Cranberry Quinoa Muffins (100% Whole Grain!)

cranberry quinoa muffin

Remember the Quinoa Pecan Muffins I made last month? They were moist, hearty and flavorful even though I didn’t use the ½ cup of quinoa flour the recipe called for in addition to whole wheat flour. Ever since then, I’ve been curious how quinoa flour would affect the texture and flavor of the muffins.  Last week I made the muffins again, this time using quinoa flour along with whole wheat flour. And since it’s mid-November and I’ve hardly touched the 3-lb. bag of cranberries in my freezer, I decided a healthy handful of cranberries couldn’t possibly hurt. A few teaspoons of orange zest and cardamom soon followed. Thus was born another variation of the Quinoa Muffin, a little truer to the original recipe as far as the flours go.

To my delight, the quinoa flour gave the muffins a lighter, less dense texture than the muffins made only with whole wheat flour. I didn’t think the previous muffins were particularly dense, but these quinoa-flour muffins had me thinking, “Really? These are 100% whole grain?” The quinoa flour did not have a detectable effect on the taste of the muffins, which makes it a good whole grain flour to incorporate into baked goods without altering flavor. Though the muffins only call for ½ cup of quinoa flour, I think it’s worth searching for in the bulk bins of your local health food store.

Let’s not forget the cranberries: these tart little gems added a pop of color and a flavor to these good but plain-Jane muffins. Every time I opened the Tupperware holding our muffins, the smell of cranberries had me reaching for a muffin. Put simply: I love the tartness cranberries add to baked goods, and these muffins are no exception.

Cranberries and Quinoa. Yes, they make for some good alliteration, but they also make for a darn good muffin.

Makes 12 muffins


1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs
¼ cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
¾ cup buttermilk*
¼ cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cooked quinoa
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ¼ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Make the Muffins

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and place a rack in the middle. Grease 12 muffin cups (or place paper liners in muffin cups). Whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs,  agave nectar, buttermilk, coconut oil and vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture, then fold in the cooked quinoa, walnuts and cranberries. Don’t overmix!
  3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and cool on a rack.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just use milk and vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute: Pour 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, pour in enough milk to reach 1 cup, stir and let sit 5 minutes before using. Yields 1 cup of buttermilk substitute.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Quinoa Pecan Muffins from the New York Times Online.

quinoa cranberry muffin 2

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