Veggie-loaded cupcakes are basically everybody's dream come true

Parents: “You just ate vegetables! And fruit!” Kids: “More cake now.”

Parents: “You just ate vegetables! And fruit!” Kids: “More cake now.”

(Credit: Jessica Brooks)

Packed with healthy ingredients including a surprising amount of fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel good about serving these to kids. While the icing is optional, it’s a great way to elevate these to “treat” status without any guilt.

These cupcakes are freezable too, with icing or without, so make a batch for the busy days ahead. If you want to cook these in mini-muffin tins, simply reduce the cooking time by about half; you’ll get twice as many smaller servings, which smaller hands may appreciate!

Veggie-Loaded Cupcakes with Coconut and Nut Butter Icing

By Jessica Brooks

*Note that you'll want to freeze your can of coconut milk for 4 hours or even overnight, before you plan to make your icing.


  • 1 cup red fife or whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup ground flax seeds
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bananas, preferably very ripe
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely grated
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • ¼ cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • ½ cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Icing (optional):

  • 1 (400 mL) can of coconut milk, not low-fat
  • ½ cup natural almond or peanut butter, smooth
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, coconut, pecans, dried cranberries, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and add the zucchini, carrots, oil, yogurt and eggs. Mix well to combine.

Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold the wet into the dry using the 12-stroke method: run a spoon or spatula all the way around the flour mixture and fold it into the centre. Do this about 12 times, until the flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake until a tester comes out clean and the cupcakes are firm to the touch, about 30-35 minutes. They should still be moist inside. Let cool completely before icing. Store in the refrigerator.

For icing:

*Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge until it’s cold, about 4 hours or overnight. Open the can and scoop out just the creamy part, adding a bit of the watery liquid only if you need to in order to make ½ cup. Add the cream to a medium-sized bowl along with the almond butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Refrigerate for two hours until the texture is similar to butter icing. Spread icing on top of cupcakes, or pipe mini rosettes onto the cupcakes. Freeze any extra icing for your next batch.

To freeze cupcakes: Assemble as a single layer in an air-tight container and freeze. Alternatively, pack into individual freezer bags for grab-and-go snacks.

Servings: Makes 12 servings