Every year when rhubarb season starts, my mom reminisces about the rhubarb and banana jam her best friend made when they were children. It seems like an odd combination when we usually see recipes that utilize berries to sweeten up naturally tart rhubarb. It's not as though you can pick rhubarb and then go around the corner to the closest banana tree. It works, though. Overripe bananas are sweet enough to balance everything out without using a truckload of sugar, and the rhubarb shines through it. These aren't cupcakes, baby. Don't expect tooth-achingly sweet, and eat them for breakfast. I'm going to pretend I didn't just have one (my third today) for dessert with rhubarb curd.
These muffins are tender, easy to throw together, and vegan to boot. The addition of bananas in the batter helps reduce the need for oil and sweetener, so they're pretty low in both. If you can't get rhubarb, you can always use something else in its place. I think the season is already done by this time in many areas. I did see strawberries today at a roadside stand, but we didn't pick any up because the farmer said he had sprayed them a few times to keep them from forming weird faces. Funny looking produce tastes just as good - embrace it!
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 cup finely chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup grape seed oil*
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 overripe bananas, mashed
Preheat your oven to 375F/190C and grease or line a muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and flax. Stir in the rhubarb (coating it in flour helps keep it from sinking in the batter).
In another dish, whisk the maple syrup, oil, milk, and vanilla. Stir in the bananas.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. A couple streaks of flour are fine.
Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool completely before storing. Keep them in the fridge if your house is very warm.
You can use any kind of light tasting oil in place of grape seed. Organic canola, sunflower, safflower, even coconut would be fine. Coconut oil would make them a little more dense.