Winter Squash and Wild Rice for the Season
Everybody needs a little comfort right now. It’s cold out, and these are challenging times. What better way to warm up than to turn on the oven and bake some tender, fluffy muffins? These are perfect for cozy breakfasts at home, with a cup of tea or coffee.
Wild Rice is a Treat in Muffins
I live in Minnesota, where wild rice is one of our locally grown delicacies. True wild rice is native to the Great Lakes region, and grows in lakes and streams. The indigenous Ojibwe people revere wild rice, which is so nutritious that it served as the cornerstone of the diet. I seek out true, hand-harvested wild rice, which is hand harvested and parched. It cooks much more quickly than the shiny, black cultivated kind, and has a much better flavor and texture. If you can’t find good wild rice, you can order it online, here.
Winter Squash Does Double Duty in Muffins
Winter squash is another food that indigenous Americans were eating for thousands of years before Europeans arrived here, and it is exactly what we need to be eating in the cold seasons. When experts talk about building immunity, they recommend eating plenty of deep orange vegetables, to get Vitamins A and C, magnesium, B-vitamins, and lots of antioxidant activity. Winter squash is a sweet, creamy way to ward off illness and disease.
In a plant based muffin, the key to success is building a good stand-in for the eggs that usually hold it together, and give it both lift and richness. Winter squash is perfect for this, since it provides a creamy, thick bit of bulk to replace the volume of the eggs, while ground flax seeds provide the binding action. The combination makes these muffins both light and tender. They really do feel meltingly tender in your tongue.
Plant Based Muffins, Great Meal Prep
If you are one of the people who adopted a sourdough starter and now bakes all the bread you need, I salute you. If not, these quick muffins are an easy way to make a really appealing, fresh bread to go with breakfast, or lunch, or as a snack. Bake up a dozen and you can store them in an air tight bag or container for up to a week. Slather them with nut butter and jam, or eat them plain, it is all good.
Honor your body and the indigenous foods of the season, with a delicious muffin!
Squash and Wild Rice Muffins
- 1 cup pureed winter squash
- 1 cup cooked wild rice about 1/3 cup dry
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/4 cup raw pepitas chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
- First, bake and puree the squash, and cook the wild rice. Cut the squash in half vertically, then scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake squash at 400 for about 20-40 minutes, depending on size. When the squash is very tender when pierced with a knife, cool on a rack, then scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree. Measure 1 cup and use the rest for something else.Boil the wild rice in 2 cups water until tender- hand harvested wild rice will be done in 20 minutes or so, cultivated in 40-60. Drain and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir in the sugar.
- In a medium bowl, stir the non-dairy milk, flax seed and vinegar, let stand for a few minutes, then stir in the squash and avocado oil.
- Stir the squash mixture into the flour mixture, just until all the flour is mixed in, then fold in the wild rice and half of the pepitas. Stir just to mix.
- Scoop rounded 1/4 cup portions into each cup. Sprinkle with remaining pepitas and Turbinado sugar.
- bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with no wet batter attached. Cool on racks.