Oatmeal Zucchini Carrot Morning Glory Muffins: A Whole Grain Treat Low in Added Sugar

Here we are, halfway through September, and I just realized I’ve gone the entire summer without a single post on tackling the bane of many a gardener’s season: the pervasive, prodigious, ever-so-fertile zucchini.

Whether you’re a home gardener yourself or you have friends that grow, chances are at this time of the year you’re pretty burnt-out on this ubiquitous fruit (yes, it’s one of those vegetables, like tomato, that is technically a fruit). You’ve sautéed, stuffed, souped, and zucchini-breaded your way to near insanity for months, but they’re still coming at you…

Well, here I am with a new way to put the stuff to use! These Oatmeal Zucchini Carrot Morning Glory Muffins are a new take on one of my old favorites, a recipe I came up with to use cold oatmeal leftover from breakfast. (Pretty cool, right?) Low in added sugars and chock-full of hearty ingredients, these muffins are portable, kid-friendly, health-minded, and delicious.

For those of you unfamiliar with morning glory muffins, they’re similar in flavor to carrot cake. In fact, some of the ones I’ve had in the past are so sweet I’d pretty much consider them cake. Now don’t get me wrong, cake is A-OK in my book once in a while, but most of the time these days I’m looking for something healthier, especially when I need a filling snack to keep myself or my kiddo sustained between school and all the extracurricular activity in the fall.

These babies are power-packed with zucchini, carrots, pineapple, nuts, seeds, and coconut. (Raisins, a traditional add-in, are optional.) And since you’re using leftover oatmeal to form the base of the muffins, you only have to add a little additional flour to hold them together. Also, though it’s hard to dry out these muffins to begin with, the cooked oats add an extra layer of wonderful moisture and texture.

In the future I suggest that whenever you make oatmeal, divide any leftovers into ¾-cup portions and freeze the portions in individual bags or containers. This way, the next time you feel like whipping up a dozen of these beauties, all you have to do is pull from the freezer. And for those of you awash in zucchini, you can shred the extras and freeze them in 1–2 cup portions for use throughout the winter—in recipes just like this. :)

Oatmeal Zucchini Carrot Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 12–15 muffins
Prep time: 10–15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Muffin pan or pans to hold 12–15 muffins
12–15 muffin liners


Butter or vegetable oil for lining muffin pans
1 cup packed shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrots
2 large eggs
¼ cup coconut sugar, rapadura, or dark brown molasses sugar
¾ cup finely diced pineapple
¾ cup melted butter or unrefined neutral-tasting vegetable oil, such as peanut or light (untoasted) sesame oil
¾ cup leftover oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, keifer, or milk
1¼ cups einkorn, whole wheat pastry, or oat flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup raisins, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a muffin pan or pans (enough to hold 12–15 muffins) with butter or oil and line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, whisk together zucchini, carrots, eggs, sugar, pineapple, melted butter or oil, leftover oatmeal, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently mix until everything is almost incorporated. Add walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and raisins if using. Gently fold the ingredients in until the batter is completely mixed.
  3. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill muffin liners with batter until each liner is just full. Bake muffins in the center of the oven until cooked through (the muffins should spring back in the center, and a toothpick inserted should come out clean), about 30 minutes total. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Image from Briana Goodall. 

Briana Goodall, CPC

Briana Goodall is Chef and Owner of Green Cuisine Personal Chef Service. Visit her website at www.mygreencuisine.com.

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