Today, we’re going vegan. I know, I know, sometimes vegan can can have a stigma with being tasteless, but for the skeptics out there, this is an incredibly delicious recipe and amazing filling!
The mashed sweet potato in the batter adds a pleasantly moist and sweet background to the onions, herbs, and delicate crunch of black quinoa. For a variation, try substituting winter squash for the sweet potato and adding rosemary in place of thyme. You can also use ½ cup of any leftover cooked grain in place of the black quinoa. Toasted pecans or walnuts are a tasty addition to the mix too. Whatever you use, your kitchen will smell inviting, and you’ll end up with a delectable savoury treat.
For the quinoa:
¼ cup black quinoa, washed and soaked 12 to 24 hours in 1 cup filtered water
¼ cup filtered water
pinch sea salt
For the muffins:
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
¼ cup plain soy milk or plain nut milk
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp chopped sage leaves
2 tsp chopped thyme, plus thyme sprigs to garnish
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1½ cups sprouted spelt flour or sprouted whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed sweet potato (see notes below)
¾ cup filtered water
2 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 tsp tamari
For the quinoa:
Drain and rinse quinoa. Place in a small pot, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes; fluff with a fork. Measure out ½ cup and set aside. Save the remaining couple of tablespoons of quinoa to sprinkle over muffins.
For the muffins:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a regular muffin pan with 10 paper liners.
Place flax and soy milk in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside to thicken while you cook the onion.
Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add sage, thyme, and ½ teaspoon salt; reduce heat to low and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into another medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Add sweet potato, water, vinegar, tamari, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to the flax-soy milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add remaining ¼ cup olive oil; whisk again and add flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir mixture gently until almost combined, then fold in cooked quinoa and onions.
Divide batter between lined muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top. Garnish each muffin with a thyme sprig and a sprinkle of remaining cooked quinoa. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven; leave muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Once cool, any leftover muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Notes: For 1 cup mashed sweet potato, peel 1 medium sweet potato (14 oz) and cut it into rough ½-inch dice (about 2 cups). Place in a steamer basket over boiling water, and steam for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, mash with a fork, and measure out 1 cup.