Need to satisfy a sweet tooth? These sugar-free breakfast muffins are naturally sweetened with fresh apples. Full of protein and fiber, they offer a good alternative to eggs for breakfast. You can eat them fresh or make them ahead of time for a quick and easy breakfast to go.
5g net carbs per muffin
As much as I love eggs for breakfast, I do get egg fatigue. These delicious muffins are a nice break from eggs. These muffins are sugar-free, vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free. They are also light, fluffy, moist and delicious. Although apples and quinoa are high in carbs, they are nutritiously dense superfoods that deserve a place in a healthy diet. Just watch your portions. Depending on your carb budget, you can eat up to 4 muffins for breakfast or enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack.
Apple muffins with pecans and quinoa ingredients:
Apples are high in carbs, but also high in nutrients, fiber and water. In moderation, you can certainly enjoy fresh apples on a low-carb diet.
For baking, some apples are simply better than others. However, it is just fine to use whatever is available and in season. I used a combination of Honey Crisp and Granny Smith apples in this recipe because I wanted to use what I had in my crisper drawer before it spoiled. You don't have to go out of your way to buy a special variety of apples for this recipe if you already have apples on hand. Save time by peeling and chopping the apples while the quinoa is cooking. Mix apples with lemon juice as you prep the apples to keep them fresh.
Pecans are very low on the glycemic index and do not cause a spike in blood sugar. They are full of fiber, protein and healthy monounsaturated fat along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
For the best flavor and nutrition, avoid using rancid nuts. Taste nuts before adding them to a recipe. Rancid nuts are stale nuts that have been exposed to the oxygen in the air for too long. You can tell they've gone rancid because they taste "off". Using rancid nuts can ruin a recipe. Buy fresh whole nuts. Crush them when you are ready to use them. Because the oils in nuts go rancid when exposed to oxygen, you must store them whole in a sealed container in a cool, dark place like your fridge. You can even keep them in the freezer and thaw them when you are ready to use them.
I use cooked quinoa instead of flour or nut flour because it is fluffy and moist. Quinoa is gluten-free. It is also a good plant source of complete protein, making it a good food choice for vegetarians. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Quinoa is considered a health food as it is rich in nutrients such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate and thiamin (Vitamin B1).
This recipe calls for 2 eggs as a binder and additional source of protein for a balanced meal.
Lemon juice prevents the cut apples from browning, brightens the flavor and reacts with baking powder during baking to produce a fluffy muffin.
Butter is used as a flavoring and to keep the quinoa in the muffins from clumping.
Vanilla highlights the sweet flavor profile and aroma of the muffins.
Like vanilla, cinnamon highlights the sweet flavor profile and aroma of the muffins with an appetizing spicy scent. Numerous studies have shown cinnamon to help reduce blood glucose and reduce risk factors associated with diabetes. If you want to learn more about this here is a link to a study on the American Diabetes Association website.
Baking powder is a leavening agent. Adding it to moist batter triggers a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms tiny air bubbles in the batter during baking, making for a light and fluffy muffin.
Equipment you’ll need
12-cup muffin tin and muffin cup liners
You'll need a 12-cup muffin tin and muffin cup liners or extra butter to grease the muffin tin. You will also need a large mixing bowl, spatula, cutting board, knife, apple peeler, measuring cups and spoons and a small pot in which to cook quinoa.
Frequently Asked Questions
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a type of edible seed that is prepared and eaten like a whole grain. Since it is not technically a grain, it is naturally gluten-free.
Yes. A single ¼ cup serving of uncooked quinoa seeds contains 32 grams of total carbs, 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Quinoa is a high carb, yet highly nutritious food. It does not belong in a keto diet. However, it is a better carb choice for low-carb diets where the average carb budget for a meal is 30-45 grams total carbs.
This recipe calls for cooked quinoa. Simply place quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you need additional help with cooking quinoa, check out Lorena Grater's recipe tutorial over at Green Healthy Cooking. She has an excellent tutorial on how to cook quinoa that includes an instructional video. She offers tips on how to cook quinoa on both a stovetop and with an Instant Pot. Since you will be using cooked quinoa to make sweet muffins use plain water, not broth, for your cooking liquid. You can also try following the package directions. Results may vary.
Yes. To make these into vegan muffins you only need to substitute two ingredients: Butter and eggs. Swap butter with a tasty nut oil, like coconut or walnut oil. Then substitute eggs with flax eggs. Just mix 2 tablespoons of ground flax or ground chia seeds with 6 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes before adding it to the muffin batter. Alternatively, if you have soft tofu handy you can use tofu instead of eggs. Use a ½ cup of soft tofu to swap out two eggs. The final protein count, per serving, will vary depending on what you use to substitute the eggs in the recipe. If you need more tips on vegan cooking, check out Brita Britnell's food blog Food with Feeling.
How to store apple muffins with pecans and quinoa
These muffins will keep for two days in an airtight container stored at room temperature. They can be kept up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When ready to eat, simply bring to room temperature or re-warm in the microwave. Muffins can also be frozen for up to one month.Print
These breakfast muffins satisfy a sweet tooth. They can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for a quick and easy breakfast to go. Although apples and quinoa are high in carbs, they are nutritionally dense superfoods that deserve a place in a healthy diet. Just watch your portions. 1 muffin has only 7 grams of total carbs and 5 grams of net carbs! Depending on your carb budget, you can eat up to 4 muffins for breakfast or enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack.
¼ cup quinoa, uncooked
¾ cups water
3 tablespoon salted butter
2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup pecans, crushed
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
First cook the quinoa. Combine water and quinoa in a medium-sized pot. Stir. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir to fluff. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until thoroughly melted and combined with quinoa. Set aside. This will yield a little less than 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large mixing bowl combine apples and lemon juice.
Fold in pecans, cinnamon, vanilla, apples quinoa and baking powder. Mix to combine. Finally, fold in eggs.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking cup liners. Alternatively, skip the liners and grease the cups well with your favorite oil or butter. Scoop a ⅓ cup of muffin batter into each cup.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375°F. Let cool before eating.
Tip: Save time by peeling and chopping the apples while the quinoa is cooking.
Tip: Mix apples with lemon juice as you prep the apples to keep them fresh. Lemon juice prevents the cut apples from browning, brightens the flavor and reacts with baking powder during baking to produce a fluffy muffin.
Tip: an average-sized ice cream scoop works perfectly for scooping the batter into muffin tin.
Storage: These muffins will keep for two days in an airtight container stored at room temperature. They can be kept up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When ready to eat, simply wrap in a damp paper towel and re-warm in the microwave. Muffins can also be frozen for up to one month.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American