Friday, June 19, 2009

Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins (gluten-free, vegan)

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share with you today a recipe from my cookbook (The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook). Some of you may have made these already, but for those who have not, the photos will probably inspire you to give them a try!

These muffins do not require any xanthan gum. I know this is a strange-sounding food ingredient, but it is necessary for the most part in gluten-free baking. The xanthan gum helps to hold baked goods together and give them elasticity. It also helps to retain moisture and increase mouth-feel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, here is a great definition from

"Xanthan gum derives its name from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris. Xanthomonas campestris is the same bacteria responsible for causing black rot to form on broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy vegetables. The bacteria form a slimy substance which acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener. The United States Department of Agriculture ran a number of experiments involving bacteria and various sugars to develop a new thickening agent similar to corn starch or guar gum. When Xanthomonas campestris was combined with corn sugar, the result was a colorless slime called xanthan gum."

I have found that most recipes which use buckwheat as the primary flour do not require xanthan gum and actually turn out better without it. Buckwheat flour forms a stringy goo when mixed with a liquid and the end product holds together surprisingly well.

Some people react to xanthan gum, while others would rather avoid it. It can cause digestive upset, especially for those who have weak digestion or bacterial imbalances in the gut. 

And now, the Carrot Buckwheat Muffin recipe from my cookbook. I didn't add raisins to these this time, my girls decided that they don't care for raisins in baked goods anymore. They happily scarfed down (along with their twin brothers and a friend) the entire batch of muffins in one day! I guess that is a testimony in itself!

Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins
If you are a buckwheat lover then you will to enjoy these gluten-free muffins. Try adding more carrots, raisins, some shredded apple, or any chopped nut for a denser, more nutritious treat. These muffins work great as a quick breakfast, simply serve with a green smoothie for a balanced and energizing meal. I grind my own buckwheat flour from raw buckwheat groats. I find the flavor and texture of this fresh flour superior to that of the packaged roasted, ground buckwheat flour. You can use a Vitamix to grind the flour or a small electric grinder such as a coffee grinder.

2 ½ cups buckwheat flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup coconut sugar, Sucanat, or maple sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 cups applesauce
¼ cup melted virgin coconut oil or avocado oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrots
½ to 1 cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in ¼ cup water (then drain)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl combine the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and spices. Mix well.

Place apple sauce into a separate bowl and add the melted coconut oil, vanilla, carrots, and raisins; whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together being careful not to over mix.

Spoon batter into oiled muffin tins. Fill each muffin cup to the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and gently take out of tins and place onto a wire rack to cool. Source:

More Wholesome Gluten-Free Baking Recipes:
Gluten-Free Muffin Recipes
Gluten-Free Baked Goods
Healthy Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

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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. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes you've been sharing lately! These muffins look delicious...and they don't even look gluten free. Thanks for taking the time to share so much cooking wisdom with all of us.

  2. Ali, we have not tried these yet. I didn't see a yield included in your recipe. About how many muffins does this recipe make? Since it is just my wife and I, large batches of baked goods don't always work for us. Looks like we've got all the ingredients on hand to make these. I am going to give these a go as a half batch today. Thanks!

  3. I JUST made these yesterday for my workshop classmates as a special treat! They were a HIT! I am really enjoying the fresh ground buckwheat flour, you really can taste a difference. Thanks!

  4. when i was first diagnosed with celiac, i was so disappointed that most of the popular cookbooks i was reading were so whitebread, something as a 20 yr health-conscious vegetarian i hadnt had in ages. then i discovered teff! but i have been very shy with it and your blog is going to give me courage to do more! ive always got my eye on the amt of protein i eat, being glutenfree and veg, so teff is a great help (and this is a great blog--so informative!) p.s. ive got buckwheat muffins on my blog this wk, too!!

  5. I have made these before and I can attest that they ARE delicious! I would have never thought to grind my own buckwheat flour until I read it in your book. My kids absolutely love the buckwheat pancake recipe too. To make breakfasts go smoother, I have made a gigantic batch of the pancake recipe (x 8) and put it in a glass jar. To make the pancakes I measure out about 1 1/3 cups of the mix and add the wet ingredients for one recipe. Thanks again for all the yummy recipe ideas!!!

  6. T - Thanks, I am glad you enjoy them! These muffins don't taste gluten-free either. :)

    David - Yield - They make about 12 to 18 muffins depending on how much you fill up the cups. This batch made 14, but you could fill the cups up a little higher to make 12 or do a half batch and make 7.

    Sara - What a coincidence! Glad everyone enjoyed them. And I agree, fresh buckwheat flour is so much better. It is especially nice for people who dislike the strong flavor of buckwheat (raw buckwheat is so mild-tasting).

    G.F.Veg - Thanks, we love teff too! Plus, it is grown in Idaho making it a regional food for us here in Washington. Thanks for your comment :)

    Yogamama - You always seem so organized, wish I was there. So glad to hear that you are enjoying the muffins and pancakes! My girls love buckwheat pancakes, in fact, Lily is now making them herself - so that helps make our mornings go smoother! :)

    Thanks, Ali :)

  7. Thanks for the explanation on xanthan gum ... I think. ;-) LOL

    These look great! I'm with the girls ... I'd skip the raisins, but my hubby woudn't be happy. Honestly, I don't do well with buckwheat yet, but I've read that buckwheat can be used as a substitute for xanthan gum in recipes so maybe that factor is going on in this recipe as well. I've also read that chia seeds are a good substitute for xanthan gum because of their gelling properties. I love chia seeds (mostly in breading), but haven't tried them as a xanthan gum substitute yet.


  8. Ali - these look great. I don't do well with a lot of buckwheat, so I'm wondering what you might sub in so that the recipe includes other flours/grains as well.


  9. Thank you for the detail included in your posts. The extra information really helps readers to understand how the ingredients work together. I'm grateful for the info about the buckwheat flour - it will come in handy! Your muffins look delicious and satisfying. :)

  10. Shirley - Thanks for the tip on chia seeds, I didn't know they would work as a xanthan gum replacer. :)

    Ellen - You could sub in a mix of sorghum and brown rice flours but you would need to add 1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum. :)

    Amy - Thanks! I am happy to share the info I have learned thus far, always lots more to learn though! :)

    -Ali :)

  11. Yum! I have all of these things on hand so I think I'll have to try these this week! I love buckwheat, and I grind it myself as well, so yummy that way. I also toast it when I want that richer, darker taste for good old fashioned porridge. I could eat that every day! :)

  12. These were wonderful! They didn't last more than an hour at my house! I used your second suggestion because I didn't have buckwheat and they still turned out delicious! Thank you!

  13. Do you think I could add another cup of carrots, decrease the apple sauce by 1 cup, and add a cup of coconut oil?

  14. Meagan - I have added an extra cup of carrots and they work great. I think your idea of increasing the coconut oil and decreasing the applesauce would work. You may want to split the batch in half and try it both ways to see the difference. I'd sure love to see how they come out so let me know. Thanks, -Ali :)

  15. Is there a substitute for tapioca flour? Its something not available here in the UAE.

  16. Thanks for being gluten free and healthy -- as a long-time vegan who avoids processed sugar (I rarely buy any commercially produced and/or processed foods -- just because I prefer fresh!), finding recipes has been difficult -- lots of eggs, butter and sugar out there! you would think a chronic digestive disorder would encourage celiacs to investigate healthier eating... anyway, after years without baked goods, your recipes are tempting me to return to my pre-gluten-free love of muffins and scones! Maybe i can gain some weight after all!

  17. I made these this week and used it for snacks and a carrot cake. It was great! So moist. I only had 1 1/2c buckwheat flour so I ground up some oats and used that for the other 1c of flour needed. Great, great, great!

  18. Hi Ali,

    Quick question. How do you feel about baking with UNsoaked buckwheat groats. I've been blending unsoaked groats to make a waffle batter. Some are suggesting they be soaked. From what I have read, buckwheat is like rice and millet ... soaking is not critcal. What is your take on it?

    Thanks a ton! Value your thoughts.


  19. Hi, If xanthan gum is made with corn sugar and I am intolerant to corn, should I avoid it? Not sure if corn sugar contains proteins that would cause problems. Thanks!

  20. Yes, if you are allergic to corn, then you need to avoid xanthan gum as it is usually grown on corn based sugars. Your own sugar could also be a problem depending on the packaging, type, and where it is processed.

    You could try guar gum instead (I use NOW brand). Also be careful of buckwheat. Most of the manufactures of buckwheat also process corn in their facility so there is a high risk of cross contamination. On the Avoiding Corn forum there was a thread on buckwheat and which brands are safe. Good Luck!

    1. These muffins were delicious. However, I had my allergic reaction to them. I thought it was the caramel color in my vanilla, so I remade them with color-free vanilla. (I'm allergic to corn, wheat, and dairy). However, I had the same reaction to the new batch. Now I am wondering if I am allergic to buckwheat, but after reading your comment, I wonder if my buckwheat flour was contaminated with corn.

  21. Hi, I realize these comments are all somewhat old but I just wanted to share that I just made these muffins with a few mods and they are very yummy! I didn't have apple sauce so I used a mix of 3 ripe mashed bananas, one peeled nectarine cut small and some canned pineapple (this equalled 2 cups in all). I omitted raisins and added an egg and a splash of soy milk. Thanks for the recipe! I am just beginning to discover the joys of buckwheat in baking!

  22. Hi there! I made these muffins today. They turned out GREAT! One question for you know if you can substitute maple syrup or honey for the sugar?

    Thanks a bunch!

  23. Hi, I've just made these for my 2 year old daughter who has allergies and they taste great! Can you let me know how long you think they would keep in an air tight container so I could take them on trips? Thanks!

  24. Ali, I made these yesterday and they are delicious. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except that I halved the recipe and then had to add 3/4 cup of almond milk to the batter as it was too dry without the extra liquid.

    I don't like using xanthan gum, so I will definitely be making more versions of these muffins in the weeks to come and will be posting them on my blog, linking back to your original recipe. :)

  25. I'm excited to have found your blog! I also have to eat sugar free and was wondering if you knew how I could alter the recipe to use maple syrup, honey or stevia instead of the brown sugar/maple sugar etc..? Thank you

  26. My son gave me your cookbook as a gift. I had all the ingredients for the muffins, so I tried those today. They are terrific! Great texture and flavor, and came out of the muffin tin easily. I was glad to find a recipe full of healthy ingredients that tastes so good!

  27. Ohmy!!
    I made these 2 days ago and have had to show considerable self-control to not devour the entire batch.

    I didn't use raisins in mine. I sub'd dried cranberries. I also used about 1/2 cup more carrots.

    These freeze well so if you're a small family and don't think you can eat them all before they go bad, put 4 or 5 at a time in a freezer bag. They're delicious for breakfast or as a snack or dessert.

    I will definitely be making these again!!

  28. I made these yesterday and they taste great. I made some modifications replacing the tapioca flour with almond flour and dividing the sugar between date sugar and brown sugar. The wet ingredients mixed in before I could get all the dry ingredients incorporated, and the batter seemed very dry, more like cookie batter. Not sure if that is expected. They taste great, and my fiance whined about not being sweet enough. That was my plan to reduce carbs, but i was afraid they would be too dense, and they are. They do not look like your picture which shows them with a fluffy, soft, moist texture. What did I do wrong?

    Thanks, Angela W of Seattle, WA

  29. Hi there. Just found your blog via a google search. I am trying to follow up a hunch of mine that ground flax seed (or maybe some other whole food like chia?) can replace the gums in gf cooking?
    Do you think this could be doable. . . .??? At least for quick breads ?

  30. momgenet- Yes you can replace the gums in GF baked goods with ground flax, chia, and psyllium husk. All of the GF baked good recipes in our new cookbook, Nourishing Meals, are free of gums. Some of them use combos of ground flax or chia and psyllium and some just don't need them at all. Here is the link to the book:

  31. Angela W. - When you change the flours and other ingredients in a recipe you can't expect the same results, sorry! All flours absorb moisture differently. Your variation does sound tasty though! :)

  32. What is a source for buckwheat groats please? I am going to use my buckwheat flour now for this recipe. Yet have been hoping to order groats but unsure of the best source. Thanks so much!

  33. Could you please recommend a source for the groats?

  34. Hiya! Just made these muffins and they turned out pretty good! Just a coupla things. The batter seemed terribly dry when I was mixing it, so I added about 1/2 cup of apple cider. No probs there! Also--the finished product tasted a little "bitter." I used some buckwheat flour that I found in my cupboard that had expired a while ago, but still seemed OK. Perhaps this was the reason for the bitter taste? Anyhoo, it wasn't anything I couldn't handle, so I am eagerly devouring muffins as I write this : ) Thanks for a yummy recipe!

  35. Hey this recipe looked great, though I followed the directions exactly they still turned out really dense instead of rising and looking as golden and fluffy as your picture...perhaps I over mixed? I'm asking because the recipe looks great and my second time trying them they've still not turned out the same. Any tips would be great. Thanks and keep writing, I love your blog!


  36. Perhaps your baking soda & baking powder? Try testing them with a little of each on a plate and a drop or two of vinegar


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)