Banana Chocolate Muffins – Gluten Free, Vegan, & Super Nutritious!

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Banana Chocolate Muffins - Gluten Free, Vegan, & Super Nutritious! Ultra moist, soft crumb, just sweet.  No starches, no gums, and low sugar.  Could it even taste good?  You betcha!

This post is part of May 2013 Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free over at Shirley’s GFE!  Come visit to see all the recipes under the theme” “When You’re Grain Free and Feeling Like a Nut, But Don’t Eat Tree Nuts or Peanuts”


I wanted to make a recipe for friend and had shared  La Tartine Gourmande, with her.    She earmarked many a recipes that looked good to her.  I picked up a copy of this book after reading stellar reviews: the food photography in this book is stunning and I am trying to glean some ideas and teach myself some new things….food photography classes don’t hop by Portland, Oregon all that often  (:!  On top of that, there are lots of gourmet gluten free foods within the pages.  The author writes an award winning blog by the same name.

This recipe was called Banana. Chocolate, and Hazelnut Muffins.  They were truly delicious.  I made my friend’s batch with many a tweaks…but those tweaks included ghee, eggs, and hazelnuts: WAY off-limits to my son.  Of course, I wasn’t about to let my cutie pie sit on the sidelines while everyone else enjoyed a muffin for snack time!  So I continued my tweaking to make a batch for him.  Let me share with you my changes to the recipe, and the reasoning behind my choices!

  • Butter: Casein is a no in our family, so I used grass fed ghee for my friend’s batch.  For my son, we used all coconut oil as it is one the healthiest dairy-free fats out there and is solid like butter.
  • Eggs:   We love eggs, but my son keeps reacting to them, even in baked goods.  So for his batch, I left these out.  I knew the bananas would replace egg’s binding properties well enough, but I needed to provide some additional lift.  I increased the leavening and use an acid (vinegar) to provide some additional oompf!

    Raw Buckwheat Groats

    Raw Buckwheat Groats

  • Blonde Cane Sugar:  I don’t even have any cane sugar in the house anymore.  Both batches I used coconut palm sugar, a healthier, lower glycemic sweetener I use often.
  • Whole Milk Yogurt: Again with the casein: we used coconut milk yogurt.
  • Quinoa Flour: I hated quinoa flour until I learned a little trick this last summer: toast it!  This neutralizes the tannins which are bitter.  Now quinoa flour is well loved by all in our family, no off-tasting baked goods.  I highly recommend it and it is higher in protein than most grains: always nice!  Since I buy per-ground flour, I put a whole 18oz bag of flour on a cookie sheet and place it in a 325 degree oven for abut 30 minutes…stirring a couple of times.  It should be turning golden and smell toasted!
  • Buckwheat Flour: I don’t mind buckwheat flour (which is ground from toasted buckwheat groats), but my kids won’t go for it: it has a very distinct flavor.  I use raw buckwheat groats that I find in the bulk food section of my Whole Foods.  These are much more mild in flavor and I can pass it off unnoticed on my kids.  It is easy to whir the groats in your blender or a coffee grinder to make a flour.
  • Hazelnut Flour: This was delicious in my friend’s batch, but to make it nut free, I looked to another higher protein flour: coconut. I had to use less, as coconut flour absorbs a lot more liquid than hazelnut flour!

Oh here is one of my ‘helpers’:


What mom, this isn’t helpful?! What do you mean you’re trying to take a picture?!

So there you have it: a little window into my brain as I make recipes work for my family and a bit of the baking science behind it!  We all know I LOVE to bake!  I blame my mom for that one…we did an awful lot of baking together growing up, it is one of my fondest memories. I hope my kids learn to love it as much as me!

We love these muffins, and hope you do too.

Here are couple more muffin/bread recipes with bananas that you may like to try:

Banana Chocolate Muffins - Gluten Free, Vegan, & Super Nutritious!


5.0 from 4 reviews
Banana Chocolate Muffins - Gluten Free, Vegan, & Super Nutritious!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 3 over-ripe bananas, lots of brown spots
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil (solid) (ghee or butter would work too)
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (I used coconut-milk yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice (this helps with rise)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup TOASTED quinoa flour (see above notes in post for how-to)
  • ½ cup freshly ground buckwheat groats (grind in your blender or coffee grinder to achieve a flour)
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate pieces or chips
  • ½ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the bananas, coconut oil, sugar, yogurt, vinegar, and vanilla on high speed until relatively smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. With the mixer still on medium, sprinkle in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Continue with the mixer on medium: add each of the flours. Scrape the sides if necessary, and beat until smooth.
  5. Add in dark chocolate and hazelnuts if using and mix gently to incorporate.
  6. In a prepared muffin tin, evenly distribute the batter amongst all 12 cups.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the tops are just set/firm.


This post was shared on Mostly Homemade Monday, Hearth & Soul, Fat Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not, GF Wednesday, Foodie Friday, Real Food Friday, GF Friday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Homstead Blog Hop,

Savoring Saturdays

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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Posted in Breads & Muffins Tagged with: , , , ,
27 comments on “Banana Chocolate Muffins – Gluten Free, Vegan, & Super Nutritious!
  1. Stephanie says:

    Toasted quinoa flour:do you make your own? If so, how? Thank you!

  2. These look fantastic! I really like your pictures and food photography but I know what you mean. I feel like I work forever but my pictures leave something to be desired cause I don’t know what I’m doing… but again, I think yours are gorgeous!

  3. Laura says:

    Qunioa flour toasted-wow, GREAT idea Tessa! Need to try that in my blueberry pancake recipe. There is nothing better than muffins made with banana and chocolate. Fabulous recipe brimming with goodness!

  4. You’re such a good momma! And it looks like the muffins turned out marvelously! La Tartine Gourmande has gorgeous photography to be certain.

  5. Alison says:

    Tessa, I have a question about quinoa flour. Quinoa has a very bitter coating (saponins) which, as Sally Fallon states in her book Nourishing Traditions “contains antinutrients and therefore requires a long soaking as part of the preparation process.” Basically meaning that it is difficult to digest and the minerals and nutrients are bound up in the seed unless properly soaked in an acidic medium. I’m suspicious that,because quinoa flour is so bitter, that it has not been rinsed or soaked prior to grinding it into flour. It would also mean that the flour would be difficult to digest unless it was soaked. However,I’m wondering if you’ve heard that toasting the quinoa removes the saponins?

    Thanks for sharing the reasons behind your approach to make the recipe allergen friendly. I always appreciate that so I can better tweak my own recipes!

    • Alison says:

      I just clicked on the link that took me to the how to make the quinoa flour (sorry I didn’t see it before, I thought you bought it). She rinses it and then toasts it. I think I’d follow Sally Fallon’s advice and soak for 12 hours, toast and then grind.

      I have 6 bananas waiting to try out this recipe! thanks!

    • If I am not mistaken Alison..the saponins break down in the toasting process. All commercial flour, quinoa included is not soaked or rinsed prior to milling. I do not believe this replaces the soaking process….but you CAN soak flours with an acid medium…but it is a different technique that I have not yet perfected enough to share!
      Soaking the whole quinoa grain, dehydrating then toasting would be an option too…although I have not tested home-milled quinoa flour in this recipe. Let me know how it goes! I have been wanting to do this as it is much less expensive as a grain than the flour!

    • Leann says:

      You can leave the flour mixed in with the yogurt on the counter overnight. That will break down the saponins :) Then mix everything else in when you wake up. Voila! That’s how I used to make cornbread before I turned Paleo.

  6. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  7. All the tweaks you have made have made these muffins super wholesome as well! It’s lovely you were able to make the recipe suitable for everyone in your family. You Banana Chocolate Muffins look just delicious.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Hi Tessa,
    Great to know that toasting the quinoa before hand makes a less bitter flour, as it’s so nutritious I can’t wait to try it in this delicious looking muffin recipe!

  9. I’m sharing this with the peeps at Keep It Real Thursdays ar Thanks for contributing.

  10. MQ says:

    Thanks so much for the hint about toasting quinoa flour.

  11. I love that you included your reasonings behind the flour and other ingredients. That is super helpful. Thanks! :)

  12. Wow, not only do these look amazing but so healthy and I found this very interesting too. I have been making muffins made from home ground oat flour and I wonder if I could do that easily with quinoa too. Quinoa is much more expensive than oats where I live but it would be good for a healthy alternative.
    I’ve been reading a lot about grains, soaking etc. lately and a lot of bread recipes that I have read have said that if you mix the wet and dry ingredients together and then leave it for a good length of time before baking it, that’s the same as soaking the grains. I’m still experimenting myself though and not sure how well it would work with muffins.
    Thank you so much for sharing this on Healthy Vegan Fridays.
    Have a great weekend and I hope to see you back today, Katherine :)

    • Yes Katherine, I am exper9enting with the same technique….but I am pretty sure there has to be an acid medium of some sort to help break the phytic acid down….don’t quote me on that though!! Still learning…..

  13. Senka says:

    We’ve recently launched the website It’s a search engine that aims to gather all the best recipes from US websites and blogs in one place. We’ve noticed that you have a lot of great looking recipes on your blog that we would love to feature on our site. To read more about how it all works and to sign up with your blog, please visit: or send us an email on We look forward to hearing from you!

    Kind regards,

  14. I have so many pictures with a little helper grabbing a bite when I am trying to take a picture :) LOL I think my youngest is starting to react to eggs. Sigh…I’d like to NOT add another allergy to the list :(
    Got this tweeted and pinned. Thanks for linking up to Gluten Free Fridays!

  15. Jesse Mayfield says:

    I made these this morning, and used ground oats instead of the buckwheat (didn’t have any). I also added one egg–since we don’t have any allergies. They were AMAZING! By far the best gluten free recipe I have tried, to date!!

  16. Vicky says:

    What a wonderful recipe Tessa! I gave up on using quinoa flour because everything tasted bitter however, I will try toasting it again now. I think I must have burnt it when I tried so thank you for the great instructions!

    My hubby is also going to LOVE this recipe since he can’t eat eggs and this is a fabulous treat!


  17. Marla says:

    Hi Tessa,
    Great information and the recipe sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted.
    Marla recently posted…Real Food Fridays #85 – Living The Real Healthy LifestyleMy Profile

  18. Thanks for sharing your process, Tessa! I go through that with every recipe, too, whether it’s for vegan / lactose intolerant friends or my own gluten or nut allergies, no recipe ever gets made anywhere close to what’s written 😉 It makes it so much more satisfying when a new recipe actually works out (and lame when it doesn’t ;p )

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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