A guest blog by Talia Fuhrman

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I love starting out Mondays with a delicious, easy-to-prepare new recipe, don’t you? And who doesn’t enjoy a scrumptious muffin recipe that is not only moist and melts softly on your tongue, but is also bursting with nutrients and health-promoting ingredients?

I’m going to make a very immodest proclamation. I’m going to declare with the utmost of confidence that this is the healthiest banana walnut muffin recipe currently floating on the Internet. I know. I just dared to write that.

After reading the list of ingredients most conveniently found directly below the next few paragraphs, you might just be apt to agree. I do realize that at this point you are likely going to stop reading these words and skip below to the recipe because curiosity has gotten the best of you. If you are still reading this paragraph instead of the recipe, well congratulations. I venture you are not among the majority.

Now that most all of you have read the recipe (either before or after your eyes finished absorbing the words in the last paragraph), you will observe that I used a tad of whole-wheat flour (I don’t avoid gluten completely, even though I rarely eat wheat flour), you can make these muffins gluten-free by substituting oat flour for the whole-wheat flour. In fact, if you are not currently in possession of almond flour or coconut flour, you can try experimenting with other flours, just be warned that some whole-wheat flour or oat flour will be necessary because almond and coconut flour are significantly more dense and your muffins will turn out too heavy without the addition of whole-wheat or oat flour.

You will also note the use of beans, which is my not-so-secret-anymore trick for preparing oil-free muffins. Oil is normally added to cake and muffin recipes to add moister and texture, but beans do a beautiful job at doing the very same thing. And you cannot taste the beans one little bit. The nutrition 411 is that beans are far better for us that oils and so the use of beans instead of oil is just one reason why this recipe rocks. Another reason why this recipe is so cool is because it’s completely vegan and employs heart and brain healthy flaxseeds as a substitute for eggs. When a girl is determined to get creative in the kitchen, healthier substitutions for conventional ingredients can easily be found. Hello both healthy and tasty muffins!

The banana flavor and spices compliment each other delightfully and I love the addition of orange zest and cardamom. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Here are some nutrition fun facts, so you can appreciate how much better for us these muffins are compared to the typical muffins found in bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores across America:

1) Low-nutrient, empty calorie foods without the beneficial presence of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals results in the buildup of waste products in our cells. When we eat conventional muffins filled with white-flour and oil, without the accompaniment of micronutrients found in plant foods, our disease risk goes up and we age prematurely (see pg. 109-115 of Super Immunity by my dad, Joel Fuhrman M.D., for more information on the health risks of consuming low-nutrient foods).
2) At 120 calories per tablespoon, all oils (even coconut oil and olive oil) very high in calories and low in nutrients → CLICK HERE to learn more about why avoiding oil is a good idea.
3) High in fiber and resistant starch, beans are a superpower food that help reduce our risk of developing heart disease and many common types of cancer → CLICK HEREand HERE to learn more about the health benefits of beans.
4) Walnuts are AWESOME for us! Like all nuts, walnuts are rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats, but walnuts stand out because of their distinctively high levels of ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Our brains are made of omega-3 fatty acids and because our bodies can’t make their own, we need to eat plenty of omega-3 fats to stay healthy (and smart!).

Behold the recipe:

Ingredients (makes 10-12 muffins):

½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
10 Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup canned white beans (I recommend Eden’s BPA free canned beans)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 very ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds soaked in ½ cup water
¼- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
¼ – ½ cup dried cherries or raisins

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place paper muffin cups in a muffin pan.
2) Mix ground flaxseeds with water and let them sit for a few minutes until it form an egg-like consistency. Ground flaxseeds are an amazing substitute for eggs! Add pitted dates, bananas, beans, applesauce, flax “egg”, vanilla extract and spices to a high-powered blender and mix thoroughly.
3) Put aside the blended mixture and in a large bowl, combine flours and baking powder. Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add the wet blended ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix and mix some more until a nice batter forms.
4) Add dried fruit and walnuts in amounts to your liking and distribute them in the batter evenly.
5) Using a large spoon, place a few tablespoons worth of batter into each paper muffin cup. Once there is no more batter left, bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the muffins develop a golden brown color and are crisp to the touch.

Now I hope you have an appetite after these muffins are ready because they are quite difficult to avoid consuming on the spot. Just let them cool for a few minutes before consuming and rich, moist banana walnut muffins will be yours for the eating. Woohoo!

TaliaTalia Fuhrman, the oldest daughter of Dr. Fuhrman, has a degree in nutritional sciences from Cornell University and is currently working on a manuscript of her own health and wellness book for young women. She is on a mission to help people of all ages understand that eating healthfully can be fun, delicious, and easy. A lover of cooking and writing, she understands that disease prevention must be made positively delicious! Talia has her own website with psychological musing, nutrition tips and recipes. In addition to her posts on Disease Proof, you can find her at TaliaFuhrman.com.