Chocolate Banana Almond Flour Muffins with Chia Seeds Recipe (Gluten-free & Passover Friendly) | Pamela Salzman & Recipes Skip to content

Chocolate Banana Almond Flour Muffins with Chia Seeds Recipe (Gluten-free & Passover Friendly)

Chocolate Banana Chia Seed Muffins with Almond Flour | Pamela Salzman

There’s a new (but not really new) diet in town which everyone is talking about called the Paleolithic Diet or Paleo, for short.  Sometimes it’s referred to as the Caveman or Hunter-Gatherer Diet and it focuses on the foods humans ate pre-industrial agriculture.  The idea is that our bodies recognize certain foods and haven’t evolved to recognize other newer foods so we should stick to what was eaten during the Paleolithic time to be healthy and fit.  The diet allows lean grass-fed and pastured meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, coconut, avocado and healthy fats.  Easy, right?  But the diet does not allow anything processed or refined (like sugar, flour, packaged food), or any grains (wheat, rice, barley, etc.), legumes (beans, lentils), dairy, potatoes or processed oils.  I am not encouraging or discouraging this diet, which I think has its pros and cons, but merely giving a quick explanation since I’ve received a few questions about it recently.

all the dry ingredients

As I have noticed more and more people limiting gluten and grains, I have also noticed the increased popularity and use of almond flour, which is finely milled blanched almonds.  Almonds, like all nuts and seeds, are gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.  Whereas nuts and seeds, generally speaking, can be slightly acid-forming, almonds are alkalizing.

I love Medjool dates!  Dice them when they're cold -- much easier.

A few years ago I found Elana Amsterdam’s great gluten-free website, www.elanaspantry.com, which I think started the almond flour revolution.  Elana has since turned paleo, and all her newer recipes follow those guidelines.  It’s really because of her website that I was inspired to experiment with almond flour and although I have had mixed results, overall I think it’s awesome once I figured out how to work with it.  I think it’s great to add some variety to our diet and I love getting some extra protein into Mr. Picky.  Almond flour also comes in handy around Passover, 8 days of no grains or legumes, except Matzoh which can start to get a tad boring after a few days.

Add dates to combined dry ingredients

I had a really delicious Chocolate Banana Chia Seed muffin at Le Pain Quotidian last year or the year before and I was intent on duplicating it.   The muffin was moist with the perfect amount of sweetness and I loved the crunch from the chia seeds.  They were kind enough to tell me the ingredients (although not the exact recipe) and I made a tasty version at home with whole wheat pastry flour and maple syrup.  The kids thought they were great!  When I tried using almond flour in place of the wheat flour, we all went crazy for them.  The almond flour version of the muffin was the best — super moist, chocolaty and a little denser, but in a good way.  Now when I make these muffins, I always use almond flour!

it's good to break up the date pieces

pour in the wet mixture

Before you start substituting almond flour one-for-one for wheat flour, stop right there.  It isn’t a perfect substitution.  Almond flour has no gluten, but does contain way more fat than wheat flour so there are a few adjustments to be made.  I would stop by Elana’s Pantry for a quick lesson on how almond flour works.  I also have found that specifically labeled “almond flour” is better than “almond meal” (like Bob’s Red Mill.)  Per Elana, I started buying almond flour from Honeyville Grain, which has a very good, fresh product and a very reasonable shipping fee ($4.50 flat rate.

fold in the mashed banana

batter with the mashed bananas

These muffins are not technically Paleo due to the yogurt, although if you can find an unsweetened almond milk yogurt, that would work here.  Or you can try making these without the yogurt and just add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, although I have never done it and can’t guarantee the results.  I’m really posting these as a great gluten-free, Happy Passover muffin, although I make these all year.  In fact I made these recently and Daughter #2 had a few friends over and they inhaled half the batch in 2 minutes.  (I’m telling you, if you want the kids to hang out at your house, you need FOOD.)  To make this more of a dessert, you can certainly substitute chocolate chips for the diced dates.  The chia seeds are fun and obviously nutritious, but there’s less than 1 teaspoon per muffin so it’s not a dealbreaker if you want to omit them.

using an ice cream scoop makes this easy

ready for the oven

As always, I love hearing about your experiments in the kitchen and would especially be interested to know about your experience with almond flour or your favorite Passover treats.  Once again, I’m on dessert duty for Passover and I’m getting busy right now.  This weekend I will be making loads of Macaroons, both plain and dipped in chocolate, the Lemon Ice Torte which I have been making since 1991, and a raw cashew “cheesecake” which I will have to share another time.  There is also a recipe on my site for a (vegan) Coconut Tart with Strawberries which is perfect for Passover and Easter.  Lots of delicious options!

also delicious warm out of the oven!

Chocolate Banana Almond Flour Muffins with Chia Seeds
Author: 
Serves: makes 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal – I use Honeyville)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds + 1 Tablespoon for muffin tops
  • ½ cup diced pitted dates, about 7 dates (easier to dice when they’re cold) (optional, or ½ cup chocolate chips)
  • 4 Tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 4 Tablespoons whole unsweetened yogurt
  • ⅓ cup 100% pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with unbleached parchment liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and 2 Tablespoons chia seeds.  Add dates and break up pieces so they don’t stick together.
  3. In a blender, combine coconut oil, yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Pour wet mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in mashed bananas.
  5. Divide the batter into the prepared pan.  (An ice cream scoop makes this job easy.)  Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out  clean.

 

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Comments

51 Comments

  1. I make these muffins all the time (with both dates and chocolate chips, of course). I just made them with non-dairy yogurt and they are exactly the same in every respect. Yay!

    • Yay! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi,
    If I skip the maple syrup but use the dates for sweetness will this work as to consistency? I recently made your yummy carrot banana muffins with almond flour and dates and they were a little too sweet for me. My husband loves them but I’d like to make these as least sweet as possible without being bitter. Any suggestions? Leave out dates or maple syrup? Also I can sub cacao for cocoa right?
    Thanks as always!

    • If you are used to not-sweet desserts, then you can try leaving out the maple syrup. These muffins are already very moist so they should hold up well even without the moisture from the maple syurp. I haven’t tried it this way, so I can’t tell you for sure how they would turn out!

      • To follow up on that question…would cacao be okay in lieu of cocoa powder? I know the swap isn’t always 1:1.

        • You can make that swap 1-to-1 here. 🙂

  3. I love these! I didn’t have yogurt and used 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar instead and they turned out perfectly!

    • Ooooh! Good to know! Thanks, Lauren!

  4. Hi there, can I use whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe?

    • You can’t sub gluten flours and nut flours one-for-one with each other. If you’d like to use whole wheat pastry flour, try this and able the muffins for 25 minutes:
      1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
      ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
      ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
      2 Tablespoons of chia seeds + 1 Tablespoon for muffin tops
      ½ cup diced pitted dates (optional, or ½ cup chocolate chips)
      6 Tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
      6 Tablespoons whole unsweetened yogurt
      1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
      2 large eggs (or 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed + 6 Tablespoons warm water – allow to sit for 15 minutes before adding to batter)
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed

  5. Hi Pamela. I’ve just discovered your website – hooray!
    My 4 year old daughter and I have just had lots of fun making these – they’re still in the oven at the moment, but the house is smelling amazing! I’ll let you know how they turn out… I’m coeliac, so always happy to find recipes that I can eat and that my daughter WILL eat that aren’t full of processed junk.
    One question – how long will these keep for? Do they need to be kept in the fridge or will they be okay for a few days in tupperware in the pantry?
    Thanks
    Harriet

    • Great! They will be fine for 2-3 days in tupperware, but they are also great refrigerated. If the weather is warm by you, I wouldn’t leave them more than 2 days out of the fridge.

  6. Hi Pamela!
    If I only have whole wheat pastry flour and coconut flour (can not do almond due to my daughter’s nut allergy) which flour would you recommend and would the measurement change? Thank you! Looking forward to this months’ class!!

    • I don’t love coconut flour on its own. You need to use so many eggs and then the muffin tastes egg-y. Here’s what I would do: I would take my blueberry-banana bread recipe and swap out 1/4 cup of the whole wheat pastry flour for cocoa powder and sub diced dates for the blueberries and add in the chia seeds. I bet it will turn out delicious! Here’s the other recipe: https://pamelasalzman.com/blueberry-banana-spelt-bread-recipe-gluten-free-version-too/

      • They turned out so great, thank you!

  7. I tried these this past weekend and although they tasted really good, the muffin top fell flat after removing from the oven. Not sure what I did wrong or maybe it was supposed to be that way (I just noticed the tops haven’t risen in the pictures posted above as well). That definitely didn’t impact the taste, just the appearance.

    On another note, Pamela, do you do a calorie count of your recipes? It’ll be really nice to know the calories per serving. I had a lot of my friends asking me that when they tried these muffins & the banana date bread – they refused to believe that these are healthier than the bakery bought goodies since they tasted so good 🙂

    • It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong! Almond flour muffins don’t really rise. Mine in the picture are kind of flat. I don’t do calories counts on my blog, mostly because I don’t count calories or fat grams myself. These muffins are much higher quality than what you can buy in a bakery because the ingredients are all unrefined and unprocessed. That’s not to say this is a low-fat muffin, though. But then again, I don’t think low fat = healthy or healthier. Glad you’ve been having fun baking!

  8. Hello, My name is Jacob,
    I am 11 years old. My mother has attempted to make mmuffins. The resut however was disasterous. Then I tried to make them me and my mom worked together and we had a total success. They were verry sweet satisfing and great tasting. I really liked your recipe alot. The entrepenuer,

    Jacob

    • Hello Jacob! Nice to hear from you. 🙂 It sounds like you have good instincts in the kitchen! I enjoyed reading your note and I am so pleased you liked the muffin recipe. Let me know if you’d like any suggestions for what to make next time! xo, Pamela

  9. Hello! I know this is an older post; however, I wanted to say thank you for a base recipe for almond flour muffins. I adapted the recipe for my need of “baby” (finger food loving 10 month old) friendly muffins. I used applesauce in place of yogurt (dairy free and out of coconut yogurt) and honey/syrup (baby under a year). I was worried that the muffins would be too moist with keeping the coconut oil, and adding applesauce, so I added one additional cup of almond flour and they were perfect (for us). I also used 1 T flax and 1 T chia, omitting the seeds on top for baby. I blended the bananas in my mini food processor along with the applesauce. I used my kitchenaid and paddle attachment to blend all ingredients and then baked for thirty minutes, per the original recipe instruction. The muffins did not rise a lot, which could have been due to applesauce or additional cup of almond flour, so next time I will fill the liners with more batter. The adapted recipe made 18 smaller muffins. Oh, to keep cholesterol down (baby and hubby already eat an egg every morning) I used 1 full egg and then one egg white. I also did banana as the base flavor (used 4 small bananas = 2 large bananas) and omitted the cocoa powder, plus I didn’t have any dates, and used dark chocolate chips instead (1/2 cup, maybe). Also, I completely omitted the vanilla (didn’t have any) and only used 1/4 t of salt (for baby). I understand that taste buds vary, so this was perfect for our family. Thank you again for sharing this recipe. It took a lot of the guess work out and allowed me to get creative: a dose of creativity + dark chocolate= happy baby, hubby, and momma! Just what my soul needed!

    • I just loved reading your comment! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with this recipe. I have to give you a lot of kudos because you came up with a whole new recipe! But just to clarify, you’re right about almond flour muffins not rising that much so you do need to fill up the cups. Happy baking!

  10. Can’t believe that I had never made these! Just made batch #3 for the week! SO DELICIOUS!

    • Better late than never! Sounds like you’re making up for lost time ;). Enjoy!

    • You know where I live….ha!

  11. I made these muffins for breakfast on a “snow day” this week. My kids loved them! My husband, who generally compares baked goods to cigarets, was willing to eat the muffins due to their paleo nature and really enjoyed them as well . I only had 2 bananas and 3 dates, and the muffins were sweet enough. Next time, when I have more bananas and dates, I will try reducing the maple syrup.
    This is a keeper in our home! Thank you for this great recipe!

    • Your comment made me crack up, ha! Glad they were approved by all. And always nice to hear that you enjoyed the recipe with less sweetener! Thanks!

  12. These are so delicious! I just started a fast from all refined sugar on the 13th, and this helped kill my craving without breaking my fast! I subbed coconut flour and added a scoop of protein powder. They’re a tad dry, but super good! Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂

    • Glad you liked them! Just for the next time, coconut flour isn’t a perfect one-for-one sub with any kind of flour. It is really heavy and absorbent, so that is definitely why these turned out a tad dry. Otherwise, these muffins are super moist. Scoop of protein powder is an awesome idea!

  13. These are delicious! I, too, swapped out flax for chia seeds. Many thanks, and I look forward to trying more recipes on this site.

    • Great to hear, Donna! Thank you and I can’t wait to hear what you make next!

  14. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I actually only had almond meal in my pantry so i sifted it and just used that. I also added 2 scoops of protein powder for extra boost of protein and used flaxseeds instead of chia seeds as thats all i had at the time. I omitted the dates. It turned out wonderful and i thank you so much for the inspiration!

    • What great substitutions! Thanks for sharing, Mai 🙂

  15. Made these last week– incredible. Seriously delicious, the best of the almond flour muffins I have made recently! My three year old loved them and so did I. Would the recipe work without banana? Would I need to substitute anything?

    • That’s so great to hear! If you take out the banana, you remove some sweetness and some moisture, so you just need to replace them. I haven’t made these without banana, but I wonder if you can sub a little applesauce and little extra maple syrup? I would start there. Let me know if you try the recipe without — very curious!

    • Banana also acts like gluten in baked goods, it keeps things together just like apple sauce. you could sub with other puree fruit or veg or even finely shredded.
      with muffins and quick breads use 1:1 ration of flour to liquid. liquid means cream,yogurt , milk and/or fruit or veg pure/shredded. and you wont go wrong.
      i’ve been gluten,yeast,dairy and sugar free for over a year now. i cant wait to try this recipe

      • I’m so grateful to have your input! Thank you so much for lending your expertise, Ioanna! 🙂

  16. I am planning to make theses muffins but I don’t eat chocolate. Would you suggest I substitute something for it or simply omit it? Also, for any of the non-dairy people who may have tried adding the apple cider vinegar, did they happen to mention if they used one or two teaspoonfuls as you suggested?
    Cari

    • You can substitute an equal amount of almond flour for the cocoa powder. I would go with 2 teaspoons of ACV. Let me know if you try it!

  17. Great. Thank you for writing that. I’ll definitely check to this site to see what’s new and recommend my acquaintenances about it.

  18. Hi Pamela,

    What can I substitute the yogurt with to keep the meal all dairy free?

    Thanks!

    • Have you ever used a non-dairy yogurt like coconut or almond? You can try that or perhaps drop the yogurt altogether and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I haven’t tried that, but I make other almond flour muffins without yogurt so I have a feeling it would work out, just not 100%.

  19. Hi Pamela,

    Is there anything I can substitute the yogurt with in order to keep the meal all dairy free?

    Thanks!

  20. I can’t eat dairy. Can you recommend a substitute for the yogurt?

    • I bet soy yogurt or coconut yogurt would work fine. If they’re already sweetened, you may want to cut back on the maple syrup a tad. But I mentioned in the post, that you might even be able to drop the yogurt and add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar. Let me know if you try it!

      • you could also sub the yogurt for coconut milk or soy milk and add a tbs or 2 of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

      • Ok,
        Just made them on 4 tbs of soy milk and 1tbs of lemon juice.
        Beautiful and rose well.

        • Fantastic! Great to hear.

  21. I love using almond flour and this is the one I currently am using at home. I mix it with oat flour in my recipes and it works beautifully as a substitute for wheat flour.

    • Thanks for your comment, Liz! If you check back here, please let me know do you do half oat flour and half almond flour substituted for an equal amount of wheat and no other adjustments? No xanthan gum or less fat? Totally curious!


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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