Seeded Pumpkin and Feta Muffins
Savory muffins packed with spinach, feta and Parmesan cheeses, black pepper, mustard, and sunflower seeds. Adapted from a recipe in a lovely little self-published Australian cookbook, Martha Goes Green.
I originally highlighted this recipe in 2010, and revisited it last week. So good! You all know by now, I love self-published cookbooks. Particularly ones with a strong point of view, thoughtful design, and inspired recipes. In that spirit, I have a gem to share with you this afternoon. It is a light-hearted little cookbook titled Martha Goes Green, created by a media-savvy trio of friends in Melbourne, Australia. The book includes a recipe for these sunflower seed and spinach-flecked pumpkin feta muffins. Savory muffin fans, you know who you are, these don't disappoint. When I spent a month traveling around New Zealand a few years back, it became clear that New Zealand is the land of the A+ muffin. Scones too, but muffins in particular. There were lots of savory versions to choose from, but my favorites always had winter squash in them. If this book is any indication, I suspect Australia might be similar. Anyhow, these muffins are exactly the sort of thing I crave and remember from that trip. I love the kick of black pepper here, and the blend of cheese. It's not quite pumpkin season here, so I substituted butternut squash. But really, just about any winter squash will do. As far as the specs of the book go, Martha Goes Green is a collection of about fifty vegetarian recipes. It is just shy of 100 pages, spiral-bound and printed on recycled paper using vegetable based inks. Nearly all of the recipes have been photographed, and the book is punctuated with adorable illustrations by Jessica Honey. The recipes have an accessible, achievable vibe to them and I have the vegetarian pho, satay curry, stir fried noodles, and lentil mushroom moussaka earmarked to try next. The book doesn't seem to be available anymore (it has been over a decade), but you can still check in on some of the recipes here and here on Rosie's site. Other things to know about these muffins from people who have baked them over the years: Michele says, "I froze a bunch, so wanted to let you all know they freeze well. And, while this is probably obvious, they need to be stored in the fridge. I forgot they weren’t “regular muffins” and just left them in a container on the counter and the cheese went bad." Julia noted, "I only had fresh dill instead of the parsley and asiago in place of the parmesan. Was still really tasty." And, I've also done a version with pumpkin seeds in place of the sunflower seeds. Also great. There are a bunch of other ingredient swap suggestions in the comments along with people reporting back on gluten-free and vegan versions!
Seeded Pumpkin and Feta Muffins
The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. There are a couple different flour combinations you might explore. The original: you can use unbleached all-purpose flour - 2 cups / 9 oz / 260g. Alternatively, I use equal parts APF and spelt flour which translates to 1 cup / 4.5 oz/ 130g APF + 1 cup / 4 oz / 115g spelt flour. I might try a whole wheat pastry flour version next time - using 2/3 wpp + 1/3 apf, the first time around - to see how that goes. You might need to add an extra splash of milk though.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups / 9 oz / 255g cubed pumpkin or butternut squash, 1/2-inch cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
- 1/4 cup / 4T. sunflower seeds kernels
- 3/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g freshly grated Parmesan
- 100 g / 3.5 oz / 1/2 cup cubed feta
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup / 180 ml milk
- 2 cups flour (see headnote!)
- 4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third. Use the butter to grease a 12-hole muffin pan and set aside, alternately, use paper liners.
Sprinkle the olive oil and some salt and pepper over the squash. Toss well and turn onto a baking sheet or roasting pan. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 - 25 minutes or until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool. You can do this step a couple days in advance, and refrigerate the squash until you're ready to use it.
Transfer two-thirds of the squash to a large mixing bowl along with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, two-thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard. Gently fold together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together and add to the squash mix. Sift the flour and baking powder onto the squash mix, top with the salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper and fold together just until the batter comes together, be careful not to over mix.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full, top each muffin with a bit of the remaining squash and feta (see photo up above). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. I like these muffins cooled a bit, served just warmer than room temperature.
Adapted from a recipe in Martha Goes Green by Rosie Percival and Ruth Friedlander.
1 hr 5 mins
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Heidi ever since you published the Maranui salad recipe with butternut squash and garbanzo beans I have been so thankful you went to New Zealand, because when I went all I could cook to save my life was Indian food. Now that you publish these recipes it allows me to use my cooking skills to relive my times abroad. While I hitchhiked through New Zealand I sustained myself through fish and chips, fruit, and many many savory muffins and pies. Now that I actually know how to cook and bake I can totally recreate this wonderful treat. And to Kee, holy **** yes serve this with soup. My favorite soup with pumpkin muffins was straight up old-fashioned tomato vegetable soup. It doesn't even matter what veggies you have (but beans are the best) but I could live off a pot of that soup and a dozen muffins every few days.
I just realized reading this that I've never even tried a savory muffin. This may be the start of a whole new baking obsession. Thanks!
Hi Heidi, as another commenter stated, your use of butternut squash is probably spot on - we call everything pumpkin down here, I usually use butternut for recipes calling for pumpkin anyway since it's easier to handle. Savoury muffins are definitely widespread in NZ, but not so much in Australia. There are savoury scones, but not many muffins...pumpkin and sweet potato are also crazily popular over there, pumpkin is dearly loved here as well, especially in vegetarian dishes. I'm thinking a pumpkin/ricotta/basil muffin would be good.
I love feta and their are so many varieties of pumpkins or squash that are in season here in PA. What a perfectly interesting recipe and I love savory breads. The ingredient that got my attention is the mustard. I use lots of mustard in my kitchen but not usually in breads. Lovely recipe and inspiration.
I've been seeing so many sweet pumpkin recipes that it's nice to see a savoury version for a change. These look tempting!
mm..this looks so delicious. i'm a big fan of savory muffins, and i have a butternut squash in my kitchen that's waiting to be used! thanks for the lovely recipe.:)
Hi Heidi, So awesome to see one of our recipes on 101 cookbooks, and the muffins look great in your beautiful muffin tray! Yep savoury muffins are definitely an NZ thing... Rosie, Jess and I are all from NZ originally, and although you can find them in Australia, they are nowhere near as popular as they are back home. In fact when I first moved over it took a bit of getting used to.. not having a range of Savoury muffins to choose from in every cafe I walked into was almost enough to make me reconsider my move! Thanks again for featuring the recipe, it's so neat to see someone else's interpretation of the dish! x HS: Thank you Ruth, and again, congrats to the three of you. The muffins were a big hit, and the book is super cute. Can't wait to see what you do next.
Australians don't call things "squash". It's all pumpkin (ex butternut pumpkin etc.) as they don't have traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkins here, they generally mean butternut squash or jap pumpkin when they refer to "pumpkin" in a recipe. So your sub isn't really that far off! NZ was the first place I found savoury muffins too, but it's also an Aus thing. Delicious, I must make these.
What the wha?! Genius. I might just go veggie for these bad larrys.
Wow, savory muffins sound amazing! I've got a butternut and a kabocha lying in wait on my counter . . . I think one of them is destined for muffin greatness =)
Pumpkin and feta -- what a wonderful idea! I do so love butternut squash, too, so I might have to folow your lead with the substitutions. In any event, what a lovely dish, and a wonderful post.
What a beautiful looking book - I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. And I agree with Emm - your muffin tins are gorgeous!
It was funny to see this come through my google reader, as I got my copy in the post yesterday! I really love the look and feel of it. And I also already have a bunch of recipes earmarked! It's also interesting that some people are surprised at the combo of feta and pumpkin - probably because pumpkin and feta risotto is such a veg staple at cafes where I live!! :)
I would have never combined the 2 - what a fabulous combo!
These savory muffins are perfect for right now and healthy too :) Btw, I love the muffin tin. Is it from your recent trip to Italy? HS: Hi Nisrine, thanks. I picked it up at a flea market here at home. I see them every now and then for a few dollars.
I would never consider feta and pumpkin as a combo - but hey they look great so maybe I'd like them after all! I was surprised to see cilantro as an ingredient - it's flavor must be less intense when cooking.
These are like a complete meal- whole grains, vegetables, protein! They look delicious. Heidi (or anyone else), what would you serve with these?? I am thinking some kind of soup...
Great recipe thanks Heidi. I love that you have used an Australian cookbook. Pumpkin/squash and feta is definitely a stock standard combo down here. Great as a risotto mix too.
I might try these with some cornmeal added to the flour mix, with swiss chard, and grated gouda cheese seeing that is what I have in my fridge.
Hey Heidi, So stoked you love the book. I knew you would! Pumpkin and feta feature in EVERYTHING here in New Zealand so it's funny to hear people say they would never of thought of that combo, actually feta seems to be put in everything, fullstop. Rosie will be excited to see your review, I know she's been hanging out as much as I have to see it. Love Love Love your muffin tins :-) HS: Thank you Emm for tipping me off to it! Love seeing what you guys are up to in your kitchens down there.