Healthy & Hearty Zucchini Carrot Muffins with Apples

Let me just preface this recipe with the fact that these are Serious Muffins.
 
Not cupcakes masquerading as muffins.
 
They’re the sort of muffins other muffins aspire to be. Dense, hearty, and delicious.

The kind of muffin for breakfast you can legitimately eat without throwing your blood sugar off of the nearest cliff. The kind you can take on road trips and throw in your backpack for a hike knowing they will not be a sad pancake when you get there. Crumbled? Maybe. But never pancaked.

I’m kinda serious about muffins, if you hadn’t noticed.

I have nothing against cupcakes. It’s just...why can’t we let cupcakes be cupcakes?! And if we wanna eat cake for breakfast, have at ‘er! Eat the cake and own it. That’s all I’m saying. Why do we eat cake whilst fibbing about it and calling it a muffin?
 
If I ice the carrot muffin it “becomes” a carrot cupcake. But if I made a pan of carrot cake and didn’t ice it, I would never in a bajillion years consider saying I made a pan of carrot muffin. It’s weird. Humans are weird.
 

Cake-shaped is always cake, loaf shaped is always a loaf, but if you make it small and round there is an instant muffin-cupcake identity crisis. What came first? The muffin or the cupcake?!
 

Someone is responsible for this mess, but it certainly is not these delicious muffin-muffins!

Let’s get back to the baking at hand…zucchini, carrot, and apple. Three of nature's most shreddable baking-friendly plants. ALL. IN. ONE. Deep breath. Yes, you can have it all...and use up that ginormous zucchini you bought at the market when you were feeling invincible.

Some key recipe notes:

Muffin tins

Because these are dense muffins full of moisture-bearing fruits and veggies, smaller is better for evenly cooked muffins. Stick with a standard muffin tin. Yes, I know 18 muffins is a weird amount but I happen to have a lot of muffin tins.
 

Sorry not sorry.

Shredding stuff

I highly recommend a food processor for efficient shredding, but an old-fashioned grater will do just fine. As I see it, you need to shred the rest of that giant zuke anyway.

A bowl of very clean and broken carrots and potatoes washed clean by accidentally putting them in a washing machine.

Flour

I love baking with spelt flour because it’s a nutritious whole-grain flour that bakes more like white flour than whole wheat. Feel free to swap in whole wheat, white, or a mixture of these according to what you have on hand. I have not tried any other flours, but if you experiment I’d love to hear how it goes!

Sugar

Many people are wary of added sugar these days, but in the chemistry of baking, sugar is an important part of the structure of the finished product. Sugar bonds with the water in moist ingredients to keep things from getting hard crumbly and flat. Sugar also creates a pleasant mouthfeel, and since enjoying the experience of your food is a BIG part of being satisfied, you don’t want to completely cut it out.
 

BUT STILL!! We want to balance those factors while still making it as healthy as possible along the spectrum. So this recipe suggests a mix of sugars.
 

Palm sugar (sometimes called coconut sugar, but is often made from the sap of the date palm tree) contains less glucose and has a lower glycemic index than white table sugar. This means that it keeps your blood sugar levels more stable than other sweeteners so your energy levels don't spike and crash.
 

Brown sugar includes some additional minerals from the molasses content, and has more flavor and moisture retaining properties than conventional white sugar.

Soak raisins before baking

Unless you just bought a brand new bag at the store, your raisins are probably more dry than you actually want for baking. Soaking them in hot water while you prep the batter and they will plump up perfectly. I usually boil the water in the kettle because it goes faster.

Don’t overmix

"Folding in" the zucchini and friends means stir only enough to combine. Definitely add a splash of water cause it is super thick, but you don’t want to get stir crazy. More stirring makes the batter progressively more glue-like so less is more as long as the flour is all mixed in.

Alright, I’ve distracted you long enough. Let’s make muffins!

Mealtime conversation starters

Five smiling cartoon vegetables used as an icon for conversation topics for friends.

A study done by Professor Mehl researched what enhanced your well-being more, small talk or substantial conversation.

What did the study discover?

Participants who had more substantive conversations with others reported a greater degree of happiness, overall. This held true for introverts and extroverts. Going a bit deeper, the more meaningful and substantive conversations people had, the more satisfied they were.

Talking matters. It opens the windows to another person’s values. How cool is that? A topic to talk about with your friends:

If you could add a new friend to your life who would it be?

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Plate with zucchini carrot muffins with apples on it. The carrots, apples and raisins are easy to see and look very moist.
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4.80 from 5 votes

Zucchini Carrot Muffins with Apples

These Zucchini Carrot Muffins are packed with nutrition. The whole grains are kept moist and delicious with the inclusion of apples and raisins. A perfect breakfast or hearty snack that will keep you going for hours.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Cooling time5 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 18 muffins
Calories: 255
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegetarian

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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar a combination of brown and palm sugar can be nice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup oil extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or melted coconut oil are good choices
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
  • 2 cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup zucchini shredded
  • 1 cup carrot shredded
  • 1 cup apple shredded, a tart variety like granny smith
  • cup walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup raisins soaked and drained

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line or grease a muffin tin (or just use silicon for less fuss).
  • Pop your raisins in a glass or bowl of water to plump them up.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, and oil.
  • In another large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. The batter will be very thick (you may want to add a splash of water).
  • With the spoon, fold in the zucchini, apple, carrot, nuts, and raisins (drained).
  • Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out with only a crumb or two on it.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes, then very yummy served warm.
    Bon appetit!

Notes

Will store at room temperature for one day, but freeze very well.
Allow to cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat them, allow to thaw at room temperature, or you can reheat quickly by microwaving in 30 second increments until just right.

Hand Size Portions

Nutrition Facts
Zucchini Carrot Muffins with Apples
Serving Size
 
1 muffin
Amount per Serving
Calories
255
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
8
g
Cholesterol
 
21
mg
7
%
Sodium
 
141
mg
6
%
Potassium
 
116
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
27
g
9
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
1236
IU
25
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
14
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Palm: .5
Fist: zero
Handful: 1
Thumb: 1.5

Hand Portions

When you look at the nutritional values of a meal to log what you are eating, that is called tracking macros. A lot of people use this method to reach their health goals.

Looking at hand portion size and using this method to gauge how and what you eat is also a great method to help you reach your health goals. Many people who use this method often think this form of tracking meals is easier and more sustainable for a lifetime.

Want to learn more about hand portion size and how to use it to reach your goals? Check out the article How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.

Health Ninja Jeanette Marcotte is a health coach and professional geologist, who is obsessed with helping fellow professional women reclaim their time and energy by weaving healthy choices into their daily lives.

When she is not coaching or looking at rocks, you can find her hanging out in her garden with her dog, collecting new hobbies, and/or reading far too many books at once.

Find other articles written by Jeanette on her coach profile. Hang around for mindset strategies and micro-habits that will transform your health & confidence so that you feel like a Health Ninja, too!