This recipe was originally published in July 2015. It has been updated as of May 2020 with new pictures, updated text, and improvements to the recipe.
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 a strange combination when we usually see recipes that utilise berries to sweeten up naturally tart rhubarb, because it’s not as though you can pick rhubarb and then go around the corner to the closest banana tree.
But it works! 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 – don’t expect tooth-achingly sweet, and eat them for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
They’re 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. I know it seems like a weird combination but trust! These are really good!
- Non-dairy milk
- Light tasting oil (olive, grape seed, avocado)
- Two overripe bananas
- Spelt flour
- Coconut sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- A couple stalks of rhubarb
Mash or blend the bananas with the milk and oil, then add the dry ingredients and mix it all up. One bowl! Stir in the rhubarb, bake for about 20 minutes, and you’re done.
As always with a quick bread, especially with lower gluten flours like spelt, don’t over mix! Gently mix until just combined, no further, and carefully fold the rhubarb in to avoid chewy muffins.
As you can see in the above step-by-step photos, I used my immersion blender to mix the bananas. It’s fast and makes for a very smooth muffin batter without banana chunks. In my banana bread I love some banana pieces, but I find these muffins are better with the banana very well mixed – you can mash it with a fork if you like, though.
So as you can see in the ingredient shot above, my bananas clearly weren’t overripe. It’s a struggle! Graham uses a couple every day in his smoothie so we go through them so quickly that it’s hard to leave them long enough to ripen properly. As long as they’re ripe – not green – your bananas will be good, but spotty and brown is better.
As with any rhubarb recipe, pink rhubarb is going to make for a prettier muffin. It doesn’t affect taste, though, so if your rhubarb is green they’re be just as good.
Due to the high fruit content here, the muffins are best eaten quickly or stored in a cool place. We usually eat them all within a couple of days, but they’ll keep well in the fridge for several days and can be frozen.
You can use either whole grain spelt, light spelt, or a mix of the two here. I usually go for all whole grain because I’ll eat them for breakfast, but both work well.
As usual, all-purpose or white flour can be used in place of spelt. Since these muffins use whole grain or light spelt, you could also use whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour. I haven’t tried making them gluten-free.
Any liquid oil that’s mild in taste can be used. I really only every use olive oil but whatever you have will be fine. Melted coconut oil will make for very dense muffins after cooling so I don’t recommend it.
Oat milk is my go-to but any lighter non-dairy milk (like a nut milk or coconut milk in a carton) will work. Canned full-fat coconut milk is a no go. And if dairy isn’t a problem for you, of course dairy milk will work too.
More Rhubarb Recipes
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Rhubarb Banana Muffins
- 250 ml non-dairy milk
- 60 ml light-tasting oil ex. grape seed
- 2 overripe bananas
- 300 grams spelt flour*
- 100 grams coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 stalks rhubarb about 1 1/2 cups, finely chopped, plus more for topping
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F) and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with coconut oil or line it with paper muffin liners.
- Add the milk and oil to a large bowl and mash or blend the bananas to combine.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until just combined with a wooden spoon, being careful not to over mix.
- Carefully stir the chopped rhubarb into the batter. Once it’s evenly incorporated, measure equal amounts of batter into each muffin cup.
- Top each muffin with a few more pieces of rhubarb (optional), and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins for about 10 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling fully on a rack. Store the muffins up to 3-4 days in a cool place, or freeze in a sealed container.