Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins: you would never believe that oats, bananas, and yogurt could together create something this amazing…until you try them. (Jump to Recipe)
I feel like it’s a requirement to share a “healthy” recipe in January, that most austere of months. I think I say this every year, but in my mind it adds insult to injury that the coldest and most depressing month is also the one in which everyone is on some kind of diet. It’s just not right.
Well, I will bow to the healthy trend, but I’ll do it in my own way. With delightfully fluffy muffins and chocolate. They just happen to be gluten-free, sweetened only with bananas and maple syrup, egg-free, and have healthy fats like olive oil and flaxseed. STAY WITH ME! I promise, you won’t know how healthy they are when you try them.
This recipe is actually about a year in the making, believe it or not. After I created these Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (which I still adore and make all the time), I started thinking about other delectable healthy-ish things I could make with ripe bananas and oats. I’d seen a few recipes floating around for “blender muffins” which are these supposedly magical muffins made simply from blending oats and bananas and eggs, so I decided to give that a try. I was, in a word…unimpressed. I didn’t think my blender could possibly get so clogged, or that muffins could possibly be so gummy. Ugh.
Undaunted, over the course of the next few months I tried 4 or 5 different varieties, each crazier than the last – one of them was composed mostly of chickpeas. That’s when I realized I’d gone off the deep end. They had all been flat, gummy, and way too dense. Definitely not muffin-like, at least not like any muffin I’d like to eat. I gave up for a while and went back to my breakfast cookies.
But the idea wouldn’t go away. I knew if I’d been able to make cookies with oat flour, I had to be able to make muffins. It wasn’t until Pinch of Yum came out with their recipe for pumpkin muffins with oats this fall that I realized what I’d been missing: yogurt! And a higher oven temperature, allowing for the muffins to rise like normal, gluten-filled muffins would. Genius! If you like pumpkin things, definitely go check out Lindsay’s recipe.
I figured the same principle could apply to my banana muffins, and after a couple more tries, I think I finally have it. This hunch was confirmed when Brian ate 3 in a sitting; something he doesn’t normally do with my healthy muffin experiments.
The secret is, you don’t mix it all together in the blender. I’ve found that doing it that way leads to under-mixed, chunky muffins and batter stuck at the bottom of my blender. No bueno. No, the way to do is it to grind only the oats in the blender until they become a fine, powdery flour, and then mix the batter together in a bowl like a normal person. The oats blend way better and finer on their own in the blender, and then all you have to do is rinse out the blender pitcher and not spend half an hour trying to pick oat bits out of the bottom. Sometimes I really think the things we do in the name of “convenience” are the complete opposite. You will not see blender muffins on this website, I’ll tell you that.
I also decided to keep these banana oatmeal muffins egg-free, for a couple of reasons: 1. I’ve made the sad discovery in the past year that I’m fairly intolerant to eggs, and if I can avoid putting them in something I’m eating every day, I will; and 2. I replaced the eggs with ground flaxseed, which is super healthy for you (omega-3’s, antioxidants, etc.), and it happens to make a great egg replacement when mixed with water. Win win! If you’d rather not mess with the flax, though, you can definitely just use 2 eggs (and I noted that in the recipe below).
I’m very pleased with how these muffins came out. They’re soft and fluffy like a muffin should be, and I added some olive oil so they wouldn’t have that awful gummy texture so many healthy muffins have. The dark chocolate (I highly recommend that) adds just a little excitement, although if you’re feeling ultra virtuous, you don’t need them. They bake up quick and they freeze EXTREMELY well. I usually store them two at a time in sandwich bags in the fridge or freezer, so I can grab them as I’m running out the door. All they need is a quick 30 seconds in the microwave and you have melty chocolate banana muffin heaven. You’ll almost forget it’s January and you can’t go outside without 45 layers on.
Maybe that’s just me.
Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free if you need it)
- 2 ripe bananas (the browner, the better)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt (full fat or low fat are both fine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners or grease well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and water until combined, then put it in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients. After about 5 minutes in the fridge, it will turn into a gel. (You can use 2 large eggs in place of the flaxseed mixture if you'd prefer.)
- Place the oats in your blender and blend on high speed until they are ground into a fine powder, about 1-2 minutes. You now have oat flour! Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until they are liquidy. Stir in the yogurt, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and flaxseed mixture.
- Dump the oat flour into the bowl, and stir it in until everything is well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups, and bake for 17-19 minutes, until domed and set.
- Store in the fridge up to one week, or in the freezer up to 3 months. Just microwave for 30 seconds to reheat!
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