Gluten Free Bran and Flax Pumpkin Muffins

Muffins have been getting a bad rap in recent years. One need only flip through a few fitness magazines to find some sort of article about the diet-sabotaging potential of just a single muffin. In New York, where calorie counts at fast food restaurants are now mandated by law, muffins rank among the most calorie ladden desserts. I was surpised to learn that a blueberry muffin at Dunkin Donuts had almost twice the calories of a cream-filled, gooey glazed doughnut. I knew muffins could be sneaky when it came to calories, but I didn’t know it had gotten that bad!

As someone who nearly survived on muffins for breakfast throughout college (breakfast wasn’t covered by my meal plan, nor was it served in my dorm), I object to the tarnishing of one of my favorite morning treats. Sure, some muffins out there may be the size of a small melon these days. And sure, many places selling these muffins throw in ingredients that most of us can’t even pronounce — not to mention several other ingredients most of us (food allergy sufferers, that is) can’t eat. But that shouldn’t mean that muffins lose all credibility when it comes to a sensible morning option. This recipe for gluten free, vegan and agave-sweetened muffins is ladden with fiber-boosting whole grains and flax to help fill you up in the morning. Yes, there’s fat in it — but only good fat (in the form of flax) and otherwise very little oil. Pumpkin is high in antioxidants, several key nutrients and zinc. And finally, cinnamon is said to regulate blood sugar and may even boost cognitive function and memory. Round them out with some soy milk or a shake for protein (have to do my due “protein-advocacy” diligence after years of — ahem — gentle coaxing by my mom to eat more of it) and these muffins will redeem your faith (if you had any to begin with) that muffins can have a place in a healthy diet.

Yield: 12-14 muffins

Bran and Flax Pumpkin Muffins:

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup rice bran

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup flax seed meal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

3/4 cup agave nectar

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy or rice)

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water


1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Whisk dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together agave and grapeseed oil. Add to dry ingredients. Add almond milk, pumpkin, vanilla and hot water to the mixture and whisk until incorporated (feel free to add nuts or raisins here as well). Fill muffin tins (greased, if not using baking cups) with batter until batter almost reaches the top of each cup.

2. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.



  1. says

    this sound amazing!
    im going to try them with applesauce instead of pumpkin—wonder if that will work. what do you think?

  2. sophie says

    If I substituted the agave for stevia…would I have to adjust the amounts of the other ingredients?
    PS: I love your blog and your recipes. They are great!

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