These Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins are perfect for an easy grab-and-go breakfast or snack! Kid-friendly, added veggies and packed with fiber and protein. And, no, you can’t even taste the lentils!
Breakfast is kind of a big deal in my house. Not only is it the first meal of the day (obvs!), but it is also the one my family tends to “bulk up ” at. Meaning, its is the meal that they tend to eat the most at. I think everyone has a “bulk up” meal (you’re thinking about which one is your’s aren’t you 😉?) and my crew’s is definitely breakfast. I have found that if they (any myself) start their day with a light breakfast, it sets the tone for a day constant snacking, hangries and just being a grump in general.
So, for everyone’s sake…I try to have some easy breakfast options on hand that serve up so serious fuel to make the start of the day filling and everyone a bit happier.
And these vegan carrot muffins (with lentils!) have become a quick favorite in our house. I love that there is tons of protein and fiber in these wholesome muffins, along with a healthy dose of veggies. And just to make things fun, I add a few chocolate chips into the mix because…well, chocolate
Now, before you freak out about the idea of lentils IN a sweet baked good, I pinky promise that you don’t taste the lentils. Trust me…both of my kid, husband and friends ate them and pretty much begged for more.…always a promising sign that you have made something delicious. So this is an easy way to boost the fiber and protein content of your muffins.
Health benefits of lentils
Lentils are part of the legume family right there with beans and come in lots of different colors. For this particular recipe, I used green lentils since they are cheap, easy to find and work in lots of different recipes (try my Instant Pot/ slow cooker Lentil Soup).
Not only are lentils inexpensive and versatile, but they also pack a serious nutritious punch. They are packed with goodness like… (source)
- B vitamins
How to cook lentils
I opt to buy and cook my lentils from dry because they are way cheaper that way and pretty low fuss to cook.
Like all legumes, I prefer to soak my lentils in water overnight to help them be easier on the digestion and cause less bloating (and gas!). However, if legumes don’t make you “musical” in the bathroom, you can opt to skip the soaking process and go straight for cooking.
- To cook lentils for this recipe on the stove top, cover the lentils with water in a pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the lentil simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and let them cool a bit before adding to the recipe.
- To cook lentils for this recipe in the Instant Pot, combine 1/3 cup dry lentils with 1 1/2 cups water. Cook on HIGH pressure for 9 minutes (it will take about 5-6 minutes for your IP to reach pressure). Quick release the pressure once cook time is up. Drain and let the lentils cool a bit before adding to the recipe.
- To cook lentils for this recipe in your slow cooker or crockpot, combine the 1/3 cup dry lentils with 2-3 cups of water and cook on LOW for 4 hours or on HIGH for 2 hours (depending on slow cooker). Drain and let cool before adding to the recipe.
- Skip the dry lentils and buy precooked lentils! I find them in the fridge or freezer section of many health focused grocery stores!
Wondering how to store your carrots so they stay fresh as long as possible? Check out my post on How to Keep Cut Carrots Fresh and get the most out of your produce buck!
- Make them gluten free. Sub the whole wheat flour with your favorite 1:1 gluten free flour blend! I like Bob’s Red Mills blend.
- Egg-free not important? If you don’t need these muffins to be vegan, replace the water and flax meal in this recipe with 2 large eggs.
- Dairy-free not important? Again, this these muffins look like something you need in your life but them being vegan isn’t important to your crew, use whatever milk your family enjoys or has on hand!
- Skip the chocolate chips. And enjoy these as is!
- Replace chocolate chips with raisins or chopped nuts. Or whatever else you can dream up!
- Replace the mashed banana with unsweetened applesauce. If you can’t do bananas, don’t like bananas or just don’t have any one hand…this sub works like a dream.
If you love these vegan carrot muffins, here are some other veggie-loaded vegan recipes
- Strawberry Beet Instant Pot Applesauce
- Carrot Apple Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
- Fudgy Beet Gluten Free Brownies (vegan)
- Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Instant Pot Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Did you try this veggie-loaded muffin recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
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Vegan Carrot Muffins (with lentils!)
- 2 tbsp ground flax meal
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 cup mashed banana or sub with unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup cooked and cooled green lentils about 1/3 cup dry. See above for cooking suggestions
- 1/4 cup oil I use coconut oil or avocado
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or your favorite milk of choice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or date syrup Sub honey* if vegan is not needed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated carrot
- chocolate chips** to taste and optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 ℉ and line a 12-hole muffin tin with liners. Set aside
- Combine flax meal and water in a small bowl and let it sit for about 5 minutes to let it "gel". This will form a "flax egg" and work as a binding agent in the muffins.
- After the "flax egg" has has a chance to gel, add it to a blender along with the maple syrup/ date syrup, banana, lentils, oil, vinegar, almond milk, and vanilla.
- Blend until mixture is smooth.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and process until just mixed. DO NOT over mix. Over-mixing can result in dense muffins. If you aren't sure your blender can handle the dry ingredients, dump the blender contents into a bowl with dry ingredients and mix by hand.
- Finally, fold in grated carrots and chocolate chips (if using).
- Portion batter into prepared muffin tin and top with extra chocolate chips if desired.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy and let cool completely and store leftovers in an air-tight container in fridge or freezer.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
Yum! Could you also add spinach or kale to these for some added greens??
I haven’t tried but I bet you could! I’d probably cut back the carrots to 3/4 cup and do a handful or two of spinach…just so there isn’t too much moisture
I can’t wait to make these! Would they work with zucchini instead of carrot? Thanks!
I think it would, but I haven’t tried it yet! Be sure to squeeze as much moisture out of zucchini as you can before adding it to the muffin batter! Zucchini is a much wetter veggie than carrots
Could you use coconut or almond flour?
I haven’t tried it with almond or coconut flour. But it if you are looking for grain-free muffins along the same lines, try this recipe! I does have eggs and no lentils, however.
So good!! I will make sure i always make extra lentils for this.
I’m so glad you loved them!
Made these with gf flour and OH MAN, so good! Probably the fluffiest, gluten free AND vegan muffin I’ve made. Kids loved them
Does it need to be green lentils or are other lentils ok?
I used green lentils and bet brown lentils would work too. Red lentils tend to be much softer and I’m not sure if it would make the muffins mushy or not
Amazing! Loving the lentils and super excited to try with raisins next time for a more carrot cake feel 😉
We have been making these on repeat here! And yes to the raisins!
These are seriously so good! You can’t taste the lentils at all but they give the muffins such a perfect texture. My 3 year old daughter loves them and I’ve shared the recipe with a ton friends! I need to make more ASAP!
Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed! I love that the lentils boost the protein and fiber of the muffins but, like you said, they totally disappear into the muffins!
Hi! Super excited to try these. I don’t have white whole wheat flour, but have whole wheat flour. Can I use that instead?
Hi Christa! You can do 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour in place of the white whole wheat.
We are not egg-free, but with the current circumstances (covid), we are rationing our eggs (we LOVE eggs) and this was the perfect recipe to try out! I made it exactly as written, but omitted the chocolate chips. Honestly, I was skeptical…but they were so, SO good. My husband and 2 year old daughter agreed — we had them as a special treat with dinner tonight, but I think they would also be perfect for breakfast! THANK YOU!
YES! I get the being skeptical. I mean, lentils in muffins?? But they totally disappear. And I am so glad that you are finding ways to still bake with what you have on hand during this season of weird.
Made these last night for a quick snack for my baby. I cut down on the oil and used only 2 TBL of date paste. I also added about 1/2 cup grated zucchini which I squeezed all the juice out of.
He LOVES them, my husband and I also shared one and they are delicious. I should have baked mine a little longer but still delicious. Thank you!
I am so glad they were a hit, Andrea! Love the addition of the zucchini!
Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.
If you soak your lentils overnight, would just soak the amount required for the recipe and then cook them? I’m new to soaking overnight and have never tried lentils before so I want to try to make sure they are easier to digest for myself and the kids. Thank you!
Yes! That is what I would do!
Thank you! They are in the oven right now! I am excited to see how they turn out. 🙂
Do you squeeze any of the liquid out of the grated carrot?
I do not.
Great recipe! I’ve made it many times and my toddler loves it! Today I used shredded apple instead of banana (we have so many apples from apple picking!) and it worked great!!
Such a great swap! Thanks for sharing and I am glad they are such a hit!
Hi Taesha ,
I have been browsing your veggie loaded recipes and i was wondering what would you suggest to use in stead of coconut oil? I am looking to make muffins for my super lean 10 year old and trying to gain him some weight 😬
He loves the couchette and carrot muffins, was looking to make a different recipe next time for variety.
Hi Besiana! Any oil that you prefer will work fine in pretty much all of my recipes as long as they are melted or in liquid form (unless otherwise specified). Are you avoiding coconut oil due to allergy or taste preference?
My Paleo muffin recipes are a bit higher in protein and healthy fats since they are made with almond flour or coconut flour. Perhaps he would like those? They are not vegan (if that is needed), however.
Thank you for replying 🙂
He is in a gluten free diet , and just trying to put a lot of fat in the bites … he is also a picky eater and a small eater on top of all. He gets full with very little food . I have won the lottery with this combination 🙄
These are SO good!!! I made them tonight (following the recipe exactly) to have quick healthy breakfasts on hand, but we ended up trying them for dessert – myself, my husband and two kids (age 2 and 5) all loved them!
That is so great to hear!
These are so great!!! I ended up using canned chickpeas instead (since it’s faster and all I had), and ground oatmeal instead of flour. My 3 toddlers inhaled them! They taste like desert!! These will be in our regular rotation now for breakfast. Thank you!!!
I’ve made these muffins a bunch of times. I have made them exactly as your recipe shows, but have also tried a few adaptions in case others were interested (but not paleo). GF flour works perfectly. I’ve been using 1 egg instead of flax egg. I squeeze out the carrots and mix about 1/2 c into batter at end. While mixing, I throw in a big handful of spinach. Today, I ran out of milk so used ~4 T of vanilla greek yogurt and a teaspoon of sweetened condensed coconut milk (it happened to be open). I did not use any other sweetener. I even used some cocoa nibs with some chocolate chips. The other time saver is to buy the pre-cooked lentils at TJ! Thanks, Taesha!
I always love when you make my recipes, MKB, and so appreciate you taking the time to leave a review! I know your adaptations will be helpful to others!
Would oatmeal (oat flour) work as a sub for the white flour ?
I have tried it with oat flour and found the muffins to be a bit too heavy and dense for my liking.
These were delicious! I used spelt and oat flour, red lentils, and of course added chocolate chips. Definitely making again.
I’m so glad to hear that, k!
Hi Taesha 🙂
Sorry for silly question.
Which flour I can use instead of “white whole wheat flour”? I tried to use wholemeal flour, but – for example – muffins don’t taste nice and last time they landed in my bin.
You can use all-purpose flour!
Hello! I’ve made this recipe (as written) several times and love them! I only make modifications to use what I have on hand to avoid food waste. I used two eggs instead of flax eggs, used 1 cup grated/squeezed zucchini instead of carrot and applesauce instead of banana (as you suggest) and baked as muffins for 22 minutes. I did have extra batter which I placed in ramekins and baked along side the muffin tin. Muffins came out delicious as always! Thank you for sharing such easy, enjoyable recipes💕
I am so glad, Minda!
What if you don’t have muffin tins? Can you use the batter as a loaf? And cook it say 55 to 60 minutes?
I haven’t tried it as a loaf but I bet it would work! And I would say 50-55 minutes.
Didn’t work unfortunately.
Oh boo! Did it fall? Thanks for sharing the results.
Hay I made these …. Only problem I hd was they tasted very strong of bicarbonate soda ! Followed the recipe , any idea how to fix this next time ?! Thanks 🙂 x
Interesting! I use that amount of baking soda often in recipes and don’t run into that at all and no one else who has made these has mentioned that issue…. Silly question, but are you sure you didn’t accidentally put a tablespoon in instead of a a teaspoon? If you are sure, then I would also check to make sure your soda is still good. That ingredient goes bad (something a lot of people don’t realize) and that can have a funny impact on baked goods.
Very delicious! Our only “issue” was that they did stick considerably to the liners, so I’d grease them next time.
So glad you enjoyed! And yes, since I use less oil in my recipes than a traditional muffin, sometimes sticking can occur depending on your liner. I find If You Care parchment paper liners or silicone liners to be awesome. Or greasing!
Either way, glad they were a success
I have been trying desperately to include more lentils in my daughter’s diet as she’s refusing any meat or seafood. I used 1 c whole wheat flour, 1/4 c almond flour & 1/4 c oatmeal. I used 1/2 c applesauce & 1/2 c banana. I used 1/4 c cashew kefir. I used 2 eggs as my daughter has an egg allergy & we are introducing baked egg. Also added raisins no chocolate chips. This was delicious! Moist & not too sweet. Highly recommend!
Personally I like the recipe as is… However, my 4 year old said “it’s not even a little sweet, I can’t eat this” and refused another bite more. They’re good, but next time I’ll add another tablespoon or two of syrup for a sweeter taste.
Thanks for the honest feedback! This recipe can handle it if you bump up the sweetener to 1/3 of a cup and I would probably suggest if someone opts to omit the chocolate chips!
Great recipe. Very fluffy texture. I added 42 grams of raisins, one of those little snack box things. Had very ripe bananas. Added 1/2 tsp nutmeg. 2tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract. The lentils are totally disguised.
I love the way the lentils disappear into the batter! So glad you liked them as much as we do, Catherine! Love the additions.
Delicious! I modified the recipe by swapping out whole wheat flour for oat flour, adding more carrots and more lentis, and by using an egg (for more protein, since im not vegan) I also added some hemp hearts for omega 3 & protein as well as a little textural difference.
They came out amazing, highly recommend this recipe!! thanks for the amazing idea of adding lentils to muffins 🙂
Wonderful swaps and additions, Lydia! So glad you enjoyed them and I deeply appreciate you taking the time to leave a review!
These muffins are amazing. I used homemade apple sauce rather than the banana and they turned out so moist and delicious. My 19 month old cannot get enough of them! Love the hidden lentils- such a great addition for protein. Will definitely be making again. Thank you!
So happy to hear this, Bek! Glad you enjoy them as much as we do!