When organic canned pumpkin is plentiful, I like to make pumpkin spice oatmeal in the morning. One day I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to eat it and I wondered how it would taste baked into a muffin. The result was pure pumpkin perfection!!! These little beauties are moist and delicious, not too sweet and reminiscent of the cranberry orange bread my Mom used to make.

By Chef AJ,


  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup orange juice plus zest of one orange
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ½ cup Date Paste
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tablespoon alcohol-free Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened or fruit juice sweetened
  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process bananas and OJ until smooth. Add pumpkin, date paste, extract, zest, flax seeds and spice and continue processing until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer batter to a large bowl and stir in the oats and dried cranberries.
  • Spoon an equal amount of batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners or silicone baking cups. You need to fill each muffin liner with about ½ cup of batter as these do not rise. A retractable ice cream scoop works well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly into each of the 12 muffin liners. A cheese grater or nut grinder works well for grinding the nuts.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Find this brunch recipe and more in the Forks Over Knives Recipe App.

Comments (45)

(5 from 14 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I’m confused on why Chef AJ contributed this recipe? I just watched a video where she declared she would never eat oats because they are an addictive substance? Basically comparing them to soda and sweets. I thought she was a little nuts and now I know she’s a lot nuts.

Cyndi Baker

We substituted cherries. Amazing! Moist! My family gave this recipe a 5-star Rating!

Cyndi Baker

We substituted cherries. Amazing! My family gave this recipe a 5-star Rating!

Kay Barrett

What kind of oats?? Do you cook them? ….. if so, how much water?

Barbara Holm

Can I substitute fresh cranberries that I have frozen? Equal dried to frozen? Thanks!


The muffins were so tasty!! Bursting with flavor. For less stickiness, I cooked them about ten minutes longer, used silicone baking cups and ate them with a fork.


I also wanted to mention that the consistency is more like that of a soft granola bar rather than a caky muffin.


What can I use instead of date paste?

Megan Edwards

Hi Wendy, Unfortunately date paste is the best option for this recipe since it calls for a large amount. Maple syrup would make the batter too runny and we wouldn't recommend using that much cane sugar in a single recipe. Let us know if you end up making it and how it turns out!


Good day, really enjoyed them. A better measuring stick for me is the fact the other people in my household ate them up.


These are surprisingly great…they firm up when cooled, nice vibrant flavor. I was short on date paste but they turned out well anyway. Crushed pecans on top were a nice addition. Thank you!

Melissa Weiss

I’m trying the Mastering Diabetes Method and trying to stay under 30 grams of fat a day. What are the fat grams per muffin? Thanks ——Melissa


These came out awesome! They taste wonderful, whole family liked them. Didn’t have any cranberries so I used raisins instead, but next time I will try to make sure I have some because I definitely think they’d be even better with cranberries. Only thing I didn’t really like was how much moisture there is. More specifically, I tried using paper baking cups and they got stuck to the muffins from all the moisture . They were still really good though and I would totally make them again, just maybe not with paper liners.


Intermittent fasting works wonders for a diabetic (my husband is Type II). His A1C went from 10.9 to 6.3. Eating healthy is very good for overall health , which we do, just be advised that diabetes is all about insulin resistance. Eating every 2-3 hours keeps your insulin elevated. We try keeping at least 5 hours between our meals. Some folks we have talked to will do eight hours between meals. I learned about this from a good diabetic doctor. All doctors aren’t created equal!!!!

Terry grenald

If you put the recipe in chronometer or loose it app it will give you and idea..

Tina Capps

Sounds delicious. Could this recipe be baked into a loaf?

Barbara Phillips-Seitz

Very dense, heavy and filling. Delicious, though. And healthy. Great for breakfast on the go and travel. I’ll continue to make them for family and friends. A great recipe.


What may I substitute for the bananas (allergy)?


Try 3/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce and decrease the orange juice to 1/4 cup.




These were simple to make and tasted great! I liked the walnut mixture on the top. They weren't muffin like, but I will make them again.

Earlene Giglierano

I just made these and the flavor was good, but since there is no flour, it was more the consistency of baked oatmeal. It held together but was moist like oatmeal and pumpkin. These made about 20 muffins for me, using my ice cream scoop heaped, so I had to mix up extra topping. I am puzzling over the comment that these were too dry, because I was wishing mine were more dry.


I've made these 3 times now. I substitute fresh cranberries (pulsed a few times in the batter just before adding to the oats). So healthy, easy, and delicious!

Christilee Proto

Can you freeze these muffins?


These are dense and very filling, maybe more like baked oatmeal, but my non vegan husband started eating them and went back for more! Cannot fast the banana at all. Use all the spices recommended for that extra flavor punch. I baked in silicone muffin liners, so easy to remove from liners.


Yummy muffins and super easy to put together. I had to make my own date paste to avoid having to order it—also easy to do.


Hi!! I’m in the Netherlands and don’t have canned pumpkin. What is it like? Can I just cook a fresh pumpkin and use that? Or maybe roasted?


Canned pumpkin is simply puréed pumpkin. Cooking a fresh pumpkin and puréing it would be a perfect substitute.


Barbara - yes, definitely roast it. You can also use butternut squash. Let it caramelize in the oven - you want the puree to be a deep orange color and thick in texture.


Can you use frozen cranberries instead of dried cranberries?

Deb Nichols

These muffins are very good! I made 18 muffins from this recipe.


Does anyone have the nutrition details for these muffins?


While the flavor was great, they were so dry and the uncooked oatmeal made them unedible.

Karen Garafano

Best healthy plant based muffin snack or desert!

Lori Stivanson

These are the perfect bread replacement. Super moist and the taste is fantastic. I shared these with quiet a few people and they all love them. Definitely a keeper recipe.

Deanna Pflieger

Hello. These look interesting. What could I substitute for the orange juice and zest?


I used lemon juice instead


No baking powder or soda?

Karen Garafano

Not needed cause there is no flour...muffins don't rise


Can you substitute date paste and with what.


Instead of dates, I use raisins for the paste. They are easier to find than dates and easier on the pocket book.

Sarah K

These muffins are SO moist and delicious!! They have the perfect balance of orange and cranberry taste and are dense enough to fill you up for on the run breakfasts!

Lori Stivanson

These are the perfect bread replacement. Super moist and the taste is fantastic. I shared these with quiet a few people and they all love them. Definitely a keeper recipe.


What can I substitute for bananas? I became allergic to them.


Applesauce might work.

About the Author

Headshot of Chef AJ

About the Author

Chef AJ

Chef AJ has been devoted to a plant-exclusive diet for over 44 years. She is the host of the television series Healthy Living with CHEF AJ airing on Foody TV. A chef, culinary instructor, and professional speaker, she is author of Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight and the best-selling books The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss and Own Your Health. Chef AJ was the executive pastry chef at Santé Restaurant in Los Angeles where she was famous for her sugar-, oil-, salt- and gluten-free desserts. She is the host of YouTube show Chef AJ Live. She is proud to say that her IQ is higher than her cholesterol. In 2018 she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.
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