By Laura Weigold, Dietetic Intern [University of Michigan School of Public Health]
Growing up, I was an incredibly picky eater. I wanted nothing to do with vegetables and would only tolerate a small variety of fruit. So it was a bit strange that one of my favorite recipes contained two ingredients I avoided as a kid: spinach and oranges. My mom has been making these muffins for several years, but she usually won’t tell someone what is in them until after they take a bite and realize the combo is not quite as strange as it sounds. A lot has changed in regard to my eating habits (I can’t get enough veggies now!), but one thing hasn’t: my love for these muffins.
The spinach and orange give these muffins extra vitamins and minerals, and they’re also a good source of whole grain. Whole grains contain many nutrients including iron, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber. Consuming more whole grains has been associated with reduced risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend half your daily servings of grains be whole grains and, with half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour, these muffins have you covered.
Spinach Orange Muffins
Makes approximately 3 dozen muffins
- 3 cups spinach, stems removed
- 1 medium orange
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a muffin pan (even if it is nonstick!).
- Wash the spinach and drain well. Cut in ¼-inch ribbons.
- Cut the orange in half and remove the seeds. Grind in the food processor, skin and all.
- Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Then add the sugar and oil and mix well. Stir in the orange, spinach, and pecans.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Add the liquid ingredients and stir until just moistened. Do not overmix the batter.
- Spoon the batter into muffin pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes (turn halfway through). When done, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.
- Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and move to wire racks to cool completely.