I’ve been “treating myself” more often these last few months—a nice-smelling candle, a fancy bar of soap, and some good dark chocolate have all become a few of the ways that I offset a long to-do list and gloomy winter days. Another indulgence? Letting myself get a vegan muffin (and a scone for Aaron) from the bakery section when I do our grocery shopping. I realize that might sound really silly—”letting myself get a muffin”—but most of the time I’m very disciplined about sticking to a more practical grocery list (both for budget and health reasons because let’s be honest, those muffins may as well be cake).
Recently, however, I’ve been making an effort to be more relaxed about these smaller, fun types of purchases and using food as self-care not only for the nutrition, but also because sometimes you just want a damn muffin (or a bagel, or a bowl of pasta the size of your face). That’s how these homemade vegan blueberry muffins came to be—a form of comfort food and a way to treat myself without the junky vegetable oil and processed white sugars that are used in most store-bought baked goods (yes, even at Whole Foods).
Admittedly, these blueberry muffins are not your oversized bakery muffins. These are snack-sized, lightly sweet, no-worries-if-you-eat-two (or three) sorts of muffins. They’re studded with juicy blueberries (an add-on from our weekly Terra’s Kitchen meal kit delivery) and topped with a sprinkle of crunchy raw turbinado sugar. I use a flax “egg” to bind them together, almond milk + lemon juice to make a sort of buttermilk, and a small amount of avocado oil in place of butter. I’ve been using a lot of avocado oil lately because it’s neutral tasting, loaded with healthy fats, great for high-heat cooking, and just generally super versatile. Plus unlike coconut oil, I don’t have to melt it beforehand (one less thing to do!).
I prefer my blueberry muffins freshly baked and warm out of the oven, but you can also freeze them too! Simply store your muffins in an airtight bag in your freezer, then pop them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, or let them thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes or so (microwaving for 20-30 seconds works as well). They’ll keep for a good month in the freezer.
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup raw turbinado sugar + 1 tablespoon for topping
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 liners.
- Prepare a flax "egg" by combining the ground flax seeds and warm water. Stir and allow to thicken for 3 minutes. Stir the lemon juice into the almond milk and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine ½ cup raw turbinado sugar, avocado oil, and vanilla. Stir in the flaxseed mixture and almond milk/lemon juice mixture. Sift in the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Note: If you're using frozen blueberries, before you fold the berries into the batter, rinse them under cold water until the water runs almost clear.
- Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each about three-quarters full. Sprinkle with coconut sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm or place on a wire rack to cool completely.
I find it helpful to use an ice cream scoop to evenly portion the batter into the muffin tins.
To make this recipe gluten-free, replace the spelt flour with an equal amount of gluten-free baking blend. I really like this one from Bob's Red Mill.
Thank you to Terra’s Kitchen for sponsoring this post! We love their wholesome, 30 minute (or less!), plant-based meal kits, plus their option to add salads, smoothies, and pre-prepped fruit and vegetable sides to your order. You can read our full review of their meal-kit delivery service here, and enter PICKLES at checkout to take $35 off your first order!