Plant-Based Zero Waste Pumpkin Muffins
Fall is just starting again, Halloween is coming soon, and pumpkins are back in full force. Yay! And I have been roasting pumpkins like crazy to stock up on some homemade pumpkin puree. And with all this puree, I thought I would start with something sweet. So I created a variation of my basic vegan muffin recipe (and a little help from a banana muffin recipe from the Joy of Cooking) to make pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips.
These vegan pumpkin muffins are so good! They are moist, lightly sweet, subtly spicy, and even easier to make than my basic muffins. They are completely plant-based, zero waste, high in fiber, and made using sustainable ingredients. So if you are looking for a great on-the-go snack, healthy dessert, or high-fiber breakfast, these vegan pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips might be what you are looking for!
A Few Suggestions for a Zero Waste and Minimalist Kitchen
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I am one of those poor souls trapped with using a tiny kitchen in a cookie cutter apartment. You know what I am talking about. It’s one of those kitchens with very little counter space and barely enough room for two people to work in. In fact, we avoid being in there at the same time since we just trip over each other getting around. So needless to say, kitchen space is in short supply and that requires using as few appliances as possible.
I have always been a minimalist when it came to my kitchen appliances. I just don’t like having too many gadgets and clutter to get in my way. But this setup has made me find a way to trim it down even more. So I love it when I can use one appliance for many different functions.
A High-Performance Blender
One such item is my high-performance Vitamix blender. This thing is like my Swiss Army knife of kitchen appliances. It acts as a blender, food processor, juicer (with pulp), and heating element all in one. In short, I highly recommend it.
But it isn’t the only option out there. I have been hearing really good things about the Blendtec Total Classic blender (affiliate link) as well and the price is comparable (or possibly cheaper) to the Vitamix. However, there are many good choices on the market so I suggest you do your research first before buying. If you are looking for ways to pare down you clutter, a high-performance blender like this is a worthy investment. The only downside is these puppies aren’t cheap. But they are worth every penny!
Reusable Silicone Bakeware
The other item I recommend buying if you don’t already have one is either a silicone muffin pan (affiliate link) or silicone muffin cups (affiliate link). Either of these will do the job and both will greatly diminish waste (and save you money too). Short of that, you can buy an aluminum muffin pan (affiliate link) and grease the cups just like grandma did. I use coconut oil.
Please avoid using standard paper baking cups as these pollute our waterways with chlorine and other chemicals that are used to increase heat tolerance and as a release agent. If You Care (affiliate link) brand of baking cups are chlorine-free and lined with silicone instead of quilon (chrome based chemical used as a release agent). And silicone is non-toxic when incinerated. Plus, this brand can be found at almost any grocery store.
The last thing I want to bring up is cookbooks. There are so many cookbooks out there as you well know. And like everything else in my kitchen, I prefer to have as few cookbooks as possible. One of the most amazing cookbooks I have found is The Joy of Cooking (affiliate link) by Irma S. Rombauer.
This cookbook goes into great detail about, well, everything. It has basic how-to’s on every food group, a large spread of cuisines, great recipes, and even info on nutrition and menu planning. I cannot overstate enough what a great cookbook it is. If I could only have one cookbook in my kitchen, this would be it.
Tips for Making Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
These pumpkin muffins are incredibly easy and straightforward to make. However, as always, here are some pointers I’ve discovered while putting together this recipe that I’d like to share with you. Especially if you are new to vegan baking.
- This recipe uses flax eggs. If you are new to vegan baking, flax eggs are a wonderful alternative to chicken eggs in baking. They are zero waste and easy to make. All you need is 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of filtered water. Mix that together and let it sit for at least 15 mins. My post on how to make flax eggs might be helpful if you’d like to know more.
- Since flax eggs need some time to set, I find it best to mix the flax egg first. By the time you preheat the oven, grease the muffin pan, mix the dry ingredients, and measure out everything else, it’s usually ready to go.
- Coconut oil is my absolute preferred oil for baking. If you’ve tried any of my other recipes, you know I use it a lot! If you are allergic to or don’t like coconut oil, you can substitute it out entirely with another oil. Just make sure that what oil you use has a flashpoint of 375F or higher.
- I highly recommend using fresh homemade pumpkin puree. In my opinion it tastes better, it is easy to do, and it reduces your household waste. Plus you get all the seeds! If you don’t know how to do it, I’ve got a post on how to make zero waste pumpkin puree that you might be interested in. However, I also understand that there just might not be enough time to do it. If you go with the canned stuff just make sure that it is just pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Unless you’ve got a can hanging around, I would suggest making your own baking powder (or buying in bulk) to keep it zero waste. And it is really easy to do! Baking powder is a mix of 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. That’s it! That should give you the amount you need. If you buy baking soda or baking powder in bulk, just make sure that the place you buy it from keeps it fresh as it does lose potency over time. Unsure about your baking soda? No worries! You can test it’s potency by adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a 1/4 cup baking soda. If it immediately bubbles up, your baking soda is still good.
- This recipe uses coconut sugar. It has a few health benefits that cane sugar lacks. But more importantly, coconut sugar is a much more sustainable sweetener than cane sugar. According to WWF, sugarcane is one of the most destructive crops on the planet. This crop is greatly responsible for loss of biodiversity, deforestation, and destruction of coral reefs. It also needs a lot of water to grow. In fact, it takes about 9 gallons of water to get 1 teaspoon of sugar. Because of this, I am trying to trade out all of my recipe to use coconut sugar or another sweetener instead. But with that being said, you can substitute it out for light brown sugar at the same amount if you desire.
- For some foods, it isn’t necessary to grease a silicone pan or cup but for this recipe I suggest doing it. And, of course, do this if you are using a metal pan. All you need is a cloth and a little solid coconut oil. I have dedicated cloths that I use just for this purpose. Afterwards I soak them with some soap and hot water, rinse, and hang to dry. Done!
I think that about covers it so let’s get to baking!
Looking for other zero (or low) waste and vegan sweets? You might want to check out my easy chocolate chip muffins, anise avocado cookies, chai milkshake, coconut macadamia granola with blueberries, peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, and vegan avocado fudgy brownies!
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to see your awesome creation! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to hashtag a photo on Instagram #sustainablesauceresses!
Or if you have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to leave me a comment below. I’d really love to hear from you!
Plant-Based Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Chips
- Blender or Mixer
- Measuring Cup and Spoons
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- 12-Cup Silicone Muffin Pan or 12 Silicone Muffin Cups
- 2 cups whole wheat all purpose flour or unbleached flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. pink himalayan or sea salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
- ½ tsp. nutmeg, ground
- ¼ tsp. allspice, ground
- ¼ tsp. clove, ground
- 1⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 flax egg
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 6 tbsp. coconut oil, melted (or other light oil)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup vegan dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- ½-¼ cup walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)
- Mix your flax seeds and water in a small bowl. Set aside for at least 15 mins.
- Preheat oven to 375F or 190C.
- Lightly grease the muffin pan with coconut oil.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk your dry ingredients and add any extras desired after. Set aside.
- In the blender or mixer add the flax egg, pumpkin, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Beat on high for about a minute.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
- With a wooden spoon, gently mix until moistened. Do not overmix; batter should not be smooth.
- Immediately divide the batter among the muffin cups.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in 1 to 2 muffins comes out clean.
- Let cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from pan. Let the muffins finish cooling on a cooling rack for about 30 mins.
- Transfer to a sealed container. Best for about 2-4 days.
Did you give this recipe a try?