Bananas and I haven’t always had the best relationship, but this gluten-free banana oatmeal muffin recipe will appeal to the toughest critics.
Of all the fruit out there that I’ve tried, it’s pretty safe to say that bananas are not my favourite. They’re not even in my top 5. I think it’s a texture thing. I mean, I’ll eat a banana, don’t get me wrong (if I’m famished and breaking into a cold sweat from my blood sugar dropping and the only thing within reach is a banana). But I’m not about to pick a banana if other fruit options are made available to me. I like my fruit to be either crisp, juicy, or a combination of the two. Bananas are neither crisp or juicy. So I suppose my apathy towards bananas is to blame for my late introduction to banana bread.
If I don’t really enjoy bananas in the first place, why would I subject myself to the fruit in bread form?! Because it’s delicious. That’s why. It definitely took some doing, especially when the first piece of banana bread was riddled with those little brown squiggly things that look a bit like worms… you know what I”m talking about. It totally creeped me out a bit. Kind of like how rehydrated q’ia seeds creep me out. They look like some teeny tiny eggs you might find in a pond full of small amphibians. *Gag* Having said that, I know that they’re healthy for you, which is why those little seeds have been added into this recipe, but you can’t see them in a muffin! Q’ia seed pudding on the other hand? No thanks!
But back to the banana bread. This baked wonder is delicious thanks to the dubious fruit that is used as a base. The mashed-up banana gives the baked good ample sweetness and moisture. And in the baking process, the banana flavour takes on a more subtle, caramelized tone that pairs so well with the requisite cinnamon and brown sugar that you can’t help but welcome it with open arms. The caveat though? Banana bread isn’t actually that healthy. Gasp! But it’s made with fruit! Well, once you factor in the butter and all the sugar that goes into it, the whole healthy bit kind of goes out the window. Let’s be honest here. It’s cake. That’s why it tastes so darn good! And you know what makes it even better? Chocolate chips!
So while I’ve hopped on the banana bread wagon, I’m still looking for a kid-friendly and (mostly) healthy rendition of this tasty snack.
I don’t know about you, but trying to find snacks that the kids will eat on a semi-regular basis that aren’t loaded with fat and sugar and salt and preservatives and, and, and, and…(and doesn’t cost a fortune!) is enough to drive you crazy some days! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above buying the happy stuff made by the professionals from time to time, but at the rate that my boys burn through the snacks, I might go bankrupt before too long… Between the granola bars/bites and biscuits and crackers and whatnot, it can get pretty overwhelming in that snack aisle at the grocery store. And that’s me shopping without the kids! It’s major sensory overload reading and checking all he labels to make sure you know what you’re putting in your mouth (which is a good practice) but wouldn’t it be great to know what’s in it from the get go? That’s the beauty of making your own stuff.
If you’re like me and you’re trying to find a balance between healthy and tasty and not spending the kids’ college fund on prepackaged stuff, then you might want to give this gluten-free banana oatmeal muffin recipe a try. Made in a mini-muffin size and with just enough chocolate (!) to make them “feel” like a treat, these small bites are perfect for little hands at snack or breakfast time. Now you may be questioning if chocolate and healthy really go together, but I figure, if I’ve cut out the ton of butter, reduced the sugar, and added q’ia seeds and oats for extra fibre and nutrition then a bit of chocolate is okay! Besides, chocolate has antioxidants! Antioxidants!
This is definitely a heartier version of the traditional banana bread. The oats give the muffins a great texture and a satisfying chew that will make you reaching for a second one before you know it. And this recipe couldn’t get any easier or quicker. If you can mash things, stir things, and scoop things you’re good to go!
Gluten-Free Banana Oatmeal Muffins
makes 30 mini muffins
3 very ripe, medium bananas
2 large, free range eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup brown rice flour (maybe a bit more depending on the size of the bananas you used)
2 tablespoons whole q’ia (chia) seeds
1 cup quick oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with vegetable oil on a paper towel. You could alternatively line your mini muffin tin with paper liners. But in my experience, a lighter-on-the-fat and gluten-free baked good doesn’t do well with paper liners. You end up with half of your yummy muffin stuck to the paper instead of in your belly where it belongs. Or you get bits of paper with your last bite of muffin. Either way, not good eats.
Measure the 3/4 cup of brown rice flour, 1 cup of quick oats, 2 tablespoons of q’ia seeds, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and pinch kosher salt into a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Peel and dice your very ripe bananas and place them in a large bowl. The riper the better. You want to wait until those bananas are pretty old and nasty. Like, sad-and-brown-wouldn’t-touch-them-with-a-ten-foot-pole old. Using a whisk or a fork, mash the ripe banana pieces until you have a fairly smooth consistency.
Kitchen tip: If you’ve bought too many bananas and they’ve all ripened before you could eat them, you can put them in the freezer with their peels on and thaw them out later to use in your baking or you can blend them up from frozen to make a dairy free ice cream-like dessert.
Crack the two large (preferably free range and happy ) eggs into the mashed bananas. Add your 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and the 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (try to use a lighter/neutral flavoured oil like canola) to the bowl as well along with the 1 teaspoon of the pure vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Here’s the exciting part. Are you ready? With the same whisk that you mashed the banana with (I know!!!), whisk the eggs, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla into the mashed bananas until it’s all evenly mixed. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so that there aren’t any pockets of unmixed stuff.
Now pour your dry ingredients (that you premixed at the beginning) into the banana mixture. With the (same!!!) whisk, mix the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until there are no streaks of dry ingredients visible. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly mixed. If your batter seems bit runny, you can add a couple more tablespoons of brown rice flour. You should end up with a batter that has the consistency of a slightly runny pudding.
Fold in the 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips so that they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
Grab your prepared mini muffin pan. With a large spoon or small ladle, fill the wells almost to the brim. I like to use a cookie batter scoop like this one to make sure my muffins were pretty much the same size.
Bake the muffins in your preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Take the muffins out of the pan with a small spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool for about 10-15 minutes before eating. If you can’t wait that long, I won’t judge you. Just be careful not to burn your mouth.
You can make these ahead of time and freeze them in zipper bags. Pop them into the lunch bag in the morning or the night before and they’ll be ready by the time snack time rolls around. Makes for a great time saver.
If you’d like to add something other than chocolate to your muffins, here are some suggestions:
- dried cranberries
- raisins (not my personal favourite, but I hear that other people seem to like them)
- chopped walnuts
- diced strawberries
- blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- finely grated carrot
- diced apple
If you give these gluten-free banana oatmeal muffins a try or have other flavour combinations to share, leave a comment below or share with us on Instagram by tagging @pepperwsalt in your photos.
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