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Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins {gluten-free and vegan}

Home-selling wisdom says that if a prospective buyer tours a home with a warm cinnamon fragrance filling the air, they are more likely to buy. For sale or not, a cinnamon-spiced kitchen is an invitation to stay. Naturally-sweetened with grated apples and maple syrup, and loaded with raisins and walnuts, these apple cinnamon quinoa muffins are guaranteed to do the trick.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins --vegan and gluten-free | Letty's Kitchen

Introducing my favorite muffin in the entire world. Really. Back in the day, they had white flour, sugar and eggs. Not any more, here in this kitchen anyway. I switched those ingredients out for a more nutritious gluten-free and vegan version. Favorite muffins–same, same, but different.
Click here to PIN Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins.
The first to go was the sugar—instead came maple syrup. Next, out with white flour. I could have swapped in whole wheat flour, but went for gluten-free instead, with high-protein quinoa flour, which proved to be a good substitute for gluten-full wheat flour. Some say quinoa flour can have a bitter taste in baked goods, but I didn’t detect it in these muffins, what with all the apples, raisins, walnuts–and of course, cinnamon.

So, I mused, since those changes didn’t screw up my muffins, let’s go for vegan as well. Ambitious you say, don’t mess with a good thing by taking out the egg?

vegan Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins baked, in muffin tins

Well, I’m here to tell you that a mucus slurry of flax seeds and water, a “flax egg”, is a damn decent substitute for a chicken egg. Though they don’t rise as high as the originals, the muffins come out of the oven with rounded domes. Always moist and tender, with their familiar welcoming spicy flavor, apple cinnamon quinoa muffins are my healthy happy favorites.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins recipe notes:

  • The original recipe, the one that hooked me forever, comes from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham. She calls for diced apples, but in this variation the apples are grated.
  • For vegans, the gelatinous mix of ground flax seeds and water replaces eggs.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, on plate, one cut in half

  • Wholesome quinoa flour, ground from the ancient gluten-free grain, provides protein complete with all eight essential amino acids.
  • So these gluten-free muffins hold together well, I added arrowroot starch (aka arrowroot flour) to the dry ingredients. Alternatively you can use tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch.) Both arrowroot and tapioca starch are handy to have in the pantry–stored in jars, they last for years.
  • Did you know? Nutritious arrowroot will replace cornstarch or flour, one for one, in sauces and pastry cream. Also, in juicy fruit pies, tapioca flour binds the same as cornstarch and flour, with the bonus of a clear, not cloudy, thickened filling.
  • You might also want to try my Spiced Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins.

#Eat Seasonal:

It’s that time! Every month Becky of The Vintage Mixer blog  creates a seasonal produce guide, and we come up with recipes featuring a fruit or veggie from the list. These apple cinnamon quinoa muffins take advantage of November’s apple abundance.

Be sure to check out Becky’s first post this month, a roundup of seasonal produce recipes. For more ideas, follow the blog links below to see what everybody else came up with. We hope our recipes encourage you to get in the kitchen and cook something seasonal!

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Fried Goat Cheese by Food For My Family
Apple Crumble Pie Joy Food Sunshine
Pesto and Burrata Stuffed Acorn Squash by Vintage Mixer
Autumn Apple and Kale Salad with Parmesan and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Simple Bites
Cheesy Pesto Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Boats by Flavor the Moments
Maple Spiced Winter Vegetable and Kale Bowl by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Poblano Enchiladas by Completely Delicious

Seasonal Recipe Collage for Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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5 from 2 votes
Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, vegan and gluten-free | Letty's Kitchen
Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Naturally-sweetened with grated apples and maple syrup, and loaded with raisins and walnuts, these vegan and gluten-free muffins use "flax seed egga" and quinoa flour.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground flax seed (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 cups (unpeeled) cored Gala apples, grated (3 small apples)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa flour, raw or toasted (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  1. Mix the ground flax seed with the warm water in a bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, until it becomes thick and gelatinous. (This is a vegan egg replacer. If you wish, substitute 2 eggs.)
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 12 muffin cups cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil, or line with paper cupcake liners.
  3. In a larger bowl, mix the grated apples and maple syrup. Whisk the oil and vanilla into the flax egg replacer. In a third bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir the flax egg mixture into the apple mixture. Sprinkle the flour mixture over that and mix well. Stir in the raisins and ¾ cup of chopped walnuts.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup measure, divide into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining walnuts. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched with a finger. Cool for about 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan.
Recipe Notes

The gelatinous mix of flax seeds and water replaces eggs--vegan "flax egg." If you wish, substitute 2 eggs for the flax egg mixture.

Quinoa flour has a grassy, slightly bitter flavor. Toasting the flour before using gives it a better flavor, though it's not necessary. To toast the quinoa flour: Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 225°F. oven for 30 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before mixing into the muffin batter.


  • I’ve been hesitant to throw off my muffin game too but these look awesome with all those healthy ingredients!! I’ll have to give them a go! Reply · 7 November, 2016

    • Go for it Becky! This is def a success in the “healthify” experiment department! Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • I’ve never used quinoa flour and I definitely need to try it! I love maple syrup in baking…and so many other places…it’s so much tastier than sugar! These muffins look so wholesome and delicious, Letty! Reply · 7 November, 2016

    • Thanks Marcie. I am in love with maple syrup too. And with all the testing we have been ripping through it. Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • Maura Mark

    Ahhh, now this is perfecto! Vegan and GF speaks to me. Thanks Letty! Can’t wait to try these. Reply · 7 November, 2016

    • Thank you Maura! Just for you. <3 Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • Oh I love that you updated a favorite recipe to make it a bit more healthy. They look fantastic! And I can smell them from here. I’m sold! 🙂 Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • YES! I always baked cookies or bread or something cinnamony when we were trying to sell our condo! these muffins look fabulous! Reply · 7 November, 2016

    • Thanks Laura! And the condo sold, right? Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • I just love how you’ve updated your favorite muffins! I need to experiment more with quinoa flour, starting with these muffins! Reply · 7 November, 2016

    • Thanks Liren. I toasted some of the quinoa flour in a slow oven for and hour, but haven’t got around to making these the toasted variation. I think it could be one more improvement. Reply · 7 November, 2016

  • […] Via Letty’s Kitchen […] Reply · 31 December, 2018

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