you use really ripe bananas they are much more moist than bananas that are not as ripe. You want banana that have very spotty skins. The more ripe the moist they are. Did you weigh the bananas after peeling? Weighing gives you the most accurate measurement. Did you use the applesauce? The batter should be very moist when it goes in the muffin trays.
Your oven may run hot and you may need to reduce the temperature or cut down the baking time.
Make sure when you measure the dry ingredients that they are level cups by using the back of a knife To level off the contents. Too much dry ingredients can cause the portions to be off and could cause dry muffins.
These are the only things I can think of for check you to Check on.
I make these muffins every week and they always come out moist and soft.
I hope you try them again with better results. At least the ones you made taste good. 😊 Maybe serve them with jam or warm applesauce to make them more moist.
I had the same problem with mine. I did process my steel cut oats like you said, and used quinoa flakes. I used pureed pineapple instead of applesauce. Don’t know if that had an effect. I also added a cup of shredded carrots and raisins. I didn’t weigh the bananas, but measured them. They were very soft, they came out very chewy…not dry, but not really moist. I figured the carrots would release more moisture, but not sure what happened. Any ideas?
You made a lot of changes to the recipe so I can’t really give you any advice because I haven’t made them that way. You basically came up with a different recipe for a carrot cake muffin! That’s great – experimenting is fun – sometimes it turns out and some times it doesn’t. Baking recipes are tricky because the ratio of dry and wet ingredients changes how things bake and alters the end result.
I tested my muffin recipe probably a dozen times before I was happy with the result. I will often make half a recipe for recipe testing so if it doesn’t turn out I’m not wasting so many ingredients.
When we aren’t using flour and traditional muffin ingredients the end result is never going to be a light fluffy muffin. My original recipe is super dense but yet moist and not a dry muffin. But it’s nothing like a traditional muffin – no sugar, no flour and no added fat does not create a regular muffin texture.
How hot your oven runs can make a difference – you may have to alter your baking time. Keep trying until you are happy with your carrot cake muffin recipe. That is how we create our favorite recipes!
So hearty and delicious!
I am glad you like them Tanya!
Tami, wonderful recipe. Delicious! One question- I wasn’t sure if the quinoa was measured 1/2 cup before or after grinding. Thank you.
I measure it before grinding.
Blessings from Texas! I made these muffins today for the first time and I am really glad I did! They smelled so wonderful while they were baking that when they were done cooking I had one fresh & warm right out of the oven – heaven! I always wondered how you could only eat just one for your breakfast with nothing except a glass of celery juice but they are very dense and filling. And thank you so much for sharing your recipes free of charge.
I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe. They are so filling as you now know.
Happy Healthy Cooking,
I made these and let me tell you, 1) they are really delicious, plus 2) They have saved me from falling off the wagon more than once. When I find I crave something “sweet” or something “more” I reach for a muffin…. made them in the mini muffin pans which turn out the perfect bite or two. Thank you Tammi for creating these life savers!
I made these for the first time and they are delicious!
I love these muffins. I would like to try adding fresh rather than frozen blueberries. Do you think that will work? Also how many blueberries (frozen or fresh) do you recommend?
I would try a cup of blueberries. Enjoy!
These muffins are delicious I added frozen blueberries and dried mango such a delicious treat. I follow chef aj’s plan and you are so right these help keep me on plan. All your recipes I have tried have turned out exactly as I have hoped thank you and Tom for all you do
Thank you for the wonderful review. You additions sounds wonderful. There are so many different ways to tweak these muffins and I enjoy reading how everyone makes them
Congratulations on choosing a healthy lifestyle!
Happy healthy cooking,
What would be the best alternative option for the oats if you are allergic or sensitive to oats?
You might be able to use a combination of gluten free flour and almond flour or use some quinoa flakes. I haven’t tried any of them as sub for oats in this recipe. You will need to experiment and I suggest making 1/2 a recipe so you are not wasting as many ingredients if it doesn’t work. Good luck!
Hi Tammi, when you are batch prepping the dry ingredients , do you add the flaxseed to the dry? or do you add that when you add the banana and applesauce?
You can do it either way. If I add it to the dry mix I store then if the freezer to keep it fresh.
Just made a dozen. I always add sone craisins and walnuts but I was out of walnuts. Today I added pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Yum!.
That sounds so good! Happy Baking!
Hello Tami, Question about the quinoa flakes. Do you put them in whole or grind them into a flour. I wasn’t quite sure what you meant. Thanks you for all the wonderful recipes you share.
You just add the quinoa flakes to the mixture – no need to grind it as it’s pretty fine and blends right in.
Your muffin tin must make larger muffins. I could only get part of the dough in mine. I put the remainder of the dough in the egg cups for the Instant Pot and steam baked them in the IP for 15 minutes on high with instant pressure release. They are just as good as the batch from the standard oven. Also, since applesauce is an acid, baking soda will make batters rise better than baking powder alone. I used one teaspoon of baking powder and one teaspoon of baking soda. The muffins baked in the standard oven rose well and did not fall.
Hi Sally, thank you for all of your tips! I always appreciate the feedback and learning what others do with the recipes.