Packed full of healthy greens, these whole grain spinach muffins are soft, tender, and delicious…and prove that healthy really can be delicious!
So if you want to know the truth, I don’t do a whole lot for St. Patrick’s Day around here.
Sorry if that revelation is a huge disappointment.
I’m not a holiday grinch by any means. I go crazy in my own right for other holidays, but St. Patty’s day is one of the holidays that I’m kind of “meh” about celebrating.
At least when it comes to sneaky leprechaun footprints, hidden pots of gold and treasure hunts, and green everything (including all the foods that should, quite honestly, never be turned green in the first place just to humor small children).
I blame it on the fact that I was born with green eyes. So I never had to make an effort for this holiday to begin with.
And my lackadaisical attitude has stayed with me, I’m afraid.
But these delicious little green spinach muffins have certainly earned me some rock star points with my kids over the years.
You can’t get much greener than these soft and tender muffins.
Plus, there are extra rock star points because all that green-ness comes from a whole bag of spinach blended up with other simple ingredients to make healthy, green muffins.
And guess what? The cute spinach muffins actually taste good.
I promise you can trust me on this one for the simple reason that I’m the last person/food blogger on this earth to get behind food trends just because they’re cute or festive or outrageously unique.
I love it when my food looks pretty, don’t get me wrong, but if it doesn’t also taste amazing, my heart turns cold and the recipe is cast out forever.
Recipes for these bright green spinach muffins have been floating around the internet for years, so they are hardly a cutting edge, trendy recipe anymore.
Since we’ve actually been making these muffins for a while now (a sweet reader, Erin, emailed me a link to the recipe a couple years ago!), I consider them a solid tried-and-true muffin recipe, especially because we don’t reserve them just for St. Patrick’s Day.
We eat them all the time for breakfast and after school snacks, and often, I’ll double the batch and keep the baked and cooled muffins in the freezer.
And if you are wondering about the “hulk” part – Erin, who sent the recipe to me, joked that since her kids wouldn’t know who Popeye is, they nicknamed these “hulk” muffins.
That name has stuck with us as well. But it also makes me think it’s kind of a travesty that my kids are not familiar with good ol’ Popeye.
I feel old.
However, I have caught one or two of my boys flexing in the mirror after devouring a couple of these “hulk” muffins…so there is that.
If you are more into the St. Patrick’s Day celebrating than I am and are looking for a festive, fun, green treat/breakfast/snack to serve on the big day, this is a feel-good solution!
Packed with spinach and whole grains, these muffins are lightly sweet and ultra-fluffy in texture (thanks to the buttermilk and banana bread-esque qualities).
When I made the spinach muffins for the first time years ago, my expectations were low.
I mean, it’s a naturally green muffin. How tasty can it be?
But we loved these from the start, and it makes me happy that these green muffins of wonder actually taste amazing.
The research is tasting good. Really good.
Also, in case you are wondering, here are a few of my favorite muffin-making tools:
-My favorite muffin pan (light in color so the bottoms don’t burn!)
-I always use my #20 cookie scoop to perfectly portion out that muffin batter (so easy and less messy!)
-I love these natural, unbleached muffin liners (I’ve also found them at Orson Gygi when I travel down to Salt Lake)
That about does it! If you have any fun St. Patrick’s Day traditions, I’d love to hear about them; comment below!
Whole Grain Green Hulk Muffins
- 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) white whole wheat flour (see note)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) granulated sugar (see note)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (see note)
- 1/4 cup canola, vegetable, avocado, grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6-ounces baby spinach
- 2 very ripe bananas (about 8 ounces unpeeled/3/4 cup mashed)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners or grease with nonstick cooking spray (the recipe makes between 16-18 muffins).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a blender, add the egg, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, spinach and bananas.
- Blend until pureed and smooth.
- Pour the spinach mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. A few small dry streaks and lumps here and there are ok. Don’t overmix or the muffins can be dry.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the cups about 2/3 full. I use my #20 cookie scoop to make this process easy as can be.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes (increasing time as needed as each oven differs slightly in exact oven temperature) until the tops of the muffins spring back lightly to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Let the muffins cool for a few minutes in the pan; turn them out carefully onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the flour, you can definitely use all-purpose for the whole wheat flour or use a combination (half whole wheat, half all-purpose). For the sugar, if you want a healthier alternative to the granulated sugar, try maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar.
Finally, for the buttermilk, if you don’t keep it on hand or don’t have any, mix equal parts sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt) and milk together for the perfect buttermilk solution.
I also forgot to mention that the color of these muffins darkens over time (the muffins we have leftover to eat the next day are dark green instead of bright green). Also, we prefer these muffins after they’ve been baked and cooled – the flavor and texture is better than straight out of the oven (although we’ve found that a quick 5-10 second spurt in the microwave can help warm them slightly without affecting flavor/texture).
Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!
Recipe Source: from two recipes online (The Green Forks and Pamela Salzman) after a reader, Erin G., sent me one of the links almost two years ago – I put my own spin on the spinach muffins (using buttermilk, adding weight amounts, changing up the method just a bit)
Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links for products I’ve purchased from there.