Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipe: ‘Superhero’ Muffins Made by an Olympic Athlete

|Updated Aug 8, 2022

"Wow, that's vegan?" Is the common response after anyone takes a bite of these 'superhero' muffins, made with whole vegetables, nuts, seeds, superfoods, and natural sweeteners like maple syrup and fresh vanilla. There are many vegan and gluten-free baked goods that don't taste exactly like the real thing: Fluffy, delicious, sweet, and decadent. However, you won't have that problem with these muffins, it's hard to believe there's no dairy, refined sugar, flour, egg, or other additives in this recipe.

This delicious and healthy recipe was developed by Shalane Flanagan who is an Olympic silver medalist and four-time Olympian runner recognized as the fastest American woman to run the Boston Marathon with a two-hour and twenty-two-minute record. Flanagan eats a mostly plant-based diet and created the cookbook, Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes, showcasing the meals and recipes she ate while training for her 2017 TCS New York City Marathon historic win. These 'Superhero' muffins are Flanagan's grab-go breakfast for fuel and healthy fats that she enjoys every morning before a workout.

"Don’t fear the butter. Fueling up with healthy fats is a great way to start your day. Fat helps transport important vitamins throughout your hardworking body and will help keep you satisfied longer," says Flanagan.

The Beet's good friends at The Station, a coffee shop in Napa Valley, sell the 'superhero' muffins all day long to customers who love the sweet and savory taste of a pastry that's low in calories and made with plants. They were so kind to give us the full recipe and share the love with our readers.

'Superhero' Muffins

Makes 12 muffins 


  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if sensitive)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins, optional
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup of apple sauce
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
  • 1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted dairy-free butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Paper muffin cups


  1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, walnuts, currants, or raisins, if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the apple sauce, zucchini, carrot, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Pro Tip:

  • Keep a batch in the freezer for a sweet grab-n-run breakfast. Simply defrost on low power in the microwave