These one-bowl vegan banana cranberry muffins are super fast to whip together and healthy enough to have for breakfast! They are fluffy and light with a hint of cinnamon and orange to give that festive winter flavour. The cranberries add a lovely tart pop and the brown bananas and coconut sugar add a mellow natural sweetness. Give these vegan treats a try and I promise they’ll quickly become a staple in your repertoire.
What makes these muffins vegan & healthy?
I created this recipe out of necessity, I had some very overripe bananas that needed to be used up, but I didn’t have any eggs. So I figured ‘why not use this as an opportunity to try my hand at some vegan baking’. Strangely enough, many of the vegan muffin recipes I found were not particularly healthy, they either had a ton of added sugar or used margarine (which I absolutely do not want to consume). So I figured I might as well create my own little vegan muffin baking experiment.
What’s vegan about this recipe?
- Flaxseed meal instead of eggs. This is very easy to make by grinding some flax seeds in a small blender. You could also use a pestle and mortar to grind the flax seeds, but that would take some more time.
- Coconut oil instead of butter. Butter is made from milk, but dairy can not be used in a vegan recipe. I figured olive oil might have too harsh a flavour so I opted for virgin coconut oil instead.
- Plant-based milk instead of regular milk. I’ve used oat milk, but you could substitute this for any plant-based milk of your choice.
Muffins that are healthy enough to have for breakfast
I always use real butter, but since butter is made from dairy this is not an option in a vegan recipe. Coconut oil is a great substitute for butter in baking and it has many health benefits too. Even though some virgin coconut oils might have a slight coconut smell and taste you will not notice this at all after baking. Unrefined virgin coconut oil undergoes minimal processing and therefore keeps most of its nutrients.
Oats and flax seeds add loads of fibre to this recipe. This is great for your digestion. I have used organic white flour instead of whole-grain flour for the rest of the dry ingredients because I was afraid the muffins would otherwise become too dense. They turned out light and fluffy so white flavour was a good choice!
Coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar is a natural sugar made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. This sugar is not made from coconuts and doesn’t taste like coconuts either. It’s a brown granulated sugar that looks a bit similar to raw sugar and has a warm flavour that is a bit like brown sugar and caramel. This natural sugar is healthier than regular white sugar because it is less processed and even contains trace amounts of minerals. However, it is still a type of sugar, so I’ve only used a small amount, just enough to make the muffins taste a bit sweeter. If you want more sweetness feel free to add more sugar.
Cranberries are very tart red berries that are popular in many winter and festive holiday recipes. Dried cranberries are often coated in sugar to make them sweeter, but if you’ve ever tried fresh cranberries you’ll know they are super sour. Like most berries, cranberries are considered a type of superfood because of their immense health benefits. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, they’re especially high in vitamin C. They are also high in antioxidants that help keep our bodies healthy.
Here’s everything you need to make these vegan banana muffins
This healthy vegan muffin recipe is made with mostly pantry staples so you won’t have to go out to find any unique ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Bananas: You need about 3 bananas, depending on their size. Make sure they have plenty of brown spots for maximum sweetness. The darker they are, the more natural sugars have developed.
- Mandarin orange: Use both the zest and the juice of 2 mandarins. You could also use regular oranges. They add a fragrant sweet citrus smell and taste to these muffins. Make sure to use organic, since you are using the zest as well.
- Cranberries: These add a tart pop of flavour. I’ve used frozen, but you could also go for fresh cranberries when they're in season.
- Milk: A little bit of oat milk adds more moisture to this recipe. You can use any type of (plant-based) milk you like.
- Coconut oil: adds moisture to these muffins. I’ve used it instead of butter. Don’t worry, these muffins won’t taste like coconut at all!
- Coconut sugar: This natural sugar adds a touch more sweetness.
- Flaxseed meal: These will absorb some of the moisture and help keep the muffins together just like a regular egg would. On top of that, they also add loads of fibre.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour is what you need to keep these muffins light and fluffy.
- Oats: Oats add extra fibre and give a slightly nutty flavour. You could even sprinkle some extra oats on top if you like!
- Baking staples: baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.
Tips & Alternatives
- Use extra ripe bananas. The darker the better because that means more natural sugars that will give these muffins a sweet taste.
- Cranberries add a sour pop of flavour. Use fresh or frozen cranberries for that typical tart flavour. Dried cranberries could also be nice, but are usually a bit sweeter. You could also swap out for any other berry of your choice.
- Coconut sugar is a dark brown natural sugar with hints of caramel flavour. You could use regular brown sugar or cane sugar instead.
- Mandarin oranges give that sweet citrus flavour, they can easily be substituted for regular oranges.
- Add-ins: Switch things up by adding your favourite nuts, chocolate chips or berries to this recipe!
- Non-vegan: Use melted butter instead of coconut oil, regular milk instead of a plant-based version and/or an egg instead of the flax meal. (You could actually keep the flax meal or seeds in the recipe for extra fibre.)
- Cooling time: The muffins will be a bit soft when they just come out of the oven. The paper muffin liner is easier to remove once they are completely cooled.
Check out these other healthy and vegan recipe ideas:
- If you’re looking for more vegan recipes then check out this roasted maple butternut squash salad or golden glow ginger turmeric pumpkin soup. Both are full of nutrients and will keep you coming back for more!
- If you love baking you probably use loads of vanilla extract. This homemade vanilla extract is cheaper and tastes way better than most supermarket varieties. It’s also super easy to make with just 2 ingredients!
- Are you trying to upgrade your breakfast? Start your day off right with this healthy and delicious Apple Pie Oatmeal with maple syrup and baked apples. Or go for this Cranberry Detox Smoothie to start your day with a glass full of vitamins!