Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Pumpkin is one of those ingredients we typically think of as seasonal—it’s a sign of autumn, hearty and paired with spices that bring comfort and warmth. In my kitchen, however, this subtly sweet squash is a year-round staple. Pumpkin is packed with key vitamins and is perfect as a base in breads and healthy snacks, soups, stir-frys, curries and more.
Recently, I’ve been working on cleaning up my daily menu as part of an overall effort to become a stronger, leaner rock climber. While I don’t believe in 100% denial of the vices that I sometimes crave (i.e., sometimes eating a square of dark chocolate just makes me a better person), I have now all but eliminated wheat, dairy, sugar and meat from the foods I cook on a daily basis and I can honestly say that I don’t miss anything. Instead, I’ve gotten more creative about inventing recipes that meet my needs throughout the day, with high-quality, whole foods that are both mouth-watering and full of macro and micronutrients that occur naturally in the ingredients.
Here is one of my recent successes: a perfect, compact snack to fuel up the body for my hour-long bike commutes or after-work climbing sessions. It’s small enough to pack, super tasty, and filled with the right kind of dense, healthy calories that won’t result in a crash or food coma.
Gluten-free Vegan Pumpkin Teff Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup teff flour
- ½ cup tapioca starch (I only had tapioca pellets, and these worked great too—if you use them, add to the wet mix instead of the dry)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
- ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup agave or Grade B maple syrup (or a blend to equal ⅓ cup)
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- ⅓ cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil or Crisco. Whisk together ground flax with warm water in a small bowl and set this aside. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: teff flour, tapioca starch (unless using pellets), baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
On the stove, stir together pumpkin, oil, maple syrup or honey, molasses and vanilla over medium heat. Be sure to taste frequently; after all, you’re the chef. You may wish to throw in more spice—by all means, do! I rarely limit my spices to the recommended amount, especially when we’re talking about cinnamon. Stir frequently until everything is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add in the flax mixture.
Now, pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, stirring until they are thoroughly combined. The resulting batter will be thick, not unlike spongy bread dough. If you like nuts and raisins, this is the time to add them.
Spoon evenly into the muffin cups, take that necessary Instagram photo, and stick that puppy in the oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until dark brown. (The ‘clean knife’ test is a good way to check whether they’re done inside) Allow muffins to cool for five minutes* before taking them out of the tin and placing on a wire rack. Eat some, and once completely cool, store the rest in an airtight container.
*If you’re impatient like me, take one directly out of the tin, slice it open and slather some vegan coconut oil 'butter' spread on the still-hot insides before drizzling agave on top. Attempt to eat while burning the roof of your mouth, during which moans of pain and joy may simultaneously occur. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.