Whole Grain Amaranth Goji Berry Muffins (gluten free, vegan, low sugar) - and what's the deal with all these baked goods?
Posted Oct 16 2009 10:03pm
I had some leftover cooked amaranth, I had a desire to bake muffins, and I had the powers of the internet to find a recipe. Yeah, I know, I just made waffles. But those are in the freezer. I wanted something fresh. Something warm. Something to use up my leftovers. So, I went forth, and baked!
Looking at what I've posted lately, I realized that I really have been posting a lot of baking recipes. That's great and all, but seriously - I really need to post more vegetable recipes, especially considering that a vast majority of my diet is fulfilled by members of the vegetable kingdom. My recipe assortment isn't very representative of my regular meals. Really, what's the deal with all these baked goods? It looks like all I eat is stuff made of grains. Huh. It's kind of funny.
I guess I never think to post vegetable recipes, because they just happen. With the exception of making cultured veggies (I have a BIG recipe post I'm finishing on that, actually), vegetable dishes don't really involve any planning or forethought for me. I just throw them together quickly - I'll steam them, or roast them, or braise them, or just eat them raw, or make huge salads with some kind of meat or bean on top. Sometimes I'll puree leftover cooked veggies into quick soups. It all just happens so fast and so effortlessly, I don't think to post what I do. I will make an effort to do this, because ya'll need to eat some vegetables, not just muffins and cookies and bread. You can't survive on bread alone, as they say - even if it is gluten-free.
But anyway, back to my muffins. While you can't survive solely on bread (or muffins or cookies), you sure can enjoy them as part of a balanced diet. And these muffins would be a great addition to anyone's diet! They turned out moist and chewy, with a dense, hearty texture. I love them. This recipe is adapted from a one I found at the vegan blog Seitan is My Motor. It was already vegan, so that was super convenient. Then I made it gluten free, omitted the sweetener and some of the other ingredients, and switched out chopped dates for the lower sugar, vitamin C-packed power of goji berries. The applesauce and the gojis make the muffins naturally sweet; I would not want them any sweeter, actually, and didn't miss the added sweetener at all. Plus, they are high in fiber, thanks to rice bran, flax, applesauce, and the natural fibers in whole grain flours. But the best part? The goji berries provide juicy little bombs of yumminess with every bite. Oh, yum yum yum.
What a great way to use up leftover amaranth! If you've never tried amaranth, give it a whirl. I find it a little irritating to cook with, since it is such a small grain, but it is delicious, high in protein, low glycemic, and full of great amino acids and vitamin E. For more info on the awesome history and nutrition of amaranth, click here. Anyway, whole grain amaranth is great added to stews or casseroles, or cooked up in a porridge alone or with other grains. It has a really sticky texture, and can get kind of gummy if left to cook too long (as I did this with this batch of amaranth...oops), so watch it! In baked goods, I really like using amaranth flour as a high protein, lower carb flour option. Its sticky texture helps to bind things together really well, and it adds a nutty, earthy flavor. You can easily grind your own amaranth flour from the whole grain, using a coffee grinder. It is slightly more coarse than store-bought amaranth flour, and gives a nice texture to baked goods; it makes a decent substitute for the texture of cornmeal. I used homeground amaranth flour is this recipe, and really like the results.
From what I figured quickly, each of these muffins has about 28 grams carbs and between 3-4 grams sugar. I didn't figure out the rest of the nutrition info, sorry! But I don't think there is anything scary there. So bake up a batch and enjoy them. Then eat some vegetables. I promise, more veggie recipes will find their way to this blog! But i won't stop baking, either. : )
3/4 c amaranth flour (store bought, or home ground)
2/3 c brown rice flour
2 T arrowroot starch
1/3 c rice bran
3 T ground flax
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c unsweetened, organic applesauce
1 T olive oil
2/3 c cooked whole amaranth grain
1/2 c hot water
1/4 c goji berries
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin tin.
Mix together flours, bran, starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and allspice in a bowl. Whisk briskly to introduce air and make light.
Heat water, and pour over goji berries. Let sit for about 5 minutes to sweeten water and rehydrate berries.
In a large bowl, mix applesauce, oil, and cooked amaranth until well blended. Pour off goji soaking water into bowl with other ingredients (reserve goji berries on the side), and mix again until well blended.
Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring only until evenly moistened. Gently fold in goji berries. Batter will be thick.
Spoon into muffin tin, and bake for about 35 minutes at 350, until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven.
Let cool in tin for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let finish cooling on rack.