When I was in high-school, my family and I went to Costa Rica. It was a family vacation and we spent 12 days traveling around the country, seeing the jungle, the cloud forests, the pacific ocean (my first time!), watching colorful birds and interesting animals.
And while I can look back on each of those moments fondly, there is one part of the trip that really stands out.
I have two stories to tell about the mangos in Costa Rica.
The first is when we were driving along a dusty dirt road and saw a young woman and her son selling mangos on the side of the road. We stopped, got out of our van, unknowingly about to taste one of the sweetest fruits in the world.
The mangos were perfectly ripe. Sweet, soft and juicy. We peeled them with a pocket knife and ate them right there on the side of the road. Letting the juices drip down our chins; our fingers sticky and messy. It was better that what you can ever dream a fresh mango will taste like.
The second was at our final stop on the trip, where we stayed an an eco-friendly lodge that served fantastic Costa Rican cuisine. Breakfast was always a large plate of fruit, whatever the kitchen had on hand and was ripest at the time. On our last morning, they brought our plate of fruit, piled high with pineapples, papayas, and bananas.
But no mango.
No mango? That’s what I looked forward to each morning. I quickly asked if they had any ripe mangos in the kitchen and the man helping us turned to me and said, “Just one moment ma’am”.
You’ll never guess what he did next…
Instead of going back into the kitchen and asking the chefs to slice us up some mango, he went out onto the lawn and climbed up a mango tree. He disappeared into the dark green leaves, only to emerge a few minutes later with three perfectly ripe mangos.
He took them back to the kitchen, where they then sliced them up, and I can tell you right now, it was the best mango I have ever tasted in my whole life. And probably that I will ever taste. Talk about fresh.
Fresh mango is a luxury that I don’t often afford myself. It’s expensive, never ripens well and is generally a disappointment. But when I spied that Whole Foods was have a 10 for $10 sale, I hopped on the train and scooped me up some mango.
I made a bunch of different things (remember this overnight quinoa recipe?), but these tropical quinoa muffins had to be my favorite. They were everything that I love about the tropics wrapped up into a delicate, tender gluten-free muffin.
Studded with fresh mangos and flaked coconut, these muffins are a welcome escape to the tropics. I’ve loaded them with quinoa too – using toasted quinoa flour and quinoa flakes to truly turn them into quinoa muffins
Question of the day: Do you have a fruit story to tell? I’d love to hear it! Please share in the comments below.
- 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup toasted quinoa flour (see notes on why and how to toast quinoa flour)
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
- 2/3 cup quinoa flakes
- 1/3 shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon xanthan/guar gum
- 1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 medium bananas)
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons light flavored oil
- 1 mango, diced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
- Whisk together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat together banana, milk, egg and oil. Add to dry and mix until smooth. Fold in diced mangos.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling ¾ full. Bake on center rack for 25 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, let cool for 3 - 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.