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  • Writer's pictureSusan Martin

Quinoa Walnut Wholegrain Muffins

Sometimes you just want to bite into something good! Most of us are attracted to bakery goods – they have a wonderful mouth feel and can be emotionally satisfying to eat. The challenge is always how to make something that tastes good yet doesn’t unduly spike our blood sugar levels (some of us are waaaay more sensitive to this than others and this is especially important when you are dealing with gestational diabetes) and gives us the nutrients we need (always important, but especially during pregnancy and lactation.)

I make these muffins for my family when we have quinoa for dinner the night before. I make sure to make extra quinoa so that I have leftovers for the next day to make these. They have that satisfying mouth feel you can bite into yet not so overwhelming in whole grain mouth texture they will be rejected by picky eaters (hey, I got my husband and youngest to eat these – that's a pretty amazing accomplishment!)

Quinoa is an amazing super food. It’s not really a grain, but it kind of tastes like one. Most important, it contains folate, magnesium and has nine essential amino acids (unlike most plants) – so it’s really great source of the protein (which if you take my class, you know I am encouraging you to be really conscious of your protein sources and the amounts you are consuming). Many mamas are pretty surprised they are not eating enough protein for their pregnancies. Your baby is looking for all nine of those essential amino acids all the time to create the structures and systems in their bodies based on the instructions of their DNA (like eyeballs, hearts and nervous systems). Your baby can only work with what you actually give them.

These muffins gets lots of great protein for a baked good. In addition to the quinoa, the yogurt and eggs provide additional essential amino acids (along with a number of other important nutrients.) The oat and sprouted whole wheat flours have really good protein profiles along with being a great source of other nutrients. Walnuts – protein and great fats, including omega 3’s. You can increase the amount of the walnuts if you like them – I’m trying to trick my husband, so the amount in this recipe is far as I can go with the nuts without having protests and rejection of the muffins in my house.

Here’s how I figured the estimated protein for my muffins based on labels of the ingredients I used:

16 g = Sprouted whole wheat flour

12 g = Oats

18 g = Yogurt

12 g = Eggs

9 g = Walnuts

12 g = Quinoa

79 g total protein/12 muffins = 6.6 grams of protein for each muffin

These muffins have less than 1 tsp added sugar for each individual muffin. The recipe only calls for ¼ c brown sugar and I keep it loose in the cup, not packed down (that adds up to ¾ teaspoon per muffin.) If you are used to eating sweet things, these may not taste sweet enough for you. Adjust accordingly. My goal is to keep sugars as low as possible and still be tasty.

My family eats these really quickly, but if you can manage it you can always place several in freezer and put them in the refrigerator or on the counter to defrost the night before you know you have a busy on-the-go morning. They make a great snack, too. You can add additional nutrients and a further protein bump by eating a slice or two of cheese, a serving of Greek yogurt, or a handful of nuts. Happy eating!

Quinoa Walnut Wholegrain Muffins


1 cup whole wheat flour (One Degree Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour)

1 cup oat flour *see note

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups plain whole milk yogurt (regular or European style, not Greek yogurt)

2 eggs

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup cold pressed vegetable oil or melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups cooked and cooled quinoa (I like to use leftovers from night before)

½ cup walnuts finely chopped (I use the food processor)

Optional: 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

Note: To make your own oat flour, you can process whole flaked oats in your food processor. I used Bob’s Red Mill organic thick cut oats. If you are able to get sprouted oats, the protein and other nutrients would be higher.

What else you need:

Muffin tin with 12 muffin cups

Parchment baking cups


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the 12-cup muffin tin with parchment baking cups. If you do not have or use parchment baking cups, grease each section in your muffin tin with ghee, butter or vegetable oil to prevent your muffins from sticking to the pan.

Mix the whole wheat flour, oat flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing gently and not over processing. Add the quinoa (you may need to break up clumps of quinoa with a fork or your fingers) and the walnuts, folding in evenly. Spoon batter evenly into the 12 baking cups. Place the tin in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until done (tops should be golden brown, have spring to touch and a toothpick inserted should come out clean). Enjoy!

Quinoa Walnut Wholegrain Muffins
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