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.

Seeded Pumpkin and Feta Muffins
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.Pumpkin and Feta Muffins with Sunflower Seeds 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. Pumpkin and Feta Muffins with Sunflower Seeds 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. Pumpkin and Feta Muffins with Sunflower Seeds 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!
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Seeded Pumpkin and Feta Muffins

4.29 from 21 votes

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I'm buying this adorable cookbook and making those muffins!

Estela @ Weekly Bite

I'm not normally much of a savory muffin person but I'd make an exception for these! It's like a whole vegetarian meal in a muffin!


As another NZ'er here is my twopence worth. As many have said savoury muffins are everywhere here - some very good and some not so good. Pumpkin and feta is pretty mainstream. Re pumpkin (as we call them) varieties, we usually differentiate. Crown is the big grey standard pumpkin. Butternut is the gourd shaped cream skinned one and Buttercup is the flatter smaller green skinned one and my personal favourite. I think it has the best texture. As along time savoury muffin maker there are 2 things that should NEVER be put in a muffin - tomato and spring (green) onion. They both discolour and disintegrate into a horrible slimy texture. So for the person who wanted a flavour boost try something else other than spring onion. Maybe stronger feta or a robust herb, finely chopped rosemary, oregano or marjoram will work. Rebecca don't be "scared" of our food in NZ. It's brilliant! The only thing to be scared of is getting fat as many ex-pats do when they come here


these muffins look like a dream come true. and the book looks beautiful!

laura @ alittlebarefoot

I will so be trying these! These look wonderful :)

Amber H

Heidi, Another great recipe. Just finished eating three. I made a few substitutions: pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower and delicata squash instead of pumpkin. I thought they were good but could maybe use a bit more flavor, although it could just be the squash I used. I lived in New Zealand for six months last year and totally remember the savory muffins. They were everywhere. This made me reminisce about my lovely time there.


those look so good

azia graham



Wow, thank you!! I am about to move to New Zealand for ten months, and I am a bit scared of the food scene over there. This just made my day, plus these look super yummy. I am going to give them a shot before I head down under. From reminding me about my home (SF) to helping me prepare for my future, thank you!


I haven't made many savory muffins but I can't wait to try these!


Something creative! Yay!

A Teenage Gourmet

But PUMPKIN seeds instead of sunflower, coarsely chopped if need be, dontcha think? In my experience with Australian recipes (all during my time in India), they called for at least twice as many eggs as we would use. So I wouldn't worry about going vegan--subbing ground flax for eggs here.


I have to confess that this is a combination I haven't seen before but I'm intrigued... and anything with pumpkin has to be good!

TAbitha (from single to married)

Oh these look amazing!

Simply Life

Just made these for breakfast and they were lovely. Baked up just like the photo, with flecks of green from the spinach and golden cubes of squash. They were tasty, but despite all the cheese, seeds, and veg, I thought they could still use a flavor boost. (Full disclosure: I did use a soft goat cheese instead of feta, and GC probably isn't quite as salty.) Any suggestions on how to make them a bit more punchy? I was thinking chopped green onions, or maybe a spoonful of thyme or rosemary?


Can't wait to try the muffins. May I ask where you found the gorgeous muffin tin? Also, the olive shortbread has been a BIG hit in my circle. :-) HS: Happy to hear it Karen. I picked the muffin tin up at a flea market. Love metal baking tins.

Karen Larsen

The recipe looks interesting but.. I wonder about the use of FOUR teaspoons of baking powder? For two cups of flour? Really? I think the maximum I've normally seen used is two tsp for that amt of flour. Add to that the salt and the feta and it seems as if these babies would not only be savoury but very salty. (I'm not a big fan of large amounts of baking powder, I can taste it in food, plus the high amt of sodium isn't the healthiest). I wouldn't mind trying this but have my doubts about the massive amt of baking powder..


I'm vegan and was wondering how to replace the eggs. I'm usually a flax seed girl in these situations, but I get nervous when there is more than one egg to be replaced. Any thoughts on how to do this in a savory bread application?


these muffins looks so delicious! have a nice time! Paula


I also demand you use Bulgarian sheep's milk feta, because it is the best. Nothing else even compares to it (not even Bulgarian cow's milk feta). Being engaged to a Bulgarian, you get to know the best kind of feta very quickly, and no that Greek stuff does not even compete :-)


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