While I serve these muffins as dessert, they are so healthy and so filling they can really be called a meal. This is especially true if you have any young, finicky eaters who refuse to eat anything that actually resembles food. While it contains many wonderful and healthy ingredients, my favorite ingredient here is the flax-seed.
Flax seed is an incredible food. It is a great food for everyone but it is especially helpful if you are interested in losing weight, strengthening your immune system, cleansing your arteries or cleansing your colon. Flax seeds, and their by-product, flax-seed oil, are receiving a lot of recognition these days, as many people are becoming more interested in the healing properties of omega-3. Omega-3, extolled for its ability to lower cholesterol and improve concentration, is the healthiest oil around and flax-seed is the highest source of this oil. Since I am also a very practical person, there is an added value to always having flax-seed in my pantry. Keeping a jar of flax-sed around can prevent a culinary emergency if you happen to have an unfortunate accident with your last egg.
Yes, eggs and flax-seed perform the same function and are interchangable. Eggs are a hidden product in so many foods that we eat on a daily basis. People who are allergic to eggs, suffer from high cholesterol, or who just want to cut down on animal products, often get stuck when it comes to eggs. Eggs are used to bind foods together and since they are relatively inexpensive and easily available, they are the most common binding food that is used today. There are alternatives however, flax-seeds, soaked in water, become mucilaginous and they can perform the same moistening and binding function as eggs, and simultaneously improve your health! The basic recipe for substituting eggs with flax is: 1 tbsp ground flax-seed+2-3 tbsp water=1 egg. Allow the flax-seed and water to sit for five minutes before adding it to the rest of the dish. This gives the flax-seed time to absorb the water and to become “eggy”.
The recipe below is a basic muffin recipe, just much healthier. The carrot, apple, and banana replace the sugar. The chesnuts and banana replace the oil, and the flaxseed replaces the egg. While the recipe below still uses a small amount of both sugar and oil if you wish to you can eliminate them entirely and replace them with applesauce instead.
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 2 bags, peeled and roasted chesnuts (200 gr.)
- 1 red apple, peeled and cored
- 1 banana
- 2 cups flour (I recommend using 70% whole wheat or spelt.)
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tbsp ground flax-seed, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water for 5 minutes
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/2 cup craisins or chocolate chips
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180 c/350 f.
Puree the carrot, chestnuts, and the fruits in a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Lightly oil a muffin tin. Spoon in the batter until the muffin cups are 2/3 full.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Note: Most of the omega-3 oil is lost when the flax-seed is cooking yet it still retains all the other health benefits, primarily it’s cleansing properties. Additionally, the omega-3 in ground flax-seed and in flax-seed oil is very delicate, to best benefit from their oil, the products need to be kept refrigerated and used within a few weeks of their purchase.