Sweet potato date muffins

The food court experience is a notoriously lousy one. It’s loud, rushed, wasteful and has limited options (if any at all) for the growing sector of citizens who are moving beyond the standard American diet. For years, Toronto’s famous Eaton Centre was no exception.

That is, until today.  Its new Urban Eatery offers a variety of menus, and although many SAD outlets are still included, the wholesome vegetarian and vegan options stand out. The most notable addition is vegan empire Urban Herbivore, a Kensington Market staple owned by chef Stephen Gardner, where organic salads, sandwiches with thick, homemade bread, curry bowls and hearty soups are offered to hungry shoppers looking to refuel with healthy fare.

Their salad bowl menu involves choosing your own greens, proteins and toppings from 30 vegan options that change daily. I wish I had this variety of choices available to me at home.

Did I forget to mention their legendary muffins? Dense and filling with a crunchy exterior, they’re unlike anything I’ve had before. I highly recommend the sweet potato date flavour. A quick Google search reveals that everyone and their sister are dreaming of replicating these delicious delights in their own kitchens.

Of course, after being tempted by those muffins on my recent visit to Urban Herbivore’s new location, I couldn’t help myself from dreaming up my own version. Although mine aren’t as ginormous in size, the flavour and texture had me reminiscing of early morning dates in Kensington with my new love. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Date Muffins | A Dash of Compassion

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Sweet potato date muffins

Yield: 8 muffins


  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup cooked, peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup sunflower or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup Sucanat
  • 1/4 cup date paste (I made my own)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a muffin tray with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the chopped dates in some warm water and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  4. Drain the dates from the soaking water and add them to the flour mixture along with the diced sweet potato. Gently mix to coat them with flour, separating the pieces that are sticking together. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, oil, Sucanat and date paste until well combined.
  6. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix just to combine. Spoon evenly into the muffin cups and bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.


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21 Responses to “Sweet potato date muffins”

  1. foodfeud — October 3, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Oh, those DO sound good and I'll send the recipe over to my sister ;)
    Sweet potato is so fun to bake with and it makes everything so moist. Yum.
    Also a really big fan of salad bar menus!

  2. ahimsablog — October 3, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I wish I had options like that in the food court at my mall!

  3. bodybynature.ca — October 3, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Urban Herb's Sweet Potato and Date muffins happen to be my favourite food in the world (I wish that was an exaggeration!)
    Thank you so much for recreating these and sharing!

  4. jess @ cupcakes and kale — October 3, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    these look incredibly yummy nicole! can you believe that i've never tasted the real thing? might not have to now… but who's kidding who, urban herbivore is definitely on my hit list for our next t.o. trip!

  5. Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan — October 3, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    i looove urban herbivore. We ate there a couple weeks ago and I was like "how can a place like this exist in a food court!" it's nonsense! we got the quinoa grain bowls. sooo good

  6. Miriam @ Sometimes I Veg — October 3, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    I think you are in cahoots with my mother to get me to come back to Canada. Toronto especially seems to have such incredible healthy options. American food courts still offer only absolute junk for the most part. However, New Hampshire's lack of vegetarian/vegan options keeps me eating at home a lot more and keeping more money in my pocket.

  7. GiGi — October 3, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    I definitely want to recreate your recreation. Great post and recipe!

  8. Alicia — October 3, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    I love Urban Herbivore! I've only been to the one at Kensington Market twice but I was so impressed both times. I didn't try a muffin though. Darn! Next time, I will definitely try your recommendation.

  9. Rachel — October 3, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

    Looks like a delicious muffin to me, whether or not it's a recreation of Toronto's best. I am definitely ready for some fall-flvored muffins like these!

  10. rachel — October 4, 2011 @ 1:15 am

    those muffins look great, i've never added sweet potato to a baked good before. i bet it's delicious!

  11. Fayinagirl (means Free One) — October 4, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    I used to make muffins for my kids almost every day when they were little. I'd forgotten how lovely and simple they are. Now I'm inspired. :-)

  12. Nicole — October 5, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    foodfeud: So glad you like it! Sweet potatoes definitely boost the moistness factor in baked goods.

    ahimsablog: You'll have to come to Toronto to see what it's all about.

    bodybynature: Your favourite?! Wow. I'll have to remember that :)

    Jess: I'd be happy to meet you there for a muffin next time you visit the city!

    Jennifer & Jaclyn: I'm glad you found the gem in the mall food court!

    Miriam: I hope American food courts will follow the trends for healthier food court options, but eating at home is a good thing, too!

  13. Nicole — October 5, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    Gigi: Thanks! Glad you like it.

    Alicia: I hope you're able to try the muffins next time you visit.

    Rachel: Thanks. It's a great way to welcome fall.

    rachel: I highly recommend it!

    Fayinagirl: I'm so glad this post inspired you.

  14. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles — October 7, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    I love that you used dates! They're my new favorite ingredient.

  15. Sue - MakeupMew — August 4, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    I’ve been a huge UB potato and date muffin fan. Would always buy a few whenever I head down to Kensington Market. Always wondered about their recipe. Thanks for the recipe! This one is a keeper.

    I miss Toronto.

    • Nicole — August 5, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

      I’m glad you agree — the UH muffins are pretty incredible. I hope you get a chance to try my version (and please let me know what you think!).

  16. Melanie — August 5, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    I just made the muffins (actually, mine are minis as I only have a mini muffin tray) and they’re so yummy! I’ve never had the UB version, but since I made these myself, I’m going to be bold and say that these are better!

  17. Nicole — August 5, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Melanie! It’s hard to beat homemade muffins :)

  18. Tara Benson — August 26, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    The best sweet potato muffins I have ever tasted in my life. I asked for recepie, & they said “no”

  19. catherine — February 10, 2013 @ 11:55 am

    I am so happy to see that this recipe has been published for all to share! These are my all-time favourite muffins and I went there all the time when I lived in Kensington. Now, living 3000km away I miss the deliciousness of Urban Herbivore. So happy I can make my own! Thank you!!

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