A wholesome and wholly satisfying breakfast
Somewhere in between a muffin and a biscuit, these zucchini, carrot, and apple bites pack a nutritional punch that belies their size. Full of goodness and not too sweet, they are perfect for a quick breakfast or a mid-morning snack. You can also pop them in your kids’ lunch boxes for a healthy after-lunch treat.
Baking with vegetables
Baking with vegetables is no longer limited to that trusted favorite, the carrot cake. Now we’re seeing a whole spectrum of plant-based cakes popping up, with ever more creative combinations. Few would raise an eyebrow at a chocolate beetroot cake or a sweet potato brownie nowadays. While a single serving is unlikely to count as one of your five a day, baking with vegetables is a great way to make your favorite cakes and breads a little more nutritious than their traditional counterparts. What’s more, it opens up a whole new world of colors, flavors, and textures.
In these colorful breakfast muffins, grated zucchini and carrot provide deep and earthy flavors, balanced by the subtle sweetness of apple and cinnamon. Carrots, apple, and zucchini are all high in fiber and full of vitamins.
Zucchini (which is technically a fruit) is great to bake with because of its gentle flavor. As with carrots, you’ll need to make sure you squeeze out any excess moisture. Although muffins are a great way to use up any extra veggies in the fridge, zucchini tends to become more bitter over time so it’s best to use it while it’s fresh.
For extra fiber, we’ve swapped flour for oatmeal and topped up with ground almonds, so these muffin bites are grain-free. Instead of butter, we’ve used oil, so these muffins are also fine if you’re following a dairy-free diet. Because there’s no flour or butter, these muffins don’t have quite the same rise as a typical muffin, and instead have a denser, chewier texture. The vegetable content provides much-needed moisture, but they’re hearty enough that two of these little bites will be enough to stave off hunger until lunchtime.
Variations for your breakfast bites
If the thought of even a little sweetness at breakfast is too much, how about trying a savory version instead? Omit the apple and cinnamon and use some grated cheese, mixed dried herbs or wilted spinach instead.
Alternatively, amp up the sweetness with a zesty blueberry, apple, and zucchini combo. Or lose the zucchini and try carrot, apple, and ginger. Share your favorites in the comments!
Zucchini, Carrot and Apple Breakfast Muffins (makes 12)
1 cup oats
¾ cup ground almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup carrot, peeled, and grated
1 cup zucchini, grated
1 cup apple, peeled, and grated
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Optional: 1 Tbsp honey
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F / 320°F fan / Gas 4.
- Arrange paper cases in a muffin tray with space for 12.
- Grate the carrot, zucchini, and apple and squeeze any excess moisture out.
- Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Fill each of the muffin cases with a heaped tablespoon of muffin mix.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the tops are medium brown and springy and a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool.
- Grate the carrots and zucchini with the small side of the grater, but use the larger holes for the apple or it will become too mushy.
- If the muffin mix seems dry, add a little extra milk or oil until you have a sticky batter. If it’s too moist, add more oats until the desired consistency is reached. Take care not to overmix the batter or the muffins will be too dense.
- The muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If you make more than you need, you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
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