Asparagus Muffins with Cashew Cream Frosting {GIVEAWAY INSIDE!}

I’ve heard it said again and again – that you can’t change a man. That if there’s anything about him you think you can “fix” within the first few years of marriage, you’re better off accepting or moving on.

But I know that’s not the case. Because when I tell my husband I’m making vegan, sugar-free asparagus muffins – with creamy cashew frosting – he says, “Cool. That sounds good.” See, he gets it. Eight years ago, when we first met, he most certainly would not have got it.

Then again, neither would I. Back then my idea of a healthy snack was something involving artificial, fat-free whipped topping and instant pudding mix. And as far as cooking went, my signature dish involved an entire box of pasta and a half cup of peanut butter. For the two of us.

Apparently, people do change. I learned that wholesome, natural food can most definitely be tasty food. And just because I’m not medically or ethically required to avoid things like dairy, gluten, or sugar, for example, I’m not about to leave those who are with all the fun. One thing that’s never changed is my love for food, and I love a good foodie challenge.

That’s exactly how I felt when Ricki and Kim announced the ingredient for this month’s SOS Challenge: asparagus. The SOS Challenge is a monthly event inviting bloggers to create a sweet or savory dish with a specific ingredient in mind, that is wholesome, vegan, natural, and free of refined sugars. Sounds easy enough for asparagus, right? Unless you choose to make something sweet. That’s just plain weird, right? Well, so am I, because I immediately knew I was going to make something sweet with asparagus.

It’s actually not that far-fetched, if you consider all the vegetables that make cameos in dessert: zucchini, carrots, and pumpkin, for example. Would asparagus in a wholesome, spiced muffin be any different, especially when topped with a fluffy mound of sweet and tangy frosting? I had only one shot to find out, since I had to wait until after Passover to make these and be sure to post them by the end of the month. More than I was craving a slice of pizza at the end of the holiday, I was dying to try an asparagus muffin.

I can tell you that it actually works quite well. The asparagus taste comes through, yes, but as long as you like asparagus, there’s nothing to fear. The muffins are warmly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and get their healthy sweetness from stevia and golden raisins. They are surprisingly moist and tender as well, with a wholesome crumb achieved with a mixture of graham and spelt flours. The frosting is creamy and lightly sweet, with a touch of tang from lemon juice, just like I would expect from a cream cheese frosting. The one thing I would like to improve upon with these muffins if I made them again would be to get a better rise out of them; I’m not quite sure what happened there. But given everything else they have going for them, these muffins deliver quite the winning combination of good taste and good nutrition, and we’re more than happy to have them around.

Asparagus Muffins with Cashew Cream Frosting
Printable Recipe

Muffins
Dry
1 cup / 120gm graham flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup / 120gm spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet
1/4 cup / 2oz coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup / 4oz unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup / 4oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract, such as NuStevia­ White Stevia Extract Powder

1 cup finely grated asparagus
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin pan with either nonstick cooking spray or paper lines.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a another bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the melted coconut oil and the applesauce mixture. Gently mix to combine, then fold in the asparagus and raisins.

Divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins, then ice with the cashew frosting.

Frosting

1 cup / 135gm cashews, soaked overnight
30 gm dates, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
6 tablespoons / 3 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 drops vanilla flavored liquid stevia extract, such as NuNaturals Pure Liquid Vanilla Stevia

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. (I found that my hand blender worked best.) Process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use (the frosting will thicken a bit while chilling.)

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 219.5
Total Fat: 10.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 202.6 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 5.4 g

This recipe is linked to the SOS Challenge for the month of May, hosted by Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Affairs of Living.

This recipe is linked to Seasonal Sunday (05-01-11) hosted by Real Sustenance.

Wondering about that giveaway? Coincidentally, the NuNaturals Stevia products I used this recipe were part of a prize package I won by submitting my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies to the February SOS Challenge. The ingredient was, of course, stevia. If you want to try stevia for the first time, or stock up on your beloved stash, you’re in luck: The kind folks at NuNaturals are offering FOUR of my readers a prize package which includes a 50ct. box NuStevia Packets and a 2oz. bottle of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid.

Contest Rules
The giveaway is open to continental US residents only. The prize cannot be shipped to PO addresses. The contest will run until midnight on Sunday, May 15th, giving you plenty of time to submit your stevia creations! Winners will be chosen at random.
Entries
Leave one comment per entry, except where noted!
- Tell me if you’ve tried stevia, or why you’d like to
-Use the Linky Tool below to share a recipe which uses stevia. Preferably something new! Make sure you link to this post in your blog. This gets you THREE entries, so make sure you leave 3 separate comments!
-Tweet about this contest mentioning @Carascravings and @NuNaturals, with a link to this post
-Stumble this post
-Mention this post on your blog or Facebook page

And a few more tidbits…
- All readers will receive a 15% discount on NuNaturals products by entering the code BLG531 at checkout, and continental US orders will receive free shipping on orders totaling $35.
-All contintental US readers are eligible to receive FREE samples of NuNaturals Stevia packets . All you need to do is send a SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED, # 10 envelope to the following address:

NuNaturals , Inc.
2220 West 2nd. Ave. # 1
Eugene, OR 97402

Good Luck!

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40 Responses to “Asparagus Muffins with Cashew Cream Frosting {GIVEAWAY INSIDE!}”

  1. 1

    branny — April 29, 2011 @ 11:25 am Reply

    Way to stretch the boundaries, Cara. I've seen stevia at the store, but have never purchased it. I'd like to give it a try because you like it so much.My husband has become similarly adapted to my cooking styles through our years and years of marriage! I love the growth.

  2. 2

    A Rog — April 29, 2011 @ 12:07 pm Reply

    Love stevia but never tried, looks like a great sugar alternative

  3. 3

    Marcie — April 29, 2011 @ 12:08 pm Reply

    Definitely love Stevia, I use vanilla stevia in my baking and its delish!

  4. 4

    Elina (Healthy and Sane) — April 29, 2011 @ 1:03 pm Reply

    Um, you make it sound good but I still don't think I'm ready for asparagus muffins…. or cupcakes? You definitely get an A for creativity though! I like the eye candy.

  5. 5

    Molly — April 29, 2011 @ 1:24 pm Reply

    These sound phenomenal!Also, I have that same platter! Do you have the whole "Audrey" set from Crate and Barrel? Those are our everyday dishes. :-)

  6. 6

    Natalie Perry — April 29, 2011 @ 2:31 pm Reply

    Eight years ago I would have turned up my nose, too (and my husband). I'm totally digging these! And I never realized how weighed down by food I was until I started eating more fruits and vegetables and less starch. I love it :) Stevia's great, too. I use it in my tea, but I've never tried the flavored kinds!

  7. 7

    Dawn Hutchins — April 29, 2011 @ 3:09 pm Reply

    I love that he liked this idea! My hubby would be like cool. I'll make a pb&j haha. This is too funny, I just made cashew cream cheese last night for my detox and this recipe would be perfect! Saving!

  8. 8

    Meredyth Haas — April 29, 2011 @ 3:38 pm Reply

    I'd LOVE to try Stevia – I have a sweet tooth, but don't need the extra calories. Plus I want something all natural!

  9. 9

    Gwyn — April 29, 2011 @ 3:53 pm Reply

    I've actually tried the vanilla stevia at my Aunt's house – I'd love to have a bottle of my own! :)I love zucchini muffins & I love asparagus – I think I'll have to give these a go!

  10. 10

    Kaytorade — April 29, 2011 @ 4:16 pm Reply

    Since I don't like asparagus, I would probably just eat the frosting and pass on the muffin to one of you asparagus loving weirdos!

  11. 11

    Fooddreamer — April 29, 2011 @ 4:56 pm Reply

    Wow, asparagus, I never would have thunk it. They look great! As for the nu naturals, I would love to try their brand of stevia. I've used others but heard that theirs is wonderful.

  12. 12

    Fooddreamer — April 29, 2011 @ 4:58 pm Reply

    Just linked up with my most recent recipe, which like almost all of mine, is made with stevia!

  13. 13

    Fooddreamer — April 29, 2011 @ 4:59 pm Reply

    Stumbled!

  14. 14

    Joanne — April 29, 2011 @ 5:12 pm Reply

    Only you, Cara! By which I mean, only you could make something this crazy work! I adore asparagus so…I will be making these. And probably not telling anyone I know what went in them before shoving one down they're throat. But what they don't know…in this case, will probably make them stronger. :P

  15. 15

    Scandifoodie — April 29, 2011 @ 6:35 pm Reply

    Wow, gorgeous muffins and I love cashew cream! This recipe is bookmarked!

  16. 16

    Anna Michaud — April 29, 2011 @ 7:48 pm Reply

    I've been very curious about stevia and would love to try it!

  17. 17

    Nive — April 29, 2011 @ 11:05 pm Reply

    Have tried a sample of Stevia before and loved it…a great substitute for sugar and would like to win this giveaway just for that reason….ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

  18. 18

    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat — April 30, 2011 @ 3:09 am Reply

    Now THAT'S a creative way to use asparagus! Love it! Glad we connected on Twitter. :)

  19. 19

    Charlie — April 30, 2011 @ 3:35 am Reply

    I've never seen asparagus in muffins! Sounds interesting!Might give it a try :).P.S. not entering the giveaway.

  20. 20

    Jaime Huff — April 30, 2011 @ 3:41 am Reply

    Wow. What an intereesting recipe. I really want to try this! Thanks for the chance, I love Stevia!

  21. 21

    Brooke Lippy — April 30, 2011 @ 8:30 pm Reply

    I decided to do something on the sweet side as well. :) Your muffins look wonderful. I want to try them, but I may have to wait to sneak them past the 6 year old. :)

  22. 22

    Brooke Lippy — April 30, 2011 @ 8:33 pm Reply

    p.s. just signed up for Bloggers for Hope! Awesome Idea!

  23. 23

    Natkir3 — April 30, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I am pretty boring with adding stevia…usually coffee/tea and well, on my popcorn with cinnamon :) But I have seen some great ideas for uses (including on your blog) that I would love to try!Your mufffins….yum! Look fabulous…

  24. 24

    Ricki — May 1, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    I guess I'm weird, too, because these sound amazing to me! Thank you so much for stretching your creativity to come up with something as fantastic as this :D And I laughed when I read your comment about fat-free topping and pudding mix–were we living in the same house? ;) I love your entry to the SOS Challenge this month–thank you for submitting it!

  25. 25

    Melissa — May 1, 2011 @ 8:05 pm Reply

    I definitely wouldn't think to make asparagus muffins on my own, but yours look good and cashew cream sounds delicious! I wonder what other nuts could be turned into frosting…I've never tried Stevia. I just read about it the other day and would be happy to try it!

  26. 26

    Lauryn v. — May 2, 2011 @ 1:19 pm Reply

    i've never tried stevia but am always looking for healthy alternatives!!!!

  27. 27

    chrysta — May 2, 2011 @ 4:37 pm Reply

    I love stevia! I actually use it daily to sweeten up plain greek yogutr and my oatmeal.

  28. 28

    Kelly — May 2, 2011 @ 9:59 pm Reply

    You're incredibly creative. Asparagus as a cupcake? I never would have thought.

  29. 29

    grace — May 3, 2011 @ 6:09 am Reply

    i've never tried stevia, though i've only heard good things about it. now, as for these muffins, cara, i have my doubts. asparagus is slooooowly growing on me, but i'm not at this point of bravery yet. :)

  30. 30

    Erin — May 3, 2011 @ 4:12 pm Reply

    Those look delicious and right up my alley! I've been meaning to try the NuNaturals brand for a while now…heard so many good things about it.

  31. 31

    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos — May 3, 2011 @ 9:23 pm Reply

    wow i LOVE the idea of putting veggies into baked goods. asparagus in a cupcake sounds yummy!! esp. paired with cashew cream!! great recipe!

  32. 32

    JW — May 5, 2011 @ 2:27 pm Reply

    I like stevia and think its great to use as an alternative to sugar.

  33. 33

    JW — May 5, 2011 @ 2:28 pm Reply

    I tweeted! @butterjessfly

  34. 34

    nik — May 7, 2011 @ 2:37 pm Reply

    I haven't tried stevia, but I'd really like to. I've only tried Splenda as a substitute but didn't like it, so I'd like to find a better sub. Thanks!

  35. 35

    Throuthehaze — May 9, 2011 @ 1:07 am Reply

    I have not tried stevia yet but I have been wanting to because I have come across a lot of recipes lately that use it

  36. 36

    Kevin (Closet Cooking) — May 11, 2011 @ 12:45 am Reply

    I like the sound of asparagus muffins!

  37. 37

    chrysta — June 1, 2011 @ 2:01 am Reply

    I love stevia! I actually use it daily to sweeten up plain greek yogutr and my oatmeal.

  38. 38

    Meredyth Haas — June 1, 2011 @ 2:01 am Reply

    I'd LOVE to try Stevia – I have a sweet tooth, but don't need the extra calories. Plus I want something all natural!

  39. 39

    Becky @ Skinnyfat Girls — October 1, 2011 @ 4:03 am Reply

    I absolutely love stevia! And I am elated at having found your blog. Asparagus in muffins excites me more than you can understand. I think veggies should be put in everything, no exceptions! And if you've never made brownies with chickpeas and flax, well, YOU MUST! Totally delicious and good for you all at once.

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