Carrot Cake Muffins with Sunflower Seeds & Raisins

I’m always looking for ways to repurpose juice pulp in my green kitchen. I developed this quick and simple recipe to use up carrot pulp from my latest carrot juicing frenzy, but you could easily use grated carrots, either would work well! These vegan and gluten-free muffins are moist and flavourful, boasting spices remnant of carrot cake, including cinnamon, ginger and clove. The ingredients are clean and simple, including apple sauce as an oil replacement, ground flax seeds as an egg replacement, coconut milk as a dairy replacement and non-refined sugars including pure maple syrup and brown sugar. 


Sunflower seeds, which are little powerhouses of nutrients, add texture and flavour to these muffins. They are an excellent source of vitamin E, omega 6 and monounsaturated fats, which minimize heart disease and boost the elasticity of skin. Sunflower seeds are also a great source of magnesium and calcium - contrary to popular belief, there are many non-dairy sources of calcium available in the plant world, after all, milk is for cows! Sunflower seeds are also rich in antioxidants including zinc and selenium. Keeping zinc levels in check is important as low levels are associated with compromised immunity, infertility, poor skin and depression.* 

lovewildlivefree carrot juice

I love juicing carrots and repurposing the pulp - cutting down on waste where I can. Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A for improving health in the gut, skin and immune system. The beta carotene found in carrots is a superhero for eyesight, known for improving night vision and has antioxidant powers which help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. Alpha Carotene (Beta’s cousin) helps reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Carrots are easily digestible, common, inexpensive and loaded with fibre. The silica and Vitamin C found in carrots is also great addition your beauty routine as they provide a natural boost for your skin. Carrots are also known to promote hair growth and add thickness by stimulating hair growth as Vitamin C and E improve circulation in the scalp.* 

Note on Gluten-Free Flour: Gluten-Free flour has become widely available in recent years. I like  to sub in 1-to-1 baking flours in traditional recipes as there is no guess-work involved. I have tested out a number of gluten-free flours over the years and I’ve found the best results with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (GMO-free) and Cuisine Soleil All Purpose Mix(100% organic). These flours do not have a funny aftertaste and you won’t miss the gluten consistency. I like to avoid gluten-free flour mixes that contain conventional potato and corn starch. Be wary of non-organic potato and corn as these are are grown with pesticides and are commonly genetically modified. 

Yield: One dozen muffins

Carrot Cake Muffin Ingredients: 

1 & 3/4 cup Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour 

1 tbsp ground flax seed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda  

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (use the cream from the top of the can) 

1/4 cup + 3 tbsp water

1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups grated carrots (or 1.5 cups carrot pulp from juicing well packed)

1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water and drained

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

(Use organic ingredients)

The how to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line muffin tin with unbleached, chlorine-free baking cups.

  2. Soak raisins for 8 to 10 minutes in cool filtered water while you prepare the muffin batter. This will rehydrate them and make them plump and juicy!  

  3. Starting with the dry ingredients, add the first 9 ingredients listed in a large bowl and whisk until everything is well incorporated and there are no clumps left. 

  4. Next, in a small bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: maple syrup, applesauce, coconut milk, water, vanilla. 

  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients by adding a few spoonfuls at a time of wet to dry until just incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix, an important rule when making muffins.

  6. Next, fold in the raisins, carrots and sunflower seeds. 

  7. Scoop the batter (about 1/3 of a cup at a time) into the muffin tin. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin and serving.

Happy baking! 

Much love, #LoveWildLiveFree

lovewildlivefree tea&muffin


*source:  Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.