morning glory muffins in a towel lined basket.

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins: A Mediterranean Diet Recipe

What if you could indulge in a muffin that’s loaded with veggies, fruit, whole grain, nuts, healthy fats and protein, all while tasting incredibly delicious? Allow me to introduce you to our recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. Glory Glory Hallelujah, indeed!

On a recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, we had the pleasure of dining at the renowned restaurant, Bacchanalia. As a parting gift, they presented us with a small brown bag containing two muffins from their sister bakery, Star Provisions, meant for our morning meal. As we savored these muffins in our hotel room the following day, my husband and I were unanimous in declaring them the best muffins we had ever tasted. Naturally, this led me on a mission to recreate this culinary delight at home. Not long after, Bacchanalia was fittingly awarded a Michelin Star.

It was critical to me that I crafted these muffins to be as healthy as possible without sacrificing flavor. The inclusion of honey, an unprocessed sweetener, and olive oil lends a Mediterranean Diet influence to this recipe. After several months of painstaking taste tests, I am thrilled to present the winning formula. A wholesome morning muffin that encapsulates the essence of sunshine with every bite!

The Origins of the Morning Glory Muffin

Initially, I speculated that the name ‘Morning Glory Muffins’ might be attributed to their high fiber content, potentially aiding in regular digestion. However, I had a hunch that there might be more to the story, prompting me to delve into a bit of research.

It turns out the Morning Glory Muffin has a delightful origin story that dates back to 1978. It was invented by Chef Pam McKinstry, who owned the Morning Glory Cafe on Nantucket Island. The muffin, which is known for its distinctive yellow color derived from carrots, was created during a time when people were becoming more interested in healthy eating. This original recipe was a reflection of that trend, packed with nutritious ingredients like carrots, apples, raisins, nuts, and whole grains. As its fame grew following its publication in Gourmet Magazine, the recipe spread across various cafes and bakeries around the country. The Morning Glory Muffin has endured as a symbol of delicious, hearty, and health-focused baked goods, transcending its initial creation to become a beloved classic in the world of muffins.

To align the original recipe with the principles of the Mediterranean Diet, I’ve made a few minor modifications: we’re using honey as a natural sweetener in place of brown sugar (and in smaller quantities), and we’re opting for olive oil rather than vegetable oil. Additionally, I’ve decided to leave out the crushed pineapple, an ingredient found in the original recipe but commonly omitted in contemporary versions. Canned pineapple not only contributes added sugar but also doesn’t significantly enhance the recipe.

Ingredients

The lengthy list of ingredients in this Morning Glory Muffin recipe might seem daunting at first. However, it’s this variety that makes it wholesome and nutritious. Once you’ve organized and readied all your ingredients, the actual assembly process is very fast. The most time-consuming part of making these muffins will be the initial prep work of gathering your ingredients.

Here is what you’ll need:

ingredients for morning glory muffins.
  • Carrots: A powerful source of beta-carotene for eye health, and adding natural sweetness and moisture to the muffin.
  • Apples: Contribute a sweet and slightly tart flavor while providing dietary fiber and antioxidants.
  • Raisins: Little nuggets of concentrated sweetness, and a great source of iron and potassium.
  • Pecans: A buttery crunch, packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and essential minerals like manganese and zinc.
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: Lends a tropical flair and adds another layer of texture, while offering fiber and healthy fats.
  • White Whole Wheat Flour: An excellent source of whole grains, this flour makes our muffins hearty and filling.
  • Wheat Germ: A concentrated source of nutrients, including vitamin E, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Baking Soda: The leavening agent that ensures your muffins rise properly and have a light, fluffy texture.
  • Salt: Needed to help gluten development to provide structure to the muffins.
  • Honey: Its natural sweetness is more complex than refined sugar, and it provides added antioxidants.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which can help lower bad cholesterol.
  • Eggs: The binding agent that contributes structure to the muffins, and are an excellent source of protein and B vitamins.
  • Vanilla Extract: For its sweet, aromatic flavor.
  • Orange Zest: Provides a burst of citrusy brightness.
  • Cinnamon, Ginger, & Nutmeg: Warm, sweet-spicy flavors with potential health benefits, like lower blood sugar levels, digestive aid, anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidants.

Step-by-Step How to Make

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, this Morning Glory Muffins recipe is actually very simple.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. Soak raisins. Cover them with hot water and set aside.
  3. Prepare dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  4. Combine ingredients. Stir in carrots, apples, coconut, wheat germ, and pecans.
  5. Mix wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk honey, vanilla, and olive oil. Add eggs and orange zest and beat lightly.
  6. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir until evenly moistened.
  7. Add raisins. Drain and gently stir them into the mix.
  8. Fill muffin cups. Divide the batter evenly.
  9. Bake. Start at 400°F for 5 minutes, then lower to 350°F for an additional 20 minutes.
  10. Check doneness. Insert a toothpick; if it comes out clean, they’re ready.
  11. Cool. Let muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

  • Measure: As with any baking recipe, for best results I highly recommend measuring the ingredients in grams where I’ve provided the metric measurement.
  • Nutty Twist: Substitute pecans with walnuts for a different flavor profile.
  • Flour Variation: You can use regular whole wheat flour, but the muffins may be darker and heartier.
  • Fruit Swap: Opt for cranberries instead of raisins (be aware they contain added sugars).
morning glory muffins on a wire rack.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy these Morning Glory Muffins as a wholesome breakfast or snack. Try topping them with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a fun twist, and serve alongside fresh fruit for a complete and satisfying meal.

Storage Instructions

  • Room-Temp Storage: Once cooled, keep muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Freshness is key!
  • Refrigeration: Extend their life by refrigerating for up to a week. Wrap individually or use a sealed container. Breakfast is ready when you are!
  • Freezing: For long-term storage, freeze individually wrapped muffins for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight or microwave briefly for a quick, nutritious bite.

Remember, proper storage means a healthy, tasty breakfast or snack is always at hand.

In conclusion, our Morning Glory Muffins are not just a tasty breakfast option, but they’re also healthy and align perfectly with the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Give them a try and start your day off right!

inside a morning glory muffin.

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morning glory muffins on a wire rack.
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4.93 from 14 votes

Morning Glory Muffins

Kickstart your day with a scrumptious, nutrient-rich muffin. Our Morning Glory Muffin recipe blends veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, healthy fats and protein. And it's as delicious as it sounds!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Veronique Eichler

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water. Set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  • Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, wheat germ and pecans. Blend well so everything is coated in flour, separating any lumps with your hands if necessary.
  • In a separate bowl, place honey, vanilla and olive oil. Whisk well until honey is fully dissolved.
  • Add eggs and beat lightly. Add orange zest and whisk again.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Stir until evenly moistened.
  • Drain the raisins and add them to the mix, stirring gently.
  • Divide the batter among the muffin cups. They will be filled to the top.
  • Bake 5 minutes at 400°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake another 20 minutes.
  • Insert a toothpick in the center of one of the muffins to make sure it comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Notes

  • As with any baking recipe, for best results I highly recommend measuring the ingredients in grams where I’ve provided the metric measurement.
  • Substitute pecans with walnuts for a different flavor profile.
  • You can use regular whole wheat flour, but the muffins may be darker and heartier.
  • You may opt for cranberries instead of raisins, but be aware they contain added sugars.
  • Once cooled, keep muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Extend their life by refrigerating for up to a week. Wrap individually or use a sealed container. For long-term storage, freeze individually wrapped muffins for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight or microwave briefly.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Morning Glory Muffins
Amount per Serving
Calories
341
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
0.004
g
Cholesterol
 
41
mg
14
%
Sodium
 
315
mg
14
%
Total Carbohydrate
 
39
g
13
%
Dietary Fiber
 
5
g
21
%
Total Sugars
 
14
g
16
%
Includes Added Sugar
 
11.5
g
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
3634
IU
73
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Vitamin D
 
0.2
µg
1
%
Calcium
 
43
mg
4
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
Potassium
 
259
mg
7
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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16 Comments

  1. Mele Nevitt

    This recipe looks good. I haven’t tried it but cannot figure out how you came up with the saturated fat and added sugar per serving. The seem rather high to me.

  2. Mele Nevitt

    Nevermind on the previous question regarding saturated fat. I had no idea coconut had so much. What is included in the added sugar?

    • Veronique Eichler

      Thanks Mele. Indeed, the saturated fat in this recipe comes mostly from the shredded coconut. You can omit it if you’re concerned about it. However, current research suggests the saturated fat from coconuts is not as harmful as saturated fat from animal products. Indeed, it raises the HDL good cholesterol, and coconut provides fiber, vitamins and minerals as well as valuable antioxidants. So it can be part of a healthy balanced diet when used it moderation (like everything else). The added sugar is from the honey. Even though it’s not a refined sugar, it’s still considered added sugar, as opposed to the sugar naturally contained in fruit for example. Hope you and your family enjoy this recipe. I know mine does!

  3. Molly Kurland

    5 stars
    I made these and they came out soooo good! I call them Carrot Cake Muffins because that’s what they remind me of.

  4. Looks amazing. I can’t have wheat germ because of gluten, I wonder if anyone has tried almond flour which is also high in vitamin e. It would be denser than wheat germ so potentially need to try then adjust.

    • Veronique Eichler

      Hi Sarah! To make these gluten-free, you could replace the white whole wheat flour with a gluten-free free flour mix, however I gave not tested that substitution. As for the wheat germ, you can replace it with the same weight of flour, or with flaxmeal for an extra boost of fiber and nutrients. Again, I have not tested this but that would be how I would approach it. If you try it, let me know how it comes out so I can update my post with these suggestions! By the way, Iwould not recommend almond flour in this recipe as it would result in a whole different texture. I have other muffin recipes on this site made with almond flour, you may want to check these out!

  5. 5 stars
    Love these muffins. I used pure maple syrup instead of honey and ground flaxseed instead of wheat germ. I love a muffin and a cup of Greek yogurt for breakfast in the morning. I make a double recipe when I bake and keep the. In the freezer. I live in Phoenix where it’s too hot to turn on the oven from at least June to September, so it is important to keep my freezer stocked!

  6. Peter S Eichler

    5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic. I first had a “Morning Glory” muffin as a gift from an Atlanta Michelin starred restaurant and thought it was delicious. Thank you for researching and improving the recipe and process. Your version is not only as delicious, it is HEALTHIER!

  7. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe and these were delicious!!! Incredible breakfast with my coffee and I can freeze them for later! Thank you for the healthy recipe!

    • Veronique Eichler

      So glad you liked them, Heather! I try to keep some hidden in my freezer but my husband keeps stealing them 😉

  8. 4 stars

    Made these today, definitely took more than 30 minutes to prep. They are good but I get a bit of baking soda flavor coming through. Can the 2 tsp be reduced? Also- could another oil be substituted?
    Thanks,

    • Veronique Eichler

      Thank for your comments, Kathy! If you get a baking soda flavor that bothers you, you can definitely reduce it, but understand that your muffins won’t rise as much and will feel more dense. Try using just one teaspoon and see how you like it. As for the oil, you could of course une any vegetable oil you like, but our recipes are all catered towards the Mediterranean Diet, where the preferred oils are extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. I personally use a very mild tasting olive oil (Pompeian Smooth Tasting) and you can’t even detect any oil flavor in the muffin. Hope you continue experimenting with these and your family enjoys them!

  9. 5 stars
    These are full of moisture and popping with flavor. I love how hearty they are for breakfast. I used ground chia seed in place of the wheat germ and it may have altered the texture slightly, but the flavor is still wonderful! These are chock full of healthy fats and fiber!
    Next time I may try using some raising water in place of half the oil???

    • Veronique Eichler

      Glad you enjoyed them! If you want to replace some of the oil, I would use unsweetened applesauce instead of water. Let us know how it works out!

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