Umm, you guys… I did something weird. I mean, I do strange things all the time, like put my jeans in the dryer on high heat intentionally, but this was especially strange, even for me.
Yeah. I put spinach and banana together in a muffin.
In my defense, though, I wasn’t the first or only person to think about doing this. Sometimes, my mind puts together some pretty unusual combinations of ingredients… but, in every case so far, a Google search has proved that someone else has put those ingredients together before in one form or another. So when I Googled “spinach and banana recipes,” I wasn’t surprised (okay, maybe I was, a little bit…) when I found a whole bunch of recipes for muffins containing both the leafy green and the super-sweet fruit.
Why was I Googling spinach and banana in the first place? Hmm. Well, I had big plans for spinach week… I was thinking of fancy frittatas, or spiffed-up-with-spinach grilled cheese sandwiches, or maybe spinach chips (like kale chips, but probably better, since spinach is amazing, and kale, for some reason, kind of freaks me out).
But it’s busy season at work (11- and sometimes 12-hour days!), and I really only have time to make one legit thing each week. And I had bananas on the counter that were seriously on their way out… so I already had plans to make banana nut muffins when spinach week came around. Aaand… I was not about to cancel those plans in favor of some spinach-dominated health food. So instead, I thought, “Is there any way I can put the spinach and banana together, and make something wonderful?”
Enter spinach-speckled banana-nut muffins.
It’s pretty hard to explain the appeal of these… It’s weird, because I actually liked them, a lot, and I would definitely make them again, but NOT to replace a straight-up banana muffin. Almost every blogger that posted a recipe for spinach and banana muffins had the same claim… “I promise, you won’t taste the spinach! These taste EXACTLY like an indulgent awesome dessert banana muffin!” Well, imma burst some bubbles here: They don’t taste like an indulgent awesome dessert banana muffin. I don’t know if my spinach was especially flavorful, or if perhaps I was a little heavy-handed in my measuring out of said spinach… but I could definitely taste it in the muffin. Funny thing, though, is that I thought that was good!
I’ll apologize for being so bad at describing what the spinach adds to these guys… they just taste like a slightly… greener muffin? Yeah, I don’t know. All I know is they made a yummy breakfast for the four days they lasted. (Relax; there were only six muffins in the batch.)
Oh, and to burst one more bubble: Don’t make these thinking they’re “healthy” ’cause they have spinach in them… at least not as I made them. Really, they’re just muffins… normal, sugar-laden, sweet, and dense muffins. Everyone’s all like, “It’s so great to sneak greens into your baked goods!” But you’re getting, what, a fraction of an ounce of spinach per muffin? Negligible nutritional value. Sorry 😥 !
So. Best thing ever? Nope. Unique recipe worth trying? I sure think so. If you like both spinach and bananas, give these a shot!
Spinach and Banana Muffins
Not too many notes on these. You could healthify these quite a bit if you follow the original recipes I adapted them from! I don’t have any of those fancy healthy baking ingredient alternatives on hand, though, so I can only speak for how these turn out with stuff like a-p flour and brown sugar. And that is pretty darn good.
P.S. The original recipe had yogurt in it, but I replaced it with a banana ’cause I wanted more banana flavor.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a muffin pan by buttering it or by using cupcake liners.
2. In a big old bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (Full disclosure: I never sift. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I just throw everything into a bowl and whisk it together.)
3. In another bowl, whisk the sugar and egg together, and then add the banana, oil, and lemon zest, and whisk the whole mixture until well-combined. (Add the yogurt together with the banana, oil, and lemon zest if you decide to use it. Ooh, maybe you could even use banana yogurt for more banana flavor?! Options!)
4. In a food processor (good thing I bought one for the chickpea fritters I made!), blend the spinach leaves until they pretty much look like a spinach puree.
5. Add the pureed spinach and the walnuts to the muffin batter, leaving some walnuts aside to top the muffins with, if you wish.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, and top with the rest of the walnuts.
7. Place the muffin pan on a rack in the middle of the oven, and bake the muffins for 25 minutes.
8. Remove the muffins, and let them cool! I actually think these are better at room temperature.