Have a Heart?

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

We’ve all heard by now what was understood well before the research confirmed it—that oatmeal is good for you. Specifically, it’s good for your heart. For anyone who can remember waking up on a cold morning to a bowl of lumpy, lovingly-made hot cereal meant to bundle you up on the inside, it seems intrinsic that, in this instance, hearty means heart-healthy. But when you don’t have time to sit for a bowl, or want a little update from the homey classic, try taking your oats out of the bowl and bake some healthy oat muffins instead.

This is essentially a ‘one-bowl batter’ for the food processor, which starts by grinding rolled oats into flour. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can substitute store-bought oat flour instead.)  Since oatmeal takes the place of wheat flour, these are gluten-free muffins which rely on protein-rich Greek yogurt instead of butter, making them low fat as well. As if this wasn’t already enough to make your heart sing, try adding a favorite nut butter filling, giving these muffins some real heart. It’s a perfect way to wrap up American Heart Month and make some hearts happy—in more ways than one.

 

Banana Oat Muffins

 

2½ cups old fashioned rolled oats

1½ teaspoon baking powder

½easpoonsp baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas

1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

¾ cup natural peanut butter, almond butter, or Nutella, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin. Process the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar, eggs, bananas and yogurt and process until smooth.

Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each of the muffin cups. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of nut butter or Nutella into the center of each muffin, if using. Divide the remaining batter into the muffin cups, covering the nut butter and filling them almost to the top.

Bake the muffins until puffed and just starting to turn golden, 15-20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and serve warm.

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