Gluten-free, oil-free masala chai carrot muffins

Gluten-free, Oil-free Masala Chai Carrot Muffins | A Dash of Compassion

I don’t know what got into me last week but I suddenly needed a break from the kitchen. That rarely happens, but between recipe testing for a mini project (soon to be announced!) and a couple of food photography gigs, I’d had enough of food and needed a breather.

Sometimes a little downtime is necessary. I’ve felt uneasy about things lately, specifically this little space of mine within the world wide web. I often wonder: Are people reading? Do they enjoy my recipes? Do they even care? We’re living in a world where online content is changing and updating at warp speed—every day there are depressing news headlines making the rounds, a shocking Twitter comment or YouTube video goes viral, “new” recipes posted on a gazillion blogs—and I feel like I’m being eaten alive by social media. I just can’t keep up.


Gluten-free, Oil-free Masala Chai Carrot Muffins | A Dash of Compassion

But you know what? This isn’t about being the most popular blogger, making money, or having hundreds of recipes in my archives. This isn’t about being at the top of the search engine when someone types in “vegan” (I’m not mobile-friendly anyway; thanks Google!) or being the first to post about the latest food trend or vegan discovery. When I first started this blog, my mission was (and still is) to document my favourite recipes and to show the world that veganism isn’t about restriction or deprivation. This is about putting attention and care into the recipes I create and then sharing them with you.

I’ve gotten a whole lot more out of this blog than I had ever imagined. It has connected me to an entire community of caring, compassionate and very talented individuals; it has made me fall in love with photography all over again and landed me so many awesome side projects; it has deepened my friendship with Lisa, with whom I’ve partnered on a number of fun projects, including two ebooks and a cookbook (<– pinch me); and it has given me, this very shy girl, a voice.

All this is to say that although I don’t post nearly as much as I would like to, I truly appreciate you. It’s difficult working so hard to fill a space where I feel like no one is listening. But I know you are. And for that, I am grateful. The more people sharing and reading and trying healthy, plant-based recipes means change is happening. As the popular Michael Jackson song goes, together we are healing the world and making it a better place.

Gluten-free, Oil-free Masala Chai Carrot Muffins | A Dash of Compassion
What this has got to do with carrot muffins, I have no idea. But here you go, a recipe I’ve been playing with for a few months now, tinkering here and there until I felt it was just right. I’m a big fan of carrots and chai tea, so I figured putting them together in muffin form would be pretty tasty. And, indeed, they are.

Grating carrots by hand is no fun, so if you have a food processor with a grating blade this is the time to use it. These lightly sweetened, chai spiced muffins make use of my favourite flour blend (oat, buckwheat and almond) and the applesauce and moist chunks of carrots make it so there is no need for oil. They make wonderful breakfasts and snacks on the go.

Gluten-free, Oil-free Masala Chai Carrot Muffins | A Dash of Compassion

P.S. You have until Wednesday, April 29 to enter my giveaway for an awesome JK Gourmet product pack, including a box of my favourite almond flour!

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Gluten-free, oil-free masala chai carrot muffins

Yield: 8 to 10 muffins


  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup light buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1½ cups grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates



  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with 8 to 10 muffin liners.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the almond milk over medium heat until almost boiling. Add the tea bag, cover with a lid and remove from heat. Allow to seep for a 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bag and gently squeeze out any liquid. Discard tea bag. Whisk in the maple syrup, applesauce, and lemon juice.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the grated carrots and chopped dates.
  6. Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle a little coconut sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 400F for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.


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30 Responses to “Gluten-free, oil-free masala chai carrot muffins”

  1. Cindy — April 27, 2015 @ 9:52 am

    We appreciate you here at work Nicole! and the amazing treats you always bring us. And anyone reading this, I can attest that these chai carrot muffins are delicious!

  2. janet @ the taste space — April 27, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

    Blogging is changing and I agree, the blogging currency of community/comments keeps dwindling. It makes it hard to blog with as much gusto.. but know that I keep reading your blog and admire all your gorgeous photos. :)

    • Nicole — April 27, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Janet! You’re one of the compassionate and talented individuals I’m so glad I met through blogging and the local veg scene. That’s what makes it all worth it. :)

  3. Josiane — April 27, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

    I’m glad to read that you know there are people reading your blog, despite not always being able to feel their presence. I’m one of those who are listening, silently more often than not, but still: I’m here. I do appreciate your blog, the time and care you put into each post, into each recipe, into each picture.
    In the end, you have to do what brings you joy – and that can’t be identified or decided based on the number of comments or anything else that would come from outside… Given the care you put into sharing through this blog, I’d venture to guess that it does indeed bring you joy. May that spark of joy glow brightly enough that moments of doubt won’t ever obscure it completely!

    • Nicole — April 28, 2015 @ 9:49 am

      What a sweet and very thoughtful comment, Josiane. Thank you! I do have moments of doubt but it makes me happy knowing that you enjoy this blog, and you’re right, it does indeed bring me lots of joy. :)

  4. Jess — April 27, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    Ah, a lot of this post resonates with me Nicole. Your blog was one of the first few that I began to read and follow and continues to be today. It’s always a sweet treat to find a fresh post waiting to be devoured. (Much like these muffins are begging to be too – they look like they have the perfect crispy muffin top!) Looking forward to seeing you in Austin and hearing more about this book of yours and Lisa’s! XO

    • Nicole — April 28, 2015 @ 9:54 am

      Thank you, Jess! I have followed your blog for a long time too. I love that we can support each other through our blogs and local events. Lisa mentioned you’ll be going to VVC, so yes, I’m looking forward to seeing you then!

  5. jacquie — April 27, 2015 @ 10:39 pm

    i don’t often – ever? – comment but i do look forward to your posts. the muffins look great and i like the combination of flours you use. however, i don’t drink chai tea and i’m not familiar with the taste. Is there something else i could use? or up the spices already included?

    • Nicole — April 28, 2015 @ 10:00 am

      Thank you, Jacquie! If you’ve never tried chai tea before, you’re missing out. :) But you can just leave it out of these muffins if you want. Skip Step 2 in the instructions and whisk together the liquid ingredients (including the almond milk) without heating the almond milk or seeping the tea. You could add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice if you want to add a bit more spice.

  6. Anna — April 28, 2015 @ 4:20 am
  7. Lesia Kohut — April 28, 2015 @ 7:44 am


    I read your blog, and I appreciate *you*! :)

    This post got me thinking about how we originally met when you and Blake came to me for your wedding cake and sweet table years ago (which totally inspired me to make deelish vegan sweet treats for your even sweeter celebration), and then you took some classes at LPK’s, all the while continuing to be loyal clients.

    I also remember you coming into the shop with flowers on my birthday one day, which was such a lovely surprise!

    And remember the very first blueberry pie contest at the first Wild Blueberry Festival at the Brick Works? I do!

    Watching you grow beyond a home baker over the years, and to see how your baking has evolved over time (not to mention you make my food look amaaaaaazing with your uber awesome photography and food styling skills) has been truly inspirational for me too!

    So for all the great things your creativity brings to so many of us (some of it through this very blog), thank you so much! And please keep writing!

    Big hugs to you! :)

    • Nicole — April 28, 2015 @ 10:08 am

      Thank you for your sweet thoughts, Lesia! I’m so grateful that we met and I will never forget the amazing cake and sweets table you created for my wedding reception years ago. It was unbelievable. And I’m happy we’ve been able to keep in touch ever since. I think we’ve *both* changed and evolved over the years and I love seeing both of us working hard and being passionate about the things that matter most (health, the planet, etc.). And we’re supporting each other along the way. Hugs back at’cha! :)

  8. Michelle — April 28, 2015 @ 10:03 am


    Your blog post came to me just as I was about to go looking for a good way to use some oat and almond flours I have been forgetting about. Now I have my answer and just need to pop to the store to replenish my muffin liners. I will let you know how they turn out. Thank you for this recipe and all the others that have inspired me!

    • Nicole — April 28, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

      Thank you, Michelle! It sounds like you were meant to make these muffins. I hope you enjoy them! :)

    • Michelle — April 28, 2015 @ 9:33 pm

      They are delicious! I should have baked them just a bit longer. I baked them for 18 min but when the timer went off, I was on the phone and distracted and didn’t check with a toothpick. I will definitely make them again though!

  9. Naomi — April 28, 2015 @ 9:40 pm

    Im reading! And I love your recipes! Ive been missing them lately but know that life is busy and appreciate them when they are here :D.


  10. Arlene — April 28, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

    I love your blog! Your writing is excellent and the recipes are so good. I love your commitment to being Vegan & Gluten Free. There’s some crazy bloggers (Vegan) they say are coming up with these new diet Vegan trends! Keep up the good honest work!

  11. annie — April 30, 2015 @ 5:07 pm

    These are fabulous muffins! Absolutely yummy! Simple flavors, hearty, and satisfying.

    • Nicole — April 30, 2015 @ 5:13 pm

      Thank you, Annie! I’m so happy you’re enjoying them.

  12. Francoise Murat — September 27, 2015 @ 7:48 am

    I am new to your site but I am listening, I like purposeful and diligent blogs, not the flash in the pan that seems to be the order of the day. Quality in time will always shine and although I seldom write on blogs I follow if I make a recipe I and I have time I will always take a photo and post it somewhere with the person’s details. Times do move at warp speed, but life is full of patterns and people are now slowly coming back to a slower and more mindful way of thinking, working, living, I certainly have been for the last 2 years and eating healthily is part of that. Without people like you to show me the way with new flours, ingredients and methods, I wouldn’t know where to go and what do, so thank you very much for sharing and taking the time to show me the way and giving me ideas.

    • Nicole — September 28, 2015 @ 11:01 am

      Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful note, Francoise. I would love for life to slow down so we can enjoy a more mindful way of living. It is certainly what I strive for, too. I’m so glad to hear you’re gaining knowledge and ideas from my blog and others!

  13. Catherine — September 27, 2015 @ 10:59 am

    I understand how you feel about the web : I don’t feel appealed by social media and stay away from facebook, twitter etc. However, I do read blogs like you searching for some cooking inspiration. I look at your page here and then and I like the fact you are trying to create with food, just like I do. I wish you will have success whatever you choose to do!

    • Nicole — September 28, 2015 @ 10:59 am

      Thank you, Catherine! It’s great to know there are other foodie friends like you out there. :)

  14. Nancy — August 21, 2016 @ 2:00 pm

    It’s been a while since you posted this one, and I’m not exactly sure what search led me to it, but am I ever grateful! I’ve just learned that I have a gluten sensitivity, so I need some new snacks to pack in my lunch bag. Sounds like these will go great with my mid-morning coffee! I can’t wait to try them. I have a bag of carrots in the fridge, waiting to be grated. :-)

    • Nicole — August 22, 2016 @ 11:08 am

      Thank you, Nancy! It sounds like you landing on this page was meant to be. I hope you enjoy them! And I hope you’re well. :)

  15. Margarette — August 5, 2019 @ 12:14 pm

    I’ve read and re-read the recipe. Clearly there’s some sort of typo.

    I followed the recipe as written. The batter was the consistency of cookie dough at the end. I proceeded. I put them in muffin cups, popped them in the oven thinking “maybe they’ll melt and get muffin-ee in the oven”

    No, they did not. I threw them out. They didn’t rise. They stayed in the same shape as they were when they landed and not worth eating. I even tried baking a bit long (like 20 minutes). Still dense and wet.

    The flavour profile has potential. They smelled great and I learned some things. They’re too sweet for my palette and obviously the batter needs more liquid of some sort. I may try them without the grated carrot and dates.

    Thanks for testing and posting interesting, creative recipes. I’ll continue to try your recipes. I like your style!

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