Get Michelle’s no-nonsense
tips for healthy living

Grain-free Carrot Gingerbread Muffins (Easy, gluten-free, processed sugar free)

January 14, 2013
483 Flares 483 Flares ×

About 4 years ago I became online buddies with another nutrition coach, Diane Sanfilippo, who focuses on the Paleo eating and living.

carrot muffins

Do you know what Paleo is all about?

She writes: “The lifestyle is simply about (1) eating whole foods that provide better fuel for your body and (2) avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods. The means avoiding grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar and pasteurized dairy products.”

For the most part, I am a Paleo fan. Real food? Avoiding sugar? Yeah baby. Although for me, restrictions against all grains, beans and pasteurized dairy products is a little too restrictive. So I’d like to say I “lean towards” Paleo. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll know that I tend to avoid dairy and grains (especially gluten-containing grains) because they mess with my blood sugar too much. I find that protein and fats keep me full and happy much longer!

But I’m flexible. And I encourage you to be flexible, too. There’s no 1 perfect diet for everyone. And we don’t have to prescribe to a single food theory for life. From what I see, super energized folks who like lifting heavy weights really benefit from lots of meat in their diet. That makes sense! And those who are more happy meditating and floating through yoga class tend to do well with less meat.

But everyone feels better without processed food. Everyone. Quote me on that.

Or as Diane writes: “You may very well experience vibrant, long-term and exemplary health eating foods outside of these recommendations. Someone who eats processed foods and maintains excellent health is hardly the norm, however.”

Anyway. In the past 4 years I got married, moved to a new city and had a baby all while growing my business. It’s been hard, good work. Diane on the other hand – girl wrote a book! And it’s a New York Times Bestseller! Hot diggity damn! You may have even seen Practical Paleo on the shelves at the bookstore.

making muffins

I’ve been psyched to review what she’s put together and let me tell you – the title may sound like a “basics” book but Practical Paleo is super comprehensive, covering every topic from healing a leaky gut to cancer recovery to how to chop an onion.

But mostly what I’ve loved is getting some new ideas for food that doesn’t require grains. As more and more folks move away from grains, we need to learn how to make new favorites. And Diane’s Carrot Gingerbread Muffins are definitely going to be one of my new favorites.

Carrot Gingerbread Muffins
This version includes a few tweaks I made: less sweetener (boy are these sweet!) and adding coconut. The original recipe has an optional frosting which I did not make. Shared with Dianne’s permission.
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3 cups shredded carrots (easy with your food processor’s shredding blade)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk the eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Sift in the coconut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix until well combined and fairly smooth. Add the carrots, raisins and coconut. Stir well.

In a muffin tin, scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined muffin container (I used a silicone baking tin which probably isn’t idea. If using liners in a metal tin, Diane recommends natural parchment muffin papers) and bake for 40 minutes.

Cool before storing in the refrigerator.

The best part about making these muffins was my little helper. My son is almost 2 and very good at pushing that food processor button with my hovering assistance. Get those kids in the kitchen, touching and smelling and tasting real food. That’s one dietary theory I do stick to, 100%.

If you’ve been curious about Paleo or just dabbling in different food ideas, check out Practical Paleo for a really cool take on food and health – plus great recipes. I’m planning to try the Roasted Jalepeno & Garlic Sauerkraut next!

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I’ve heard really great things about this book! These gingerbread muffins really say it all. Being paleo still means eating delicious food!

    • http://www.findyourbalancehealth.com/ Michelle Pfennighaus, CHC

      Yes, I see these recipes combining quite well with my usual eating style!

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.perazzini Suzanne Perazzini

    I have spent the few months eating paleo but I also want to be nut-free, which can be difficult on Paleo because they use such a lot of almond flour in their baking. All my baking is now done with coconut flour so I am thrilled to see this recipe with coconut flour. There are not enough out there. The only thing I would do is take out the maple syrup and add some honey or date puree. I must try these.

  • http://twitter.com/CupcakeKaleChip Cupcakes&KaleChips

    I am definitely making these! You said you decreased the sweetener and that they were very sweet. Was this after you decreased it? Could you drop to, say 1/4 c.

  • Eleanor

    Great observation: that weight-lifting, driven types of people often gravitate toward paleo, while laid-back yoga folks seem more comfortable as vegetarians or vegans. Wonder which comes first – the diet or the personality? As usual, I’m somewhere in the middle. I can’t live without animal protein, but I don’t do well avoiding grains and starches, either. Whatever I can’t have, I tend to crave – a lot. I’m better off not putting anything off limits!

  • Amanda

    Hi there – this sounds great from my little 1 yr old boy who can’t stomach grains. We live in South Africa where finding coconut flour is impossible, and I don’t have the capacity to make it. Do you know what I could sub it with? We do have almond flour, but its’ at a serious premium over here – do you know of any buckwheat, potato, chick pea, tapioca, etc, etc….flour blend I could use? Thank you!!

    • http://www.findyourbalancehealth.com/ Michelle Pfennighaus, CHC

      Hmm. I am not as well-versed in grain free baking as Diane is so I don’t have a great recommendation. If you post this on my FB fan page Facebook.com/FindUrBalance other readers may be able to help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennyparrenin Jenny Parrenin

    Entering into a grain-free curious phase … Will definitely be making these! These look scrumptious!

  • Steph

    I made these last weekend because I had a bag of shredded carrots and didn’t know what to do with them. I definitely didn’t miss the processed sugar or the wheat. I’ve never used coconut flour before either, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did opt for the coconut oil instead of the butter – again, couldn’t tell the difference.

    However – a couple of notes.

    1) I used paper muffin cups because that’s what I had and the paper got stuck to the bottom of the muffins. Not a big deal, but I did have to take a knife and cut the bottoms off. Maybe using the parchment muffin cups as noted in the recipe is the way to go.

    2) They don’t really rise, so whatever you put in the muffin cup is basically the size you’re going to get. I only had 18 papers, so that’s how many I made and they were fine. I was worried they’d overflow in the oven but they didn’t.

    3) And this I just learned the hard way – store them in the fridge. Seriously. I was half-awake this morning while eating one…looking at it and thinking “gee, I don’t remember putting spinach in these.” Oh no, not spinach. Just moldy, moldy carrots.

483 Flares Facebook 213 Pin It Share 251 Twitter 16 Google+ 3 483 Flares ×