Jillian is a self-taught chef with more than eight years of experience in the kitchen. Her favorite foods to make include cake and stir-fry.
Vegan Apple Banana Muffins: An Origin Story
Five years ago, I watched a documentary that turned everything I thought I knew about food on its head. It was called Forks Over Knives, and it discussed the detriments of a traditional, meat-laden, American diet. Almost immediately after watching the film, I resolved to adopt a vegan lifestyle, ditching animal products for plant-based alternatives.
The transition wasn't easy. I love to cook, and one of the biggest challenges I faced as a new vegan was figuring out how to adapt my favorite recipes to a new set of dietary restrictions. Growing up, milk, eggs, and butter had been staples in my mother’s kitchen; abandoning them now seemed an act of treason. But I was in too deep to back out—if I really wanted to commit to veganism, I'd have to change the way I cooked.
Change Begins With Muffins
As it happens, that change started with muffins. I'd read online that you could substitute mashed banana or applesauce for eggs in certain vegan recipes, and, being equal parts creative and desperate, I decided I'd try it out with a muffin recipe I made pretty often.
The switch was simpler than expected: I simply exchanged eggs for mashed apple and banana, and cow milk for soy milk. The actual mechanics of the recipe—stirring, pouring, baking—remained the same, for which I was grateful.
As might be expected given the ingredients used to make them, these muffins taste distinctly fruitier than the recipe I based them on. They keep for a week to a week and a half in the fridge, and though I haven't personally found the need to store them for longer than that, I wouldn't recommend putting them in the freezer. In my experience, these muffins are best enjoyed fresh, so be sure to make them at a time you'll be able to eat them consistently.
At the end of the day, developing this recipe opened my eyes to just how easy—and delicious—vegan baking can be. I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do!
Notes on Ingredients
- As a rule of thumb, it’s best to let bananas sit for a week or two before cracking them open for use in baking. Although their brownish appearance might deter you at first, it’s just an indication that the starches in the fruit have begun to break down into simple sugars like glucose and fructose.
- In this recipe, I used stewed apple pieces in lieu of applesauce. The stewing process was simple enough—all I had to do was cut up the apples and throw them in a saucepan for 20 minutes, dousing them with water and lemon juice to prevent burning.
- 2 cups applesauce or cooked apple pieces
- 3 medium bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup plant-based milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Arrange ingredients on counter. Unpeel bananas and place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl along with the applesauce or cooked apple pieces.
- Blend both ingredients. I personally use an emulsion, or handheld, blender for simplicity, but if you’d prefer to use a stand blender, the results will be the same. If you use applesauce instead of apple pieces, you may prefer to blend the fruit by hand, mashing the bananas with a long wooden spoon.
- Once the fruit has attained a smooth consistency, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Add flour to the bowl, then stir to combine. Add milk as the consistency begins to thicken, a 1/4 cup at a time.
- Prepare 2 muffin pans with grease or baking cups. Spoon a dollop of batter into each cup, aiming to fill each three-quarters of the way to the top.
- Bake for 15 to 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted through the center of a muffin comes out clean. The muffins will continue to cook even after you’ve taken them out of the oven, so keep that in mind, as well.