Protein Power Banana Squash Muffins
Who doesn’t love banana bread? It was a classic in my Nana’s kitchen when we were kids. Sad bananas become something magical with just a few basic ingredients and a little love. This recipe is an inspired creation based on years of memories in the kitchen with my Nana. A new spin on an old classic to appeal to my kids and husband alike. And I daresay something that might appeal to you too.
The other inspiration for this recipe came from an overabundance of squash! A friend grows a prolific garden every summer and always has plenty of bounties to share. When she asked if I’d like a blue squash they’d grown I said sure. She assured me it was a firm squash similar in texture and flavour to butternut and that we’d love it. I imagined a decent pot of creamy soup and perhaps some roasted squash with a dinner that week. And then she delivered a squash the size or my then two-year-old!!! Suddenly I had A LOT of squash and absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it! I made many pots of soup, I roasted large amounts of it, I cut it up into slices, chunks and cubes for roasting, steaming and pureeing. And then I froze all sorts of it! And then it hung out in my freezer for ages with no inspiration for what to do with it…
“It was a classic in my Nana’s kitchen when we were kids. Sad bananas become something magical with just a few basic ingredients and a little love.”
And so this recipe was born. I had created a version of these muffins that used shredded zucchini as well as the banana before, and it was a big hit! I imagined that switching the type of squash would only marginally change the overall muffin. Making it gluten-Free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free took a little more tweaking but was still a fun process! The best part about these muffins is that they do contain fruit, vegetables, protein, no refined sugar and are gluten-free. They also contain coconut oil and coconut milk for a punch of high-quality fat as well as hemp hearts for added Omega-3, Magnesium and Zinc! Not to mention the delightful touch of dark chocolate chips for antioxidant power and if desired, even more brain food with the addition of chopped walnuts! As far as healthy snacking goes, these should hit all the marks for you and your kids! If you try it I’d love to hear from you!
- ½ C coconut oil, liquid
- ½ C coconut palm sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 C steamed firm squash
- 1 ½ C all-purpose GF flour
- ½ C hemp hearts
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 serving of your favourite protein blend or collagen powder
- 1 C non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 C dark chocolate chips or chopped walnuts (or both!)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Add the vanilla to the milk while you mix everything else. Set coconut oil in a bath of warm water to bring it to liquid if it is solid.
- In a high-powered blender add sugar, coconut oil, eggs, banana and cooked squash and blend until smooth.
- Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Add half wet ingredients and half the milk to the dry ingredients. Stir until moist. Add the rest of wet and rest of milk and stir until just combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips or walnuts if using.
- Fill silicone muffin pans (or lined muffin tins) ¾ full.
- Bake for 18-20 min depending on your oven. This recipe makes 24 perfect portion muffins!
Every oven is different and will 100% have an effect on your final result!
Always start with the lower end of cook time!
For the squash – I use a Blue Hubbard but butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potato would work as well.
For the non-dairy milk: coconut milk is dreamy, but use what you prefer or have on hand. Adding the vanilla while you prep the rest of the ingredients helps to “curdle” the milk which allows for acid to work with the baking soda in this recipe so that you get the “fluff” of a muffin you might not always get with GF baking.
For the coconut oil – I find it is easier to mix in the blender if you use liquid. Setting it in a warm water bath to liquefy is best rather than microwaving it. The microwave can de-nature all of the lovely health-promoting benefits of the oil. The consistency of the oil will also affect your final results so keep this in mind! Using solid oil will result in a more crumbly texture in your final muffins.
For the Collagen or Protein Powder – use a good quality vegan Protein powder so you are avoiding things like whey and soy (these are often used in protein powders because they are byproducts of other “food” manufacturing). If you want to avoid all other additives (as protein powders are often sweetened with things like Stevia) using an organic, high-quality collagen is a great way to get just added protein. When adding a protein powder, make sure that one serving contains at least 20g of protein but doesn’t equal more than 1/3C of dry powder as this can affect the moisture ratios. For collagen I like Great Lakes Gelatin and the Vegan Protein I use comes from Epicure.