This past Sunday was Easter, and while I don’t normally do anything fancy for the occasion, I was reeeallly in the mood to bake. Growing up my mom always made a morning brunch for the family on Easter Sunday. One of the things she always made was blueberry muffins, so it’s no surprise that when Easter rolled around this year I was really craving them! And thus, lemon blueberry muffins were born.
I decided to put my own twist on them though. These blueberry muffins are sugar free, have a hint of lemon flavor, and are also oil free/fat free. While I loved my mom’s cooking growindg up, I decided to challenge myself and invent a recipe that was healthy and whole foods plant based. The result was this batch of muffins that seriously, may be the BEST muffins I’ve ever had!
Sugar Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Replacing common baking ingredients (like eggs and dairy) is stupid-simple when it comes to vegan baking. I’m starting to learn that it’s also pretty simple for sugar free baking as well.
When I first started experimenting with baking, I tried my best to avoid any and all recipes that called for processed sugar. I never buy or cook with white refined sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, or any other form of processed/refined sugar that resembles these. When it comes to sweeteners I prefer to stick to whole food sources such as maple syrup, fresh fruit and dried fruit.
Naturally, I started to find a lot of “sugar free” recipes that called for large amounts of maple syrup. Now, when it comes to sweeteners I think using maple syrup is much healthier than using refined white sugar. That being said, I didn’t really feel good about making recipes that called for 3 cups worth of maple syrup. That’s still a lot of sugar! More and more, I find myself experimenting with using fresh fruit and dried fruit as much as possible to add sweetness to a dish.
The Difference Is In The Fiber
The fructose (sugar) found in fruit is not bad for you, in fact it’s actually really good for you. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, helps you feel full, and doesn’t give you that “crash” feeling you might get a few hours after having a sugary can of Mountain Dew.
So back to these lemon blueberry muffins… Instead of using maple syrup I decided to try using dates as my sweetener! Dates are a tropical fruit rich in several vitamins and minerals, and have even been studied as having anti-cancer properties. They’re also extremely high in fiber, making them a very healthy sweetener!
Instead of using oil, I decided to use applesauce in this recipe. The applesauce provides a subtle touch of sweetness, while also allowing me to completely eliminate fat from this recipe. Score! So between the dates, the applesauce, and the blueberries, I found these muffins to be perfectly sweet while still being perfectly healthy as well.
The Easiest, Fastest Muffin Recipe
Not only are these muffins super healthy, they’re also really easy to make. It took me maybe 5 minutes to prep the ingredients, and then 30 minutes to bake.
First, add your dates and plant milk to a bowl to let the dates soften. Then combine all of your dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Next, blend your dates and plant milk together and add all your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients for mixing.
I apologize that I don’t have many pictures of my “process” for making these. They were so simple and fast to make, I almost forgot to snap the few “process” photos that I did! Once our batter is formed (careful not to over-stir), add the walnuts and blueberries. I added the walnuts because I thought it would add some nice subtle crunch/texture to the muffins.
Because these lemon blueberry muffins are oil free, I still consider them to be fat free even though I added walnuts. After all, the walnuts are optional! If you want to truly eliminate all fat, just skip the walnuts! I think they were a tasty addition though.
Fill your muffin trays so that they are level with the pan (they don’t rise that much) and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. That’s it! You’ll know they’re ready when they start to crack a bit on top.
Sweet, Simple, Healthy
I was seriously in love with these muffins from the moment I took my first bite. So much so, that I think the “base” of this recipe (without the lemon or blueberries) will become my new go-to base for creating muffin recipes! We’ll see about that, but I can totally see myself swapping the blueberries out for… raspberries! Or the walnuts for…chocolate, pecans, strawberries, etc. I think the base of this recipe lends itself to being very versatile, and I look forward to inventing new flavor combinations with it!
So, that pretty much sums up my post about these lemon blueberry muffins! I highly recommend you give them a try, as I think they really are my all time favorite muffins. They’re sweet, healthy, simple, and crazy good. I hope you enjoy this one!
- 12 dates
- 1 cup of unsweetened plant milk*
- 1.5 cups of old fashioned oats (or oat flour)
- ¾ cup of almond flour*
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ginger
- ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
- ½ teaspoon of lemon extract*
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Chop the dates and add them to a bowl with your plant milk to soak for a few minutes (to soften the dates)
- Add your rolled oats to a blender and blend until it turns into a powder/flour
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well
- Add your dates and plant milk to a blender and blend them together
- Add all wet ingredients (including the date/plant milk blend) to the dry ingredients and mix well
- Gently fold in the blueberries and chopped walnuts
- Pour your mixture into lined cupcake molds and bake for 30 minutes. The muffins will be done when cracks begin to appear on top, and/or a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean
- Let them cool in the pan 20 minutes before serving
*I used almond flour, but I think this recipe will work just as well if you have brown rice flour, coconut flour, or some other similar flour.
*The ½ teaspoon of lemon extract could optionally be replaced with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.