Grain-Free (Paleo like) Muffins

Grain-free Muffins made with almond flour and navy bean flour – a Wheat Belly-friendly recipe! more »

I think Paleo should make an exception for these gluten free muffins. They’re grain free, and the Wheat Belly guy would love them.

Gluten Free Paleo Style Muffins

Here’s what I’m for: YOU.

Here’s what I’m against: Anything that makes you feel like a failure when you’re just trying your best.

Wheat Belly Bread didn’t really do it for me (that could have something to do with the fact that I’m writing a new Cookbook called, um, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread & it’s real bread just minus the gluten). But for my money that doesn’t mean just ditching the grain-free, Wheat-Belly-friendly, Paleo-friendly (which I like to call Schmaleo) thing altogether. It means exploring! Like Sacagawea, but just in the kitchen instead of with Lewis & Clark on their way to the Pacific Coast.

Gluten Free Paleo Style Muffins

Even though I bet they catch a whole lotta heat from the extreme-sport-style Wheat Belly-ists and Paleo-ists, the 80/20 Paleo Rule peeps (100% Paleo for 80% of their meals) are making it work, in their own way. See – my son the celiac is on the 100% Gluten-Free Diet so he can live and be well and grow and be healthy. But the rest of it? It’s a true choice. But you can’t make a true choice unless you see what’s out there. (Don’t worry, btw – this blog will never turn into Schmaleo or Wheat Belly or anything else dogmatic.)

Gluten Free Paleo Style Muffins

So I started to experiment (don’t worry – I’m not sending you off to “play” since you have your hands full and anyway that’s my job). And I came up with a recipe for these grain-free, refined-sugar-free Wheat-Belly-ish muffins, and seriously? They’re so good. Moist, flavorful and lightly sweet, they’re truly satisfying for even your most discriminating eaters (believe me – everybody in my house is a critic).

Gluten Free Paleo Style Muffins

Oh, and a note about bean flour: The Wheat Belly guy uses garbanzo bean flour. I … cannot abide garbanzo bean flour. Now, beans are verboten on the Paleo diet, but Wheat Belly makes an exception for garbanzo bean flour since it’s high in protein, and low in “net” carbs (carbs minus dietary fiber). Guess what? So is navy bean flour (which I buy here)! And it doesn’t stink like old forgotten peas in the far corner of your kitchen! It’s a nice complement to the almond flour, as it absorbs some of the fat in the almonds and makes for a lighter-tasting muffin. BOOM!

Gluten Free Paleo Style Muffins

So are these Paleo? No. Are they 100% Wheat-Belly? No (instead of sugar alcohols like Xylitol I used honey since it’s an unrefined sugar and there is little of it in here). Are they good, and are they grain free – yet guaranteed not to make you mental? Oh yeah.

Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 17 minutes       Yield: 15 muffins

2 cups (224 g) blanched almond flour

6 tablespoons (54 g) navy bean flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 extra-large eggs (120 g outside shell) at room temperature, beaten

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you could substitute an equal amount virgin coconut oil)

5 tablespoons (105 g) honey

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the almond flour, navy bean flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well, working out any lumps in the almond flour. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the eggs, butter, honey, cream and vanilla, and beat to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix to combine well. The batter will come together and be thick but relatively fluffy.

  • Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full, and smooth the tops with wet fingers. Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (16 to 18 minutes). Be careful not to overbake or the bottoms will burn. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, or until cool to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining muffin batter.

  • Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature. Any leftovers may be tightly wrapped in freezer-safe wrap and frozen.



P.S. Don’t forget your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I can’t keep the blog going without your support, but with you – it can go on forever!

  • Carole

    Love your muffin liners!! Did you use parchment paper???
    Are we going to be using navy bean flour more??   Before I invest in it??
    Am hopefully waiting for the pierogi recipe. Hope we get it before Easter.

    • gfshoestring

      Yup. Just unbleached parchment paper, Carole. Oh, and yes, I do plan to use navy bean flour more. So far, I really like the way it pairs with almond flour, and plan to experiment with using it to boost the protein content of other recipes, too. :)
      Oh – and how about this – I promise to post a pierogi recipe before Easter. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole

    Just went to the navy bean site and lots of fiber .Thank you ever so much!!!!!!

    • gfshoestring

      You bet, Carole. It is a high-powered flour, for sure. But still … use it sparingly!
      xoxo Nicole

  • CarrieE

    I was so excited about these. They look and sound delicious. Alas, almond flour isn’t allowed in my recipes. But there are plenty of other great ones here and in the cookbooks. Time to go find something to bake.

  • Melisa Crosby

    I am not a big fan of bean flour either, unless it’s in a blend for gf breads where you really do need that extra protein.  All the muffins I tend to make now are 100% almond flour and they are light and tasty although slightly fragile.  Silicone muffin cups solve that problem for me.

  • Rebecca Rudolph Thompson

    I’m so glad that you include the weight of the eggs since my backyard chickens lay many sized eggs in blues and browns!

    • gfshoestring

      I’m so jealous of your backyard chickens, Rebecca. Blue eggs! So jealous. 
      xoxo Nicole

  • Susie Lively

    Is there a substitute for the navy bean flour? I don’t want to invest in it just to use 6 tablespoons.  

    • gfshoestring

      Please see above, Susie.

  • Michelle

    I do like navy bean soup, so I might give the flour a try, but as someone said below, would it be okay to sub oat flour or brown rice or something for it? I am trying to be open-minded about new things, though. Do they have a nutty flavor? I live in a huge almond-growing area, so do love them.   I am glad you didn’t use the xylitol- my dentist has me chew xylitol mints because it kills bacteria in the mouth, but he warned me not to have too many, as xylitol can cause major digestive issues. I wonder if baking it nullifies those effects?  Also, THANK YOU for the egg weights!! It will be so much easier to work with my random egg assortment.

    • gfshoestring

      I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions, so you’d have to experiment, Michelle. I will say that I’m fairly certain that garbanzo bean flour, in all its stinkiness, would most likely be able to sub 1:1 for the navy bean flour. But it won’t smell good!
      I don’t think that baking with xylitol nullifies the digestive issues you referenced. In fact, I know it doesn’t from personal experience. I don’t really care for it, myself. But I think some use it without incident. 
      xoxo Nicole

      • Michelle

        Oh heavens! If I end up subbing out the navy bean flour, it certainly won’t be for garbanzo! Or fava! Just the thought makes me feel ill! I could swear I have seen navy bean flour at our local health food store, (not entirely sure because I was probably making the sign of the cross at it, as is my habit with bean flours) so may give it a whirl, or even break down and order it so at least I can try it.

  • Leanne @ healthful pursuit

    I love garbanzo bean flour but haven’t ever tried navy bean. So smart. I love your enthusiasm about testing things in the kitchen. It is fun but not everyone’s cup of tea

    • gfshoestring

      Amen to that, Leanne. Sometime last year, I was getting so many reader questions about how I develop recipes that I posted a recipe for Brown Butter Cornbread and walked everyone through my process. That did it – no more questions! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Wendy

    I nearly didn’t finish reading the post once I saw that you said you’re writing another book. I hope its true, I’d love to see you write a book on bread! I have your other 2 cookbooks and really, I don’t even bother with other gluten free cookbooks anymore. Yours rock!  Love your blog too.

    • gfshoestring

      I absolutely am, Wendy! Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread will be published this December. :) I’m so flattered that you have come to rely upon my cookbooks, and so happy to have been able to help!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amyadkins3455


    Jumping for joy when I read that your next book is about bread! I started baking my own gluten free bread using a bread maker and would love to explore some of your recipes! I’ll wait patiently because I’m certain it will be worth the wait!


  • Chris

    I picked up a bag of green pea flour on a whim!  (A TOTAL whim…)  Lo and behold, I don’t hate it!  I subbed in a little (and eliminated a little starch in the process) with my wrap recipe and, although it made the raw dough a little green, it made the cooked wrap a lovely creamy yellowish color and you couldn’t taste ‘pea’ at all!!  My morning scrambled egg with Spanish smoked paprika never tasted so good!!!  (You never know unless you try, right?!)

  • Pingback: Grain-Free (Wheat-Belly-friendly) Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten-Free on a Shoestring()

  • Tiffany @ Kerrville, TX

    Nicole, I often times feel like I personally know you.  You are an absolute GF kitchen wizard (and even if you weren’t a GF chef, you’d still be my favorite kitchen wizard).  Do you have some sort of culinary education or are you just not mentally challenged in the science of baking and cooking as I am?  Just read your Brown Butter Cornbread: An Anatomy Of A GF Recipe and it did help me understand why I don’t trust myself to convert any regular wheat recipe I previously used into a GF recipe.  There are a lot of things I’m okay to good at but I don’t trust myself as you do to create something from “scratch.”  I have just received your latest book and it’s like reading a really good novel and am anxious to try all the recipes.  After I read Wheat Belly (I was and occasionally am still challenged by Rheumatoid Arthritis:  the reason for going GF) I scoured all the gluten free blogs for a year and in the end yours was the standout best.  I still had a whole lot to learn, as you were light years ahead of me in the learning curve, but you’ve been a godsend in understanding the methods and logic.  There is, to put it quite simply, no one (in my opinion) as good as you are at constantly presenting new and interesting GF recipes to the general public.  PS: I tried the bean flour route and I was totally unimpressed with the flavor as well.  Sometimes beans work better in a soup.

  • Janet

    Hmm, I wonder if coconut flour would work as a substitution for the bean flour. I have a sensitivity to all legumes (and I agree about the stinky-ness of garbanzo bean flour; I think it also alters the flavor of baked goods). Coconut flour is a high fiber, fairly high protein flour that doesn’t affect mineral availability (i.e, it doesn’t block absorption of the minerals in the food like grains do because of the phytic acid in them). However, coconut flour is very dry and like a sponge, sopping up moisture. Elana Amsterdam (who does all her baking with coconut and almond flours) says she uses ½ cup coconut flour to 4 eggs plus ½ cup agave. Though with only 6 tablespoons, that might not be too much of an issue.

  • April

    I’m so excited to see your new recipes today in my email! I have been baking Paleo and Wheat Belly recipes for a while, and I’m also trying to find a good balance among them all. I’ve learned that I can’t do completely grain free because I love to bake, and too much almond flour in a day isn’t easy on digestion, either. The key for me seems to be moderation both with nuts and gluten free grains. Thanks for sending these and I look forward to trying them! (Oh, and I do have both your cookbooks and love them both!) 


  • mythumpa

    Love you as always. Nicole, but you should mention that almond four is PRICEY!! It’s $10 for 22 oz at Walmart – OUCH!

    • booklass

       That is really true. Almond flour, like some of the other flours, is quite expensive, especially if you are doing a lot of baking. You might check buying in bulk from Amazon. Sometimes, you can get some great deals for gluten free products there……and sometimes not.  Good luck!!

    • gfshoestring

      You definitely never want to buy blanched almond flour at a local store for full retail price. I buy it online (at and it is still pricey but about half the price you quoted. And I do discuss the higher price-point of the Wheat-Belly type recipes in my first post on the subject.
      xoxo Nicole

  • booklass

    Where DOES one find navy bean flour? I have never seen it nor heard of it, until now. Of course, it could have been one of the beans in the bean flour mix I tried, and didn’t like because I could taste the garbanzo beans.

    • gfshoestring

      There is a link to where I buy navy bean flour in the post. Seriously – I wouldn’t ever again develop a recipe with garbanzo bean flour. Navy bean flour is really different.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Julie

    I really, really love this blog. Thank you so much for your hard work. Your recipes have transformed my kitchen. No more expensive boxed mixes. My husband loves everything I have made so far. We are gluten-free by choice, and as I am trying to lose weight, I am always so excited with lower starch recipes!! My husband thinks your cookies are the best I ever made, even when I cooked with refined wheat flour. I agree with him.!!!

  • Itsdonnagail

    Do you have a best source for almond flour?

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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