These pumpkin beetroot muffins are wonderfully moist, warmly spice and sweetened only with date and banana so you can feel good about them too.
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There has been more than one time (such as the pumpkin broccoli soup) when a recipe has come out of trying to think what to do with the things I have in the house (and often need to use up). In fact these days probably more meals come out of using what I have rather than buying to make a meal. Some of that is by design, since we get a box of organic vegetables delivered every other week, as we have done for a number of years.
More recently we have started getting a meat delivery each month as well. We started that partly to save carrying as much from the store - we don't have a car - and partly to get a regular supply of good quality, relatively local, seasonal produce. But the main thing that has kept me getting the boxes is I found it forced me to try things I might not otherwise buy and be a bit more creative. Anyway, this was another occasion of thinking about things I had that might go together and particularly I was looking to make muffins and had pumpkin and beetroot. Could I figure out a pumpkin beetroot muffin recipe? The answer was a resounding yes.
Making healthier muffins
I don't have a massively sweet tooth, but I do miss some of the more European-influenced sweet goodies I used to get in the UK. Sadly some of them like croissants are not exactly things you would make at home. Or at least I am not that brave, yet. Even before I moved to the US, however, muffins are one thing I quite happily adopted. I love the variety you can get plus they are generally pretty easy to make.
As well as this meaning you can pick the flavor, it also means you can have more control over the ingredients. Apart from when I was battling through the infant phase when I seriously needed a sugar hit mid-afternoon, I tend to find most ready-made muffins far too sweet (a gripe I have with a lot of things, but that's one for another time). Not just for myself, but particularly with a young child, I would rather reduce sugar and if anything replace it with fruit-based sweeteners that have other benefits. I'd rather enjoy the taste without the crazy sugar hit (and fall!).
I originally found a cake recipe that was way too sweet, but it gave me a few ideas to play with. I had also previously used date puree or syrup (in some great carrot muffins on Vegetarian Ventures) which is a great sugar-replacement in muffins. Putting these together with a few other tweaks, I came up with these pumpkin beetroot muffins, which are probably some of my favorites. They have gone down well with others too, both adults and kids alike.
How they're made
These pumpkin beetroot muffins are really easy to make. First, you soak the dates while you measure out and mix the dry ingredients. Blend the dates along, add the egg and remaining ingredients and mix it with your dry ingredients. Spoon the lovely pink mixture into your muffin tins and bake.
These pumpkin beetroot muffins are incredibly moist and given the ingredients, you can actually feel pretty good about having them. If you manage to have some leftover, they will freeze well and don't lose too much in texture as some muffins can since they are so moist. But you may not have any left. As after they tease you while you bake, you'll want to dive in to these pumpkin beetroot muffins straight away. And when you do, you'll want another. On that note, I might go and see if we have any in the freezer or if we ate them all already...
Try these other muffin recipes:
- Healthy chocolate zucchini muffins
- Magdalenas (Spanish muffins with lemon and olive oil)
- Healthy apple muffins
- Carrot apple muffins
- Meyer lemon zucchini muffins
- Plus get more snack recipes in the archives.
Spiced pumpkin beetroot muffins
- 4 oz Medjool dates 115g - pitted weight, recommend at least part are medjool dates if not, ideally, all, as softer
- 1 cup all purpose flour 140g plain flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoon orange juice or up to juice of ½ orange, depending on taste
- ½ orange zest ie zest of ½ orange
- 1 beetroot medium, grated
- 7 oz pumpkin 200g, peeled weight, grated
- 1 banana mashed
- Soak the dates in ½ cup water, ideally overnight, but at a minimum while you are preparing everything else. If soaked longer, it will be both easier to blend and smoother but it doesn't really impact taste.
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
- Prepare muffin tin with either liners or by lightly greasing with oil or butter.
- Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl - flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Easiest way is to use a small whisk.
- Blend dates and water to a smooth puree then add eggs to the mixture and whisk.
- Add orange juice and zest, grated beetroot, pumpkin and banana. If it doesn't all fit in whatever you put the dates in, don't worry, you can add the rest to the dry ingredients at the next step.
- Add the date-egg mixture, then the other ingredients if not already mixed in, and stir to combine. Make sure the ingredients are mixed through but try not to over-mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins to between three quarters full to near the top of the tin/liner.
- Place tray into oven and bake for approx 20 mins, until brown and a skewer put in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.
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Thank you so much! Sounds yum! Is there a sub for the dates? If it's about sweetness only, maybe some honey?
Thanks. The dates add a mixture of flavor and sweetness - you could maybe use some honey and/or maybe soak and blend some raisins or prunes instead. Applesauce is another option though it is more moist and less sweet, so I would use less and also add something else to sweeten such as honey, and then maybe a little less liquid.
My family has some fairly serious food allergies that I've learned to work around with one exception, bananas.
What would you suggest I substitute for the banana in this recipe, please?
And thank you for all the lovely beet/beetroot recipes. They are a personal favorite.
It's tricky to say for sure, and I haven't tried it to check or confirm quantity, but apple sauce is probably the best substitute for bananas here. My guess would be around 1/4 to 1/3 a cup and maybe wait on adding the orange juice to see if the mixture seems like it would be a bit too thin since apple sauce is a bit more liquid than mashed banana. Hope it works out, and glad you like all the beet recipes - I have quite a lot as it's a favorite of mine too!
Camilla @ Culinary Adventures
I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I think this recipe would be delicious. I can't wait to try this.
Thanks Camilla, this is a great not-so-sweet option so I do hope you like them!