Banana-Cranberry Quinoa Muffins (Gluten-free!)

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to do a Qi Gong energy work session with Wei here at Arogya.  Afterwards, we had a conversation about good energy-boosting foods.  Wei mentioned that in Chinese medicine most naturally red colored, plant-based foods are thought to nourish the blood and support optimum circulation and immunity.  Such foods include beets, kidney and adzuki beans, red quinoa, red fruits, carrots, red swiss chard and other red rooted greens (such as spinach and rhubarb), red rices, and more.  Additionally, the color red is reminiscent of love and passion, so it can have a warming effect on our overall sense of well being.  Nutritionists have also found that many red-colored fruits and vegetables are rich in anti-cytokine, anti-oxidants and lycopene.  These nutrients have been show to help prevent cancer, in particular lung cancer, prostate cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

In addition to adding more red food into my savory dishes, I decided to create these red-ingredient-inclusive muffins made of red quinoa, red walnuts, and cranberries.  They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, too.

Recipe for Banana-Cranberry Quinoa Muffins

Makes 8 medium sized muffins (2 3/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ deep)



  • 3/4 cup Almond Meal/Flower
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cooking Red Quinoa (about 1/8 cup dry)



  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Mashed Bananas (preferably very ripe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup


  • 1/2 cup Chopped Red Walnuts (or regular)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Cranberries

What to do: 

  1. The first step is to cook some red quinoa.  If you’re like me and like to make extra for lunch or dinner, do so!  For every 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, you’ll want 2 cups of water.  If you just want to make quinoa for the recipe, use 1/8 cup of quinoa and 1/4 cup of water.  Rinse the quinoa with water.  Then, add the quinoa to fresh water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375˚F and place eight 2 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ liners into a muffin tin.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the almond meal, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Whisk together.
  4. Mash the bananas in a small bowl.
  5. Melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan.
  6. Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and lightly beat.  Whisk in the vanilla extract, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and banana.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well incorporated.  Then, mix in the walnuts, cranberries, and quinoa.
  8. Spoon batter into the muffin liners.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.
  10. Let cool on a drying rack (you can take the muffins out of the pan soon as they’re cool enough to touch).
  11. Enjoy!


Recipe & photos by Sophie Slater