Sneaky Sweet Potato Muffins

Whole-wheat, healthy, sweet potato muffins. With a sneaky little addition.

For my Food Science and Production lab, one of our assignments was to create an experimental recipe. We could change the flour, swap the oil, reduce the fat, substitute sugar. Whatever our hearts desired. (I know. You are all super jealous that I get to take a class where we cook every week. Perks of being a Nutrition major, right?)

And after putting my skepticism to the test and trying out a Black Bean Brownie recipe last semester that was surprisingly delightful, I knew what I wanted to try.

The idea of adding undetectable vegetables to a dish has become my newest fascination. So, I decided trying my hand at adding vegetables to a muffin recipe. Specifically, the effects of adding zucchini and cauliflower to this Sweet Potato Muffin recipe.

I made three different batches of muffins for this experiment. The first batch, considered the control group, I simply followed the recipe exactly, without adding any vegetables. To the second batch, I added cauliflower. And, obviously, to the third, I added zucchini.

Trying to account for the water content of the added vegetables, I reduced the amount of skim milk in the batches with added vegetables. Thankfully, this worked exactly as I had hoped!

When it came to tasting, I had the other students in my lab try a bite of each muffin and tell me whether they could taste a difference. I bet you can’t guess what the results were….


The muffins did vary a little in texture and appearance. The cauliflower and zucchini muffins were both a little more moist and dense than the original, and the zucchini had a less pleasant, more green color. BUT, unless you have the muffins side-by-side, no one will ever know the difference! They taste great AND you’re getting some added vegetables in your diet!

While the flavors were all very similar, so similar that most people could not tell them apart, I felt like the zucchini muffins had a slightly better flavor/aftertaste than the cauliflower. So, my recommendation would be to make this recipe with zucchini!

Also, for the best flavor development, you really need to take the long way in preparing your sweet potatoes. (i.e bake them in the oven) While it is possible to quickly bake sweet potatoes in the microwave, they develop a much sweeter, caramelized taste when you bake them in the oven. Since the only added sugar in this recipe is honey, they do not develop an extremely sweet taste typical of American muffins. They might be less sweet than traditional muffins (which should really be considered a dessert (; ), but they are no less delicious!

Seriously, give these a try! Top with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and they make a perfect breakfast on-the-go or post-workout snack. And we all know some extra veggies in our diet could never hurt!

If you try them out, leave a comment and let me know what you thought!

Sweet Potato Muffins with Zucchini

Servings: makes 16 muffins


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup mashed sweet potato

1 cup shredded or food-processed zucchini

2 eggs

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani because it is thicker)

1/3 cup skim milk

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey (I prefer raw)

1 tsp vanilla


Combine the first six dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk together. For zucchini, you can either shred washed, raw zucchini OR steam zucchini slices for 5 minutes and place in a food processor. Because of the baking process, either option will lend very similar results. With either method, the zucchini should be pressed with paper towels to retrieve as much water as possible. The more water left in the zucchini, the more dense and moist your muffins will be. Once the zucchini is prepared, place in a large bowl with remaining wet ingredients, and whisk together until combined (small sweet potato clumps are normal). Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Use muffin liners, or non stick spray and fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.

Baker’s note: the muffins are super moist and do stick to the liners until fully set up (which is around 24 hours). You can spray your liners with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent this.

Nutrition info per muffin: 112 cal, 1 g fat, 22 g carb, 5 g protein, 3 g fiber

(Nutrition info does not account for the added zucchini, but they should not vary more than 10 calories)


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