Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gluten-Free, Vegan Rhubarb Muffins!

Rhubarb is not difficult to come by during this season. In fact, you probably have neighbors or friends begging you to haul some away.

Rhubarb can be great in crisps, sauces, or compotes, but the tart, tangy flavor rhubarb offers to gluten-free muffins is unequivocal. These little beauties are delicious hot out of the oven spread with strawberry jam.

I tested this recipe a variety of ways but soon fell back on my old standard combo of ingredients. One of my favorite flours to bake with is sprouted sorghum flour, but you can use brown rice flour which is what I used for the photos here. I didn't have any rhubarb left when I made them with all sorghum flour, which actually worked out because my 4-year old requested that I make some "plain." You'll see below one of my 16-month old twins holding the plain sorghum version which was also made with apple juice instead of orange juice.

On another note, I taught a gluten-free baking class this past Monday night at our food co-op entitled Wholesome Gluten-Free Baking. The class was overfull with a long waiting list. I decided to offer this exact class again on Tuesday, May 26th from 6:00 to 8:30pm. If you are interested, please register at the co-op as soon as possible. Details about this class and how to sign up are posted on our website.

The following recipe can also be made with frozen blueberries if you are not much of a rhubarb fan. If you are interested in more whole grain muffins you can view my Teff Breakfast Muffins. For all of the gluten-free muffin and quick bread recipes here on my blog, please go here.

I know I said I would post my new grain-free, vegan brownie recipe first, but here it is, the Rhubarb Muffin. The brownie recipe will come in the near future chocolate lovers! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Muffins

Rhubarb’s beautiful, rosy stalks poke up out of the ground in spring before any other fruit making them the quintessential “fruit” for this season. The tart, tangy flavor that rhubarb offers to baked goods is unequivocal. These little gems won’t last long after being baked!

2 cups sprouted sorghum flour or brown rice flour*
½ cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or potato starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup applesauce
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup grapeseed oil or melted virgin coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel or 1 teaspoon orange flavor
2 to 3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
turbinado sugar, for topping each muffin (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, and cardamom. Mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the juice, applesauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together well.

4. Quickly add the rhubarb and gently fold into the batter.

5. Spoon batter into oiled muffin tin, you will fill each cup to the top. Sprinkle each with a little turbinado sugar if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and gently take out of pan and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 1 Dozen Muffins

Notes: Use sprouted sorghum flour or sprouted brown rice flour for a healthier version. Sprouted flours are easier to digest and offer nutrients that are more available. You can find sprouted flours here. For those with citrus allergies you can replace the orange juice with apricot nectar or unsweetened apple juice and omit orange zest.

Egg Variation: Replace the applesauce with 2 large organic eggs.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Wow! Beautiful! and the ingredients are all ok for me to have. I'll have to make these. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ali, you are true baking goddess! I can not wait to try these. I REALLY don't know what our family would be eating without your amazing recipes. The world of gluten-free, dairy-free living needs more geniuses like you!
    Can't wait for your next cookbook to come out.

  3. Those look delicious! and they use so many of the ingredients I love to use making muffins. Thanks for the recipe idea!

  4. I'm so glad to have this recipe (I lost the first version) - it was Ruby's favorite!

  5. lifeglutenfree - Glad I could share these with you, enjoy!

    Pavlina - Thanks for your sweet comment! You are such a sweetie!

    Alisa - Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy!

    Nancy - So glad to hear this is Ruby's favorite, enjoy!

    Thanks, Ali :)

  6. Looks like you have created another gluten-free vegan treat just for us. I look forward to making these over the weekend. Now, is it fine to use the packaged o.j. instead of squeezing your own or is there a particular reason that freshly squeezed is better in this recipe?

  7. Ali- This morning rhubarb in the garden became rhubarb in the kitchen! Wonderful flavor, great texture, and beautiful! Thanks for sharing your gift! Mary

  8. I was hoping you'd post this recipe first. Can't wait to give 'em a try! You use all of the ingredients that we can eat AND they look so beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  9. David D. - Yes, I think using packaged orange juice would work just fine. More often than not I only have fresh oranges sitting around so this is what I usually use. :)

    Mary - So happy to hear of your baking success! Thanks for sharing your results.

    ForTheLoveofFood - So glad I can create recipes you can eat, happy baking!

    -Ali :)

  10. I am home today with laryngitis and took a break from my computer to make these muffins. I didn't have rhubarb so I used Blueberries as you suggested (started with 2 cups and then scaled back to abut a cup of frozen blueberries). Then I decided I would make some in the little muffin cups so I could take them to Will and Ava. That is to say if I stop eating them! They are delicious and perfect texture and consistency. I am truly always amazed at how you create these recipes. Thanks as always!

  11. Yum yum yum as always!!
    I think the ice cream I just blogged about would go well with these warm muffins!!
    Thanks Ali for sharing your tasty treats!

  12. Dearbhla O'LearyMay 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    I just love your recipes Ali. I baked these today and they are delicious, as always! Do post more when you get a chance. I always love to see them and try them.

  13. Mmmm ... my favorite ... rhubarb. And in a muffin I can eat! I have your first book and use it all the time and have never once found a lame recipe. They are all incredibly wonderful! The Gingerbread Cake with Maple Cashew Sauce has become a family favorite.

    I'm so looking forward to getting your baking cookbook! When you're gluten-free, baked goods are such a treat.

  14. Oh thank you Ali! I love how you always have recipes for the current seasonal offerings!!! Rhubarb is abundant :)

  15. Deb - Thanks for the blueberry tip. I bet these were great as mini muffins - perfect for little mouths! Glad to hear you shared! :)

    CoconutGal - Yum - coconut ice cream would be yummy with these!

    Dearbhla - Happy to hear your muffins turned out well, I will share more recipes like these in the near future. :)

    Nancy - Thanks for your comment - we bake that gingerbread cake a lot in the winter - the girls love it!

    Jenna - Thanks, I love to eat seasonally, as much as possible!

    -Ali :)

  16. Ali,

    The baking class was spectacular! We're making four of the recipes for our big family dinner this week.

    I was commenting to another participant that I was so glad you love this enough to experiment. I'm a very experimental baker, but GF is relatively new for me, and, well, frankly.....I'm too cheap to fool around with these costly ingredients. Thank you so much for being willing to sacrifice yours in the name of good eatin'.


  17. Ali, Love the muffin recipe - I also tried these with raspberries from my freezer and they were really tasty! Have you considered a book dedicated to baking recipes? I love to bake and share my goodies with my co-workers at the office so it would be really nice to have an immediate source for all of your healthy recipes.

  18. I love rhubarb but always end up making a crumble with it. Going to try these for sure.

  19. I can't wait to try this recipe! I LOVE rhubarb, and what a great way to introduce it to my daughter!

  20. Hi Ali, I forgot to mention that I also tried the recipe using eggs instead of applesauce and they turned out great. I took them to friends at work and they loved them. 1-2 days later still moist and delicious, I like the sorghum flour!

  21. Barb - So glad to hear you enjoyed the class, it was a fun one for sure!

    Anon - Thanks for sharing your substitutions and that it worked with frozen raspberries. Yes I am working on a book that is dedicated just to baking. Thanks.

    Meghan - Glad I could share this recipe with you! :)

    talkinglikerain - I bet your daughter will like these, maybe make half of the batch without rhubarb just in case -kids always like things simple, I know my daughters do!

    Deb - Thanks for commenting again and sharing your substitutions, I am sure other readers will appreciate that. :)

    -Ali :)

  22. Oh yes, I am SO making these. I have frozen blueberries in my freezer begging to be incorporated into your muffins. Thanks for the great recipe! Everything I make of yours is a winner and I'm sure this will be as well.


  23. Thanks Ellen! I hope you saw what another commenter noted: she scaled back on the blueberries to I think 1 cup, definitely less than 2 cups.

    Enjoy! -Ali :)

  24. Ali,
    Thank you VERY MUCH for creating baking recipes that are so delicious AND gluten free. They are the best!
    Mary Corcoran

  25. Ali,

    Gosh, I WISH I had a neighbor begging me to haul away some of their rhubarb. I became addicted to it last summer because there was so much of it in my CSA box for a couple of weeks. For some reason, I never made muffins with it. I'm saving your recipe for next month when I start getting my share of this wonderful treat. Great sounding recipe! Thanks!


  26. hi!
    i made these this morning.. and i want to tell u i inadvertantly LEFT OUT the melted coconut oil.. the muffins came out looking terrific and it was deeeeeelicious! ( i am presently on phase 3 in the elimination diet but i HAD to try it before i put most of them in the freezer) my husband thinks they are fab! thank you for doing all the tinkerings for us!


  27. Mary - Thanks for your sweet comment, glad you are enjoying the recipes!

    Melissa - All of the rhubarb around town looks gigantic and prehistoric! It grows so fast that people need to give it away! Enjoy the muffins next month. :)

    Laura - Well, it is nice to hear these muffins can be made fat-free! :) Thanks for sharing what worked for you, even if it was an accident.

    -Ali :)

  28. Ali,
    I tried thsese muffins today. Added fresh strawberries and left out the applesauce. My son first declared her doesn't like rhubarb, then upon seeing the muffins decided to try them and REALLY loved them, as did our daughter!

    I really appreciate all the healthy, wholesome (and gluten free!) recipes for baked goods that you provide!

    Thanks! Lisl

  29. Lisl - Thanks for adding your recipe substitutions/additions. The strawberries sound like a nice addition. I am glad your son liked them despite his apparent dislike of rhubarb! :)

    -Ali :)

  30. These are by far the best gluten free and egg-free muffins I have ever had. And a huge bonus that they don't contain any cane sugar. This is now my standard base muffin recipe. I have made them with blueberries and cranberries (with orange zest), now I need to try peach and chocolate chip (not in the same muffin).
    Thank you thank you for sharing this gem recipe Ali!

  31. yogamama - This is great feedback, thanks so much for sharing your baking ideas! Chocolate chip muffins sound decadent! :)

  32. These muffins are divine! This was my first recipe where I used xanthan gum and I am very impressed with the texture of the muffins. We have allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs, soy and oats. I just discovered your site and your recipes work for us! I am looking forward to purchasing your cookbook.

    You can see pictures of my rhubarb muffins on my blog: Eagle Loft Kitchen

  33. I made these up today subbing blueberries for the rhubarb. (no rhubarb in the house) Oh so good! Thank you! Once again another great recipe.

  34. I just stumbled across your blog, and love it! These muffins look fabulous. I love rhubarb - I just posted a recipe for gf vegan rhubarb scones that you might like : ) I look forward to exploring more of your recipes, and thanks for sharing such a wonderful sounding recipe!

    -Kim //

  35. Eagle Loft - Thanks for your comment and sharing a link for us to see how your muffins came out - they look great! :)

    Anne - Blueberries, Yum! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Kim - Glad you found us! Your rhubarb scones look great too! :)

    -Ali :)

  36. These look amazing! I have Rhubarb growing in my garden, what a perfect way to use it! Thanks! Oh and I love your blog - I've added you to my blog roll on Can Eat! :)

  37. I just found your site, and boy am I glad I did! I am gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, soy free, and have had a hard time finding recipes I can actually make without trying to figure out a dozen substitutions! I am starting with these muffins, but I can't wait to try other recipes as well!

  38. I've been enjoying your site and recipes for well over a year. Everything i've tried has been a success! I have 3 boys (6 year old and 3 year old twins) and another bundle on the way in the spring. This is the first muffin recipe I've made (and I have made a ton!) that really was amazing!

    I modified it a bit - as I always tend to do. I used this recipe as a base, and made Cranberry-Orange muffins! I used about 1/2 the honey. I also added 3 tbsp of ground flax seeds to the dry mix. After mixing, I added a little coconut milk as it seem too stiff for me. Then a handful or so of dried cranberries.
    The smell of them cooking was delightful, but that first bite was pure bliss!!!
    Thank you!!!

  39. I just wanted to drop a note to thank you guys! I've been using your cookbook since it came out and it has been such a staple in my kitchen. It was great to have this while doing the elimination diet and feeling like I couldn't eat anything, so it has been so nice to be able to make things like this, comforting nourishing muffins, the kind of stuff I've missed being gluten free. So thank you! And it feels so good to have such great resources in our local community. Blessings!

  40. These are amazing! They also, freeze great! I am now doing the candida diet is do you think I could cut the honey out and replace with a little stevia? Not sure how I would adjust the dry ingredients.. Your website is amazing cant wait until I recieve your cookbook.. Thanks

  41. Thank you so much for your website, I can make so many recipes and they are amazing. I made these muffins they are terrific! I am now doing the candida diet and was wondering how I could replace the honey with a litte stevia? I dont need it sweet at all, as I am used to nothing sweet now. Thanks for all your hard work.

  42. I made these with cranberries instead. They were delicious! I posted to my blog to share with others.

  43. I just made these muffins twice this week with fresh rhubarb from our garden. I made a few changes that I wanted to share.

    1. I replaced the orange juice with a whole, peeled orange that I pureed in the vitamix.

    2. I replaced the applesauce with rhubarb puree leftover from making rhubarb lemonade. It had some extra ginger flavouring in it too. I cut back on the chopped rhubarb so it wasn't overwhelming.

    The muffins where delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  44. Sounds perfect to have for breakfast!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)