Recipe for Health: Lemon Chickpea Muffins

by Sandy Todd Webster on Oct 21, 2013

Food for Thought

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has been working with the Harvard School of Public Health to remake many of our favorite foods, and they’ve recently taken on the task of making over their muffin recipes. Developed by the CIA for a Harvard-CIA "Muffin Makeover" project, this recipe for Lemon Chickpea Muffins incorporates healthy fats and whole grains to create a better-for-you version of the massively oversized, calorie-laden muffin found in most restaurants and bakeries.

"Lemon and cardamom is a classic flavor pairing that makes these muffins fragrant and delicious," says CIA chef Melissa Fritz. "Using puréed, canned chickpeas creates a very moist, tender muffin because the chickpea starch holds water so well. The addition of ground almonds to the batter contributes a hearty nuttiness as well as healthy fats."

Try these as a healthy start to Thanksgiving or Christmas morning, or make and freeze a batch to have on hand for busy mornings.

To enjoy a brief step-by-step demonstration of CIA chef Melissa Fritz preparing Lemon Chickpea Muffins, go to

  • 1 3/4 C chickpeas (1 15 oz. can), drained and rinsed
  • zest from two lemons
  • zest from one orange
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 C whole-wheat flour, sifted
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1/3 C ground almonds
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 T ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 t granulated sugar
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom

Recipe Key: C = Cup – T = Tablespoon – t = teaspoon – g = gram

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Purée chickpeas in food processor until smooth. Add lemon and orange zest and juice, olive oil, sugar and egg yolks. Purée until smooth.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Stir in chickpea mixture, then add ground almonds.

Whisk egg whites until they hold semisoft peaks. Fold egg whites into batter.

In small bowl, combine ground almonds, sugar and cardamom. Set aside.

Scoop batter into muffin tin. You can use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to do this, but you'll only need to add a generous 1/4 cup of batter to each muffin cup. Sprinkle muffin batter with some of almond-sugar-cardamom mixture.

Bake 12-13 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

Per serving: 170 calories; 4 g protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 230 milligrams sodium; 1 g saturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 31 mg cholesterol.

Source: Recipe by CIA Chef Scott Samuel. Reprinted with permission from the Culinary Institute of America.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.