Sunny Surprise Breakfast Muffins

Bonnie brought the most delicious breakfast muffins to our April weekend girls getaway at the beach. As she gave me the recipe, she said “whatever you do, don’t leave out the parsnips.” What? Parsnips in muffins? Yes, these muffins contained plenty of healthy ingredients — and you wouldn’t guess it. The spices blended with the all the “surprise” ingredients and the muffins were moist and irresistible. This is spicy muffin recipe is perfect for cool autumn days.

I had to visit three grocery stores to find parsnips — they are a winter vegetable — but I was determined to make the muffins. So I gathered up all the ingredients called for in the recipe and began whip up this very healthy muffin.

Then I ran into a nutritional issue. The recipe, from Chef Emeril Lagasse, contained one cup of oil as an ingredient. Even though oil is unsaturated, that’s alot of oil. I wondered what would happen if I decreased the oil to make the recipe even more healthy — while still keeping the texture. So after several attempts at adjusting ingredients, I think I came out with something pretty good.  It has more of a cake type texture — as opposed to the very moist texture in the original muffin — but still works.

My recipe uses the ingredients for a basic muffin. I used unbleached flour in the recipe and added milk (which is usually included in muffin recipes) and cut down on the oil.

The “surprise” part of the recipe is all the additions to the muffin. The recipe calls for (take a big breath) carrots, parsnips, a Granny Smith apple, raisins and pecans. (I omitted coconut.)  I added in spices of cinnamon and ginger and a pinch of vanilla extract. By the time you’ve added in all these things — you really have a “meal” — or at least a good start to the day.

It is a little time consuming to grate the vegetables and apple to a very fine grind, but it made for a cake-like muffin texture and pretty much obliterated each individual ingredient.. (Shredding them worked too, just a different texture if you don’t mind pieces of carrot and parsnip in your muffin.)

Here are all the grated ingredients.

Mix everything together — and be careful not to over-mix; if there are lumps in the batter don’t try to smooth them out. Scoop into a cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners.

And bake for 20 minutes. You’ve got the most healthy muffin around — and it has plenty of zip, too (due to the parsnip). Enjoy!

Now, if you are in a hurry, an option is to shred the vegetables in a food processor rather than grating them by hand.

These turned out well, too, and made a few more muffins. (I liked them both!)

The recipe made 12 muffins with grated vegetables and about 18 muffins with shredded vegetables and apple. And freeze leftovers, remove as needed and warm for a few seconds in the microwave. An easy and healthy breakfast!

Sunny Surprise Breakfast Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


    • 1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 medium carrot, (about 1/4 cup finely grated)
    • 1 small parsnip (about 1/4 cup finely grated)
    • 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup, chopped)
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Add cupcake liners to 12 wells of a standard cupcake pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and ground ginger into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add sugar and stir. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine finely grated carrot and parsnip, chopped apple, raisins and finely chopped pecans. Add oil to this mixture and stir.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the vegetable/fruit/oil mixture.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the egg until smooth. Add the milk and stir.
  7. Add the egg/milk and vanilla extract to the flour and vegetable/fruit mix. Stir with large spoon, with just a few stirs until the mixture is blended. Some lumps may remain. Do not over-stir.
  8. Spoon scoops of the batter equally into the 12 lined cupcake wells. They will fill the cupcake liners to the top.
  9. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes just until the muffins are golden on top and spring back.




2 thoughts on “Sunny Surprise Breakfast Muffins

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