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Both my boyfriend and I have remained remarkably free of illness this winter.  He had a slight sniffle after a very brief trip to India last week which was unexpected considering he spent more time on a plane than on the ground. I thought I was coming down with something over the weekend but I soon realised it was just my hayfever kicking off even earlier than usual.

Whilst I have no doubt cursed us and, come the weekend, we will have to take to our sick beds, I ascribe our success to the new and revolutionary diet we’ve eaten over the last couple of months which I like to call the ‘one more vegetable diet’.

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The premise is fairly simple. At every meal that we have, I try to see if I can cram in one more (type of) vegetable. Whether this is throwing a handful of frozen peas into a pan of pasta, adding whatever is lurking at the bottom of the fridge into a curry or just serving a salad alongside whatever we’re eating, it is a remarkably easy way to feel better about our food.

For a lot of people, this may be second nature but I would best describe our approach to eating vegetables as lazy.  They’re always there but too often we don’t make them the focus of our meals and end up sadly picking at a pile of wilted green beans on the corner of our plates.

This same principle doesn’t just apply to vegetables, hence these lemon, almond and chia seed muffins. You probably don’t need any introduction to chia seeds, considered a ‘superfood’ by many and packed with omega-3 fatty acids and many other essential minerals.  I’ve had a packet lurking in my kitchen for a while now but it’s only in the last few months that I’ve started to chuck them into  anything and everything.

My favourite use, so far, is in these muffins where they act a bit like poppy seeds, adding a little bit of texture and crunch without distracting anyone from the serious business of breakfasting.  Like adding one more vegetable to our plates in the evening, adding a handful of chia seeds to a muffin is one of the best kind of ways to improve what I eat – a small change that has a big impact.

More ways to use chia seeds? I’m excited to make batches of both this chia lemonade and this blueberry pomegranate chia fresca this summer.  This raspberry and vanilla chia seed pudding looks so good as do these almond and chia seed waffles.

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lemon, almond and chia seed muffins

Yield: 6 muffins

I've made a batch of these every Saturday for the last couple of weeks and therefore I can inform you with some authority that if you want to throw a handful of white chocolate chips into these muffins, it wouldn't be the end of the world. You could, of course, use poppy seeds rather than chia seeds but I never turn down an opportunity to shove a "superfood" in when I can.

Ingredients

  • 95g (2/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon) brown rice flour
  • 45g (just under 1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 75g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) demerara sugar
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (or, indeed, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract if you're that way inclined)
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Flaked almonds, to scatter on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F (fan) and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In another bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together until fragrant and then whisk in together the egg, vanilla, olive oil and yoghurt.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently fold a couple of times. Add the chia seeds and fold again until the streaks of flour just disappear.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 20 - 15 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so before removing.

Notes

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78 Responses to "lemon, almond and chia seed muffins {gluten free}"
  1. You are my go to gluten free site. So hard to find good tasting gluten free treats

  2. Skye says:

    I love the idea of the one more vegetable diet – so simple and yet so effective. Am going to embrace it as my new life philosophy.
    And love these muffins too – great use of chia seeds. And very keen on the touch of almond too. x

  3. molly yeh says:

    i am so in love with this “one more vegetable” thing! i want to do that immediately! well, after breakfast, bc peas in my yogurt might be extreme.

    these muffins remind me of the little lemon poppyseed muffins i would get as a kid. they were so good, i’d stuff my face with them. i need to get on this chia train!

    • kathryn says:

      Oh yeah, breakfast is totally the exception to the veggie rule. But then if you throw in some chia seeds, I feel like maybe it balances that out.

  4. I love adding chia seeds to my oatmeal every morning. I’ll have to try them in these yummy looking muffins next!

  5. Erika says:

    I love this.. I’ve tried to do something similar with my family and our eating habits.. adding more veggies and cutting back on all the greasy foods that we love down here in the south. All of your recipes are inspiring me and these muffins are definitely on my to do list.

  6. About 5 years ago my (then boyfriend) husband and I lived at my parents’ house for 6 months. We always used to tease my Mum about how many vegetables she’d serve – sometimes up to six with one dinner. Now I’ve moved out of home for good I’m afraid I’ve turned into my Mum and do exactly the same thing – lots of lovely vegetables, usually with a dressing, spices or cooked in a way that makes them so much more than just a pile of greens on the side of the plate. It makes me happy and definitely more comfortable about the amount of cake and other baked goods I also consume :-) ps enough about me, these muffins look FAB x

    • kathryn says:

      My mother was exactly the same – the only person I have to blame for our laziness is myself! I’ve definitely felt more inspired in recent months to not make the veggies an afterthought though and you’re right, it definitely helps to offset some of the cake ; )

  7. cynthia says:

    I’ve never tried chia seeds in baking, only as pudding!! This is so intriguing … and love the idea of lemon and almond together, it sounds like a perfect combination. Lovely, Kathryn :)

  8. Kezia says:

    Having been a vegetarian about 3 years now, it’s remarkable how quickly squeezing extra veg into a meal becomes second nature. It’s definitely a great habit to get into! I’ve been waiting for you to post this recipe since I saw a picture on your Instagram, they look so delicious! I’ve just brought a packet of chai seeds that I’ve been adding to smoothies and stuff like that so it will be good to branch out and try them in a muffin.

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you Kezia! I try to have vegetarian weeks every now and then to push myself to see how to incorporate different veg into my diet; it’s a great challenge!

  9. I like this new diet you invented. I struggle with vegetables and might take up your approach to a little makes a big impact

    • kathryn says:

      I was very anti-veggies when I was younger and even though I’m grown to love them over the years, I still sometimes have that mentality that it’s a chore to eat them. This approach has definitely helped me think about them in a different way.

  10. These muffins sound wonderful -I love citrus in any form, so the lemon sounds perfect! And would you believe that I’ve still never tried chia seeds?! I see them in so many recipes and I’m super intrigued – I think it’s time for me to buy some + try ‘em!

  11. OK, so looks like I need to buy some chia seeds! I’m so glad it wouldn’t be the end of the world to throw some white choc chips into these muffins, too, because I think they would go so perfectly (white chocolate is one of those ingredients I’ve got a bit obsessed with and keep wanting to add to everything!) Pinning this … they really look fabulous!

  12. I reckon the ‘One more type of Veg’ could be a great public health campaign (I’m thinking cookbooks, magazine columns…. You name it!)

    • kathryn says:

      Definitely! It’s something that is relatively easy to do but you can make it as fun as you want – I think it’s a great way to get kids interested in eating veggies too.

  13. Great idea to sneak in some kind of veggie every day, Kathryn! I could take a lesson from you. These muffins look incredibly good – perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Georgia – you’re so right, there’s nothing like starting off a weekend with a freshly baked muffin!

  14. Emma says:

    These look soooo good Kathryn!

  15. I like the idea of adding ‘one more veg’, it is a great mentality to have, even when you are indulging in something that is not very healthy. These muffins looks great! I just made a smoothie with some chia seeds, glad that I can toss them into muffins too!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Kristan! It’s definitely a good mentality if you’re trying to keep things balanced + in moderation which is, usually, much more easier said that done.

  16. Ooh these look just lovely! And gluten free too, wow. Also strangely feeling hungry for vegetables after reading your post!

  17. Laura says:

    I love your one-more-vegetable approach! Truly a sensible and civilized way to eat healthier that won’t cause any crazy-making in the process. I love a chia-flecked muffin/breakfast-y treat too. It ups the virtue for sure, not that these gorgeous muffins even needed it. So much goodness in them. (Thanks for the chia link love too, Kathryn!) xo

    • kathryn says:

      Totally. I spent so much of my younger years indulging in crazy-making eating habits that it’s good to do something that feels a bit more balanced and sustainable. Thanks, as ever, for your sweet comments Laura.

  18. I like this “One more vegetable” approach. Ben got me started on more vegetables after we moved in together – it was a rough at the beginning, but now I’m convinced I have been better off with the extra veg. As long as I get my dose of carbs, muffins and chocolate the same day, too.

  19. Vickie says:

    yum, these sound awesome :)

    I use chia seeds in my smoothies/oats/muesli, but haven’t baked with them yet – looks like I might need to change that :)

  20. Joanne says:

    I love that! THe one more vegetable diet. I feel like that’s kind of what I ascribe to as well.

    I’m always up for lemony sweet treats and these muffins just sound lovely!

  21. I love this philosophy. I’m always trying to cram an extra veg in here and there. The recommended daily intake of fruit and veg is 500g, and I was really surprised last year when I had to do an exercise of weighing everything I ate and drank for 3 days, that I was just barely making that minimum. I mean, I’m me for Pete’s sake! It was definitely an eye opener. Now I try to shove extra veg into practically everything. I do love chia seeds in my smoothies, but have no yet baked with them. These little muffins are straight up adorable, I’ll definitely have to try them out. I’ve been trying to find brown rice flour but so far have only seen ‘rice flour’ which I assume comes from white rice. Is there a substantial difference?

    • kathryn says:

      The guidance in the UK tends to be around ‘portions’ (getting your ‘five a day’) and I think a lot of people under estimate the size of portion that they have – I’m pretty sure most people don’t get 500g a day! As for brown/white rice flour, I think it’s a bit like the difference between AP flour and whole wheat flour. I don’t think they bake up different – I prefer to use straight brown rice flour but the most easily available here too is a mix of brown/white. There’s also a third type of rice flour (sticky white rice flour) which is used more in Asian dishes but also in some gluten free recipes for its texture. It’s not interchangeable though as it makes everything a bit gummy.

  22. Mmm I am digging this recipe HARD! So yummy looking!

  23. Lindsey says:

    yay for veggies! i feel like once you get started incorporating them into more meals and then feel the good vibes that come from them, it makes the whole how-am-i-going-to-eat-my-veggies-today thing a lot more digestible (pun intended). i love chia seeds, and i love how you replaced poppy seeds with them! so clever!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I think I have all the ingredients to this little sweet treat so I’m gonna make them so soon! I love chia seeds. I think the trick to using them more often is to put them in a cute glass container on your counter so you can easily sprinkle them into your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, etc. I’m going to experiment with chia seed puddings as well– I’ve never tried one!

    I always feel so much healthier when I eat more vegetables. I try (and I’m really stressing the word /try/) to plan them into every meal but to be honest, they usually end up being a pretty simple affair compared to the protein. I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel like preparing a vegetable side dish takes more time than making the main entree! So typically, the veggies just end up being quickly roasted or steamed.

    Hope you guys feel better!

    • kathryn says:

      Yeah! Thanks Stephanie, hope you like them : ) I totally agree re time; often veggies are the total afterthought. I’m getting better at making them the star of the show though which makes the effort seem so much more worthwhile!

  25. I’ve been trying to add new vegetables this winter to our meals and I’ve been enjoying exploring new finds. THE one approach is one I should adapt too. I need to try chia seeds as soon as possible because all the health benefits are just amazing. Substituting for poppyseed is great idea :) Love these muffins. And you are my gluten free go-to recommended site!! I have a few friends who are gluten-free and they love love your recipes. So happy I sent them your way :)

  26. I love the idea of a “one more vegetable” diet!

  27. I love your philosophy! I actually count the number of servings we eat a day, and I’m always trying to increase it!

    • kathryn says:

      It’s such an easy change to make isn’t it? And it definitely helps to increase the amount of variety in our diets which can only be a good thing.

  28. These little muffins need to get into my life! Love the lemon and almond combo!

  29. Trisha says:

    I really want to try more gluten free stuff. This looks like a fantastic starter recipe! x

  30. Deena Kakaya says:

    I love lemon and chia seeds in bakes, your muffins look fabulous! X

  31. Tina Jui says:

    Thanks for the inspiration to always throw a bit more veggie in everything. I always try to do it too – but definitely need inspiration like this post to keep me at it!

    • kathryn says:

      I think it’s a reminder that we could all do with isn’t it? Certainly making this post public has made me feel more accountable for it!

  32. SandraM says:

    I just added vegetables to my breakfast! (Asparagus and pea frittata) :)
    Great post(I just found your blog through Food52). And I definitely need to try these muffins.

  33. Teffy says:

    Ooo those look so so delicious!!
    I love little gluten free muffins, indulgent without any ounce of guilt!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  34. Seriously. SO BEAUTIFUL!!

  35. Claudia says:

    We just made these, and, uh, we kind of, maybe, perhaps inhaled the batch in its entirety at once. Not sure how long I will be able to stay out of the kitchen to make some more. It is almost dinner time after all, and what good would a Sunday night meal be without a dessert?! ;-)

  36. Lynna says:

    I think I would definitely take in your suggestion and add in some white chocolate chips in these!

  37. Amanda says:

    I came for the muffins but I’ll stay for the one-more-veg philosophy! I love your half-batch muffins; just whipped up a batch of these for the morning. The chia definitely make them feel extra-virtuous!

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