Apple-Cinnamon Walnut Muffins Inspired by Sheila Ferguson

One of the most common questions I get about transitioning into a plant-based diet is “how to substitute dairy products?” Ironically, it is the easiest question to answer. When it comes to non-dairy milks, butters, etc., the market is overcrowded with alternatives. Each week, I will post a “vegan version” of a recipe inspired by a soul food cookbook or chef using plant-based alternatives for meat and dairy products. If you are truly interested in incorporating more plant-based foods in your diet, I believe these “transition recipes” will be a great place to start.

sheilaferguson-soulfoodThis week’s recipe is inspired by Sheila Ferguson’s “Apple Brown Muffins” from her cookbook, “Soul Food: Classic Cuisine from the Deep South”. This recipe makes about 12 muffins.

After a successful music career, Sheila’s soul food cookbook was published in 1989. She describes soul food as “soulfully cooked food or richly flavored foods good for your ever-loving soul”. The book includes three of her favorite muffin recipes- blueberry, pecan, and apple. We decided to prepare the apple muffin recipe using all plant-based ingredients. Before starting, Sheila offers a “practical word or two or three” to readers: “Never, never over-beat muffin batter”, fill any unfilled muffin cups with water to prevent scorching” and remove muffins to a cooling rack as soon as soon as the muffins are removed from the oven”.

Sheila Ferguson is most known for her participation in the group, ‘The Three Degrees’. Listen to an extended version of ‘Dirty Ol’ Man’, the group’s first 1973 hit song, while preparing ingredients for baking.


The left side of this chart shows the ingredients needed to make the conventional version of the recipe. The right side include a list of plant-based substitute ingredients. For our purposes, please use the ‘vegan ingredients’ to recreate the plant-based version of this recipe.

Apple Brown Muffins


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and mix all liquid ingredients in another (including Ener-G egg replacer). Pour all wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Remember, do not “overbeat”! Grease muffin cups (I use extra virgin olive oil). Pour mixture into muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from oven and set in a dry area for cooling. Enjoy!

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Walnut Muffins

Resources: Soul Food: Classic Cuisine from the Deep South by Sheila Ferguson (1989)


3 thoughts on “Apple-Cinnamon Walnut Muffins Inspired by Sheila Ferguson

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