Protein Quinoa Muffins with Fresh Apricot, Walnut and Dates (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

You can’t see me right now but I’m doing a little February happy dance.

That’s right.  We’ve turned the corner on the longest and coldest (let’s hope) month of the year and that’s cause enough for me to engage is some celebratory toe tapping.  But just wait until spring arrives, when things really get afoot.  (cue the groans).

I haven’t posted a muffin recipe in ages!  It seems that energy bars have taken over as the favored lunchbox snack in this house over the past year or so and I’ve been making endless variations of this simple recipe. Still, there’s just something about cranking up the oven on a dark February morning and smelling the aroma of home baked goodness wafting through the air that’s really hard to beat. Plus, a little change now and then is always a good thing.

These quinoa muffins are not only delicious and moist, they are also packed with nutritious ingredients to get your day off to a good start.

You can easily double the recipe and pop whatever you don’t need in the freezer. Thaw muffin/s in the fridge overnight and warm in the oven for 5 minutes or so and you’ve got a healthy, warming, winter’s breakfast to go!

Protein Quinoa Muffins with Fresh Apricot, Walnut & Dates

  • 1 + ½ cups quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup packed ground walnut
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar, substitute a coarse grain sugar
  • 1 cup fresh apricot, chopped
  • 2 large or 3 medium size bananas, mashed + 12 slices for topping
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, gently beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes for topping
  • 1/4 cup pepitas for topping



Many large grocers now stock a variety of flours and sugars however you can also find these items at health food stores.

I use a dedicated coffee grinder to grind nuts and seeds because my large blender is not effective in the least at this task (I’m overdue for a multi-function blender upgrade) but, in the meantime, the coffee grinder works pretty well for me.



Makes 12 regular sized muffins

Heat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa flour, ground walnut, baking powder, cinnamon, dates and palm sugar, mixing to combine.  Add the fresh apricot and mix gently taking care not to mash the fruit.

In a separate smaller bowl, combine the bananas, vanilla, eggs, coconut milk and olive oil, mixing well to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing just until combined.

Divide batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups that have been dabbed with olive oil.  Place a slice of banana in the center of each muffin and sprinkle with pepitas and quinoa flakes.

Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until muffins are cooked through.

Allow muffins to cool on a rack for 10 minutes or so before enjoying.  (I sprinkled a few more quinoa flakes on top of the muffins for presentation).

Store muffins in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month or so.


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  1. SallyBR says

    They look adorable! I just saw a bag of quinoa flour this past weekend, stayed in front of it, flirting, a shy smile here, an awkward smile there (I am happily married, after all), but did not bring it home…

    gotta head back :-)

  2. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says

    Absolutely fantastic recipe! Would love one of those now with my cup of tea.
    :-) Mandy xo

  3. says

    These sound incredibly delightful, Kelly — I hadn’t heard about quinoa flour, but it does make sense. I saw the quinoa flakes at Superstore on the weekend, now I wish I had bought it! I made some quinoa energy bars a while ago and when JT goes through them, I’ll make him these muffins to take to work.

  4. Jeanette Chen says

    I love how nutrient dense these muffins are. Wish I could say we’ve turned the corner on the weather – it is still way too cold for my liking (although I know it’s not nearly as cold as you’re used to ;)).

  5. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot says

    Love love love. These look awesome!!! I have all of the ingredients except for the apricots. Is there something that I can substitute with? Thanks :)

  6. says

    I bought a bag of quinoa flakes a year ago and it’s been sitting in my pantry because after turning into a hot cereal that I wasn’t crazy about, I had no idea what to do with it! Maybe I’ll turn it into quinoa flour and bake with it. These look great, so full of yummy things :) And yay for January being over!!! Although, in nyc I wish we’d get some more snow before it warms up too much…

    • Kim says

      I make sweet or savory pancakes with the flakes – soak 1 cup of flakes in one cup of milk, add an egg , 1 tsp of baking powder, and whatever for flavor.

  7. inspirededibles says

    Hello Emilie – thank you so much for dropping by – you could substitute virtually any fruit here – mango, nectarine or pear might be especially nice but apple works too! (whatever is available) ;0)

  8. inspirededibles says

    Hi Angie, you could certainly try grinding the quinoa seeds into flour and, depending on the strength of your mixer, you may well succeed – on the other hand, if you don’t mind little lumps and bumps in the texture, I think even a partial grinding success could work nicely ;0)

  9. Koko says

    Oooh Kelly, these look irresistible! I love the healthy sweeteners used, the banana, the flour…packed with nutrient-dense goodness, and sweet fruit. YUM!

    I’m so over Winter….Raincouver can be really hard to deal with this time of year. Bring on the summer…I’m counting down the days!!!

  10. Tam says

    I love the use of Quinoa…now if I can substitute the eggs for boiling water and chia (I’m told this will work) this recipe will be perfect for me! Kelly, I forecast Quinoa muffins with fresh berries for the summer, which of course is just around the corner…NOW DANCE! lol

  11. says

    Hi Kelly! Love the look of these – packed full of healthy yumminess! I have a bag of quinoa flour here still – I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on the flavour of it and so it’s been kind of sitting there, unloved and unwanted. I suspect that the spice and other ingredients here would do a fantastic job at “disguising” the flour flavour so I bet I’d love them!

    Learnt a new term today – pepitas… I’d never heard of those before :D

  12. says

    Oh I’m doing a happy dance right now too!! We’re starting to warm up and I’m starting to see some little signs of spring. I’m SO happy! Those muffins look delicious and, with all of that fruit, I bet they are quite moist. Of course my question is – where on earth did you find fresh apricots this time of years? I have some frozen and you just reminded me that I need to use them. Great muffins!

  13. inspirededibles says

    Hey Tam! Chia has a particularly nice viscous/slippery nature that mimics egg well but you could also experiment with ground flax seed (much cheaper than chia). Mashed banana, apple sauce and non-dairy yogurt are other popular options.

  14. says

    Hi Kelly, it may sound stupid but frankly I wonder all the time where do you get all these ideas from??? Do you ever sleep? These muffins look so gorgeous and I would love to make them only to see the reaction of my delighted guests when I say they contain so many healthy products!

  15. Kristy says

    I think I have most of the ingredients for these believe it or not! I’ve been needing a new snack idea for Mr. N’s lunch too. Maybe I’ll work these up over the weekend. I bet he would like them. I’m doing a happy dance for February too! Spring is just around the corner. I can hardly wait. The sun is out today and it made me want to get outside and run so badly. Too much snow right now to pull that off, but we’re almost there again. :)

  16. says

    I’ve got to start doing that. I’ve been making green smoothies in bulk and freezing them, then pulling them out overnight to defrost for breakfast (not the most ideal but I’m usually rushing around in the morning), but on those nights where I forget to take the smoothie out to thaw, I always just end up grabbing whatever is on hand. I love the idea of being able to quickly warm up a muffin for when I forget!

  17. Debra Eliot says

    I haven’t baked with quinoa. I love the banana slice on top. February….such a dreary month. I will be glad to see March!

  18. says

    I love quinoa, but have never baked with it before. interesting. I like this because soemtimes you just crave a muffin but you don’t want to be eating TOO naughty, haha this actually sounds pretty healthy and yummy at the same time :)

  19. inspirededibles says

    I think I’m a little spoiled having a health food store around the corner (and conveniently located right beside my gym) – I dream about what I want to make while I’m working out and then saunter over… ;0)

  20. inspirededibles says

    You know the one summer I spent in Vancouver (summered at a law firm there) it was absolutely *glorious* – sunny every day. I hit the jackpot! I think the rain would get me down (even more than the cold ;0(

  21. inspirededibles says

    Haha, I know exactly what you mean about the flavour. The ancient grains/seeds tend to be more pungent and that can take some getting used to… it does help to camouflage with other ingredients for sure ;0). On the other hand, I think it’s natural for a living food to have a smell… bleached flour is so sterile it doesn’t have any smell at all ;o(

  22. inspirededibles says

    Thanks for dropping by Kiersten! I hope you enjoy these if you give them a try… I don’t think you will be disappointed ;o).

  23. inspirededibles says

    Ah, we are great importers of produce here in Canada through the winter. Mostly from Mexico and California/Florida. I have a main grocer with a decent selection and then a specialty store where, oddly enough, I have access to virtually all tropical/exotic fruit through the winter. Weird. I know. (now the taste, that’s another matter this time of year ;0).

  24. inspirededibles says

    It really depends on the time of blender you have. You can certainly give it a shot. My blender is completely ineffectual at that type of task. I use my coffee grinder for nuts and seeds but it would be a bit of a trick to get it to kick out 1 + 1/2 cups. On the other hand, if your blender/grinder does a relatively good job and you are ok with some texture in your quinoa flour (lumps and bumps), I say go for it! Thanks for dropping by.

  25. inspirededibles says

    Haha, thanks Sissi!

    I find my food pretty simple overall. I try to focus more on the quality of the ingredients and time saving ideas. You’re very kind though.

    Sleep? Never.

    ;0) xo.

  26. inspirededibles says

    You know, I’m (somewhat) embarrassed to admit that I’m still making lunches for my, ahem, 14 and 12 year-old boys but it’s just so darn fun… it’s like bundling up a little love for them everyday ;0). My boys are always thrilled to discover a homemade bar or muffin in their box – I hope Mr. N enjoys too!

  27. inspirededibles says

    Muffins are super convenient and when they include decent ingredients, then it’s a good choice on the go. Glad you enjoyed food jaunts! ;0).

  28. inspirededibles says

    Thanks for dropping in Shuhan! Yes, these puppies will satisfy the treat component while still serving your health. (I love that!). Cheers ;0).

  29. AlyssaRimmer says

    These muffins are right up my alley! A great way to start the morning – I love your blend of healthy flours, nuts and natural sweeteners. I will definitely be trying this recipe soon!

    I would love for you to come enter this fabulous recipe into Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa, a bi-weekly link party celebrating all things quinoa. I know our readers would adore this recipe!

    Happy Friday!!

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