Every year when rhubarb season starts, my mom reminisces about the rhubarb and banana jam her best friend made when they were children. It’s a surprising mix because we usually see recipes that utilise berries to sweeten up naturally tart rhubarb, and 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.
Banana rhubarb 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. I know it seems like a strange combination but trust – these are really good!
For some more rhubarb inspiration, take a peek at these healthy rhubarb recipes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Spelt flour: as usual, all-purpose white or whole wheat flour can be used in place of spelt. I haven’t tried making them gluten-free, but this gluten-free banana bread makes great muffins and you could sub rhubarb for the chocolate.
- Oil: 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.
- Milk: 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 not good here. If dairy isn’t a problem for you, of course dairy milk will work too.
- Coconut sugar: cane sugar can be used to replace the coconut, but will add a less caramel-like flavour.
Step by Step
1. Mix wet ingredients: use an immersion blender, standing blender, or mash well with a fork.
2. Add dry ingredients: stir in the dry ingredients, then gently fold the rhubarb through the batter.
3. Portion the batter: scoop the batter into prepared muffin cups and top with extra rhubarb.
4. Bake: bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, or until they pass a skewer test.
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 smoothies 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 muffins 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.
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 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.
How to Store
Storage: due to the high fruit content, the muffins are best eaten quickly or stored in a cool place. They’ll keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled muffins to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
- Don’t over mix: 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.
- Bake on the centre rack: if you don’t have a fan-forced oven, be sure to bake these right in the middle of the oven so that they cook evenly. If there’s too much heat coming from the top, the rhubarb topping will burn as well.
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.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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.