I've noticed a growing trend of creating muffins and cakes using pre-cooked legumes like black beans and seeds like quinoa in place of flour. There are lots of Internet recipes, which use cooked beans and even ones which use pre-cooked quinoa. Some of these recipes like this chocolate quinoa cake look pretty amazing and easy to make.
What's the advantages of using cooked grains, seeds or legume? Well legumes like black beans and chick peas are naturally gluten-free and provide lots of fibre to the end result. As the beans etc have been cooked, they will have pre-absorbed water which when incorporated into a cake batter makes it significantly less dehydrating to the digestive system than using dry flours. Something to consider if there are issues like IBS or gut sensitivity.
When whole grains, beans nuts etc are ground up to produce flours, the natural oils within them start to oxidise. We don't know how long flours have been stored by the time we buy them off the shelf. By using whole beans, grains etc and pre-cooking in water they will not have the issue of long-term storage before being used.
Sprouted Buckwheat Muffins
I thought I would experiment a step further from these pre-cooked recipes and use sprouted beans or seeds to make my muffin batter. After all sprouting enhances the nutritional composition much further!
I chose buckwheat to experiment with because it's a complete protein, sprouts rapidly and cooks quickly too. Pre-cooking the sprouts and then blending them before baking helps to create a smooth batter. I've tried this recipe with uncooked sprouts and it work but it does have a slightly crunchy texture as my blender isn't powerful enough to fully blend raw sprouts into a smooth batter.
To sweeten the muffins I used jaggery, which is a popular unrefined sugar used in South Asia. Alternatively, I could have used sweeteners like coconut palm sugar, honey or date syrup.
2 cups of pre-cooked sprouted buckwheat
1 cup jaggery
125g butter or coconut oil
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
- I preheated the oven to 160C
- Then I melted the butter in a pan and added in the chopped jaggery
- I kept stirring until the jaggery had melted.
- Next I blended the sprouted buckwheat with the eggs to make a batter
- I mixed bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and vanilla extract into the muffin batter
- Finally, I mixed the melted butter and jaggery mixture into the batter.
- I filled my muffin cases
- Baked for around 20 minutes until they were done
After they cooled, they sunk a little but I was really impressed with the moist texture and taste. Plus it was really easy to do. I guess it's another idea for using up anything you have sprouted.
Using the lesser refined sweeteners like jaggery and date syrup adds minerals and interesting flavours. These sweeteners can also be reduced or replaced by using fresh or dried fruits so I will be experimenting further to make these muffins sugar free too.
Creating batters from pre-cooked sprouts seems the way to go, if you want to maximise nutrients whilst going easy on the digestive system.