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savoury vegetable muffinsMuffins get a bad rap. Paraphrasing a British expression about US GIs – used disparagingly during WW2 – they are over-filled, over-sweet and over here. But muffins don’t have to be the gummy-textured, American-style behemoths beloved of overpriced (and over here) coffee chains. They don’t even need to be sweet. And, dear Lord, they can even be healthy.

But the real clincher is their simplicity. Savoury muffin making is bread making for Dummies. So, perfect for non-bakers such as myself. No faffy yeast (‘is this the kind I have to revive in water, or the one you add straight in?’). No agonising wait ‘for proof.’ Just mix the dry stuff and the wet stuff, pour into tins and wait a mere 20 minutes. And since there is nothing to ice, you can eat them pretty much straight away. Straight out of the tin if you are hungry enough.savoury vegetable muffinsAnd we were. I didn’t get many pictures taken as we were too busy shovelling warm, cheesy, vegetabley muffins straight in our gobs. A warm muffin waits for no one, especially not an amateur photographer with a hungry family being restrained only by a wooden spoon.

I caved in pretty quickly. Mr A had just returned from the infamous Monster Bike and Hike (30 mile cycle in the undulating Highlands of Scotland and a 43 mile hill run) so was hungrier than I have ever seen him. Even after telling me his team had, on the return car journey, a massive Scottish ‘fry up’ (don’t ask) AND three hours later a 4-egg omelette at the Ballinluig Motor Grill (!) , I was hard pressed to fill him up.

So, savoury muffins and a roast chicken dinner with five vegetables and Yorkshire puddings finally did the trick. As an indulgent aside from me, kudos must go to all 500+ competitors, and the ultra-hard working support teams and volunteers for this huge Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres fund-raiser. I hope you/they are having a well-deserved Monday Bank Holiday rest today. Special shout outs to Issy, Mark, Nick, Laura, Marie, Dougie and Nathan for speedy times and a courageous effort.

Mr A's gold medal!

Mr A’s gold medal!

Back to our regularly scheduled recipe: this one can go many ways. Although I have them with spring vegetables, I can only imagine how great these would taste with roasted aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. The spicing too is flexible. I love kalonji seeds, and any excuse to use turmeric, so I went with a kind of Indian vibe. But as I swiped a muffin through some soft, leftover lemon thyme butter (used under the chicken’s skin to keep it moist) I found that this was lovely too. I have given other flavour ideas in the recipe but, like last week’s Moroccan carrot salad recipe, the basic recipe is but a template. Go wild. Make them big, make them wee. Fill them with shredded beetroot and goats cheese. Stuff them with homemade pesto and wild garlic leaves. Just don’t try and find them in a coffee shop. It’s our little savoury secret. Shh.

Are you using vegetables in unexpected ways? Do you find coffee shop muffins over-rated, or am I just being a food snob?

savoury vegetable muffins

Sunny Spring Vegetable Breakfast Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I saw a recent post from Green Kitchen Stories for their Turmeric Breakfast Muffins and realized I make something not dissimilar, but savoury rather than sweet. We both use oats with our flour, although theirs has almonds too. In fact my Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower muffins from a few years back are probably more similar – and very, very good. But today’s muffins are filled with other spring goodies, and turmeric too.

Even if you don’t trust me, trust the Swedish lifestyle gurus at GSK. Homemade breakfast muffins are the bomb. Bake some, eat some, freeze some. Perfect also for lunch boxes, picnics (when we get the weather!), as a savoury nibble at ‘Elevenses’ and in lieu of bread with soup. Or straight out of the tin. Just saying.

Dry Ingredients:

200g (1 & 2/3 cups) sifted spelt flour or AP/plain flour (or cut with some wholemeal flour)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda/ bicarbonate of soda

¾  tbsp turmeric

½ tsp dry mustard

½ tsp black pepper

90g (1 cup) oats (not jumbo oats)

¼ tsp nigella seeds/kalonji seeds/black onion seeds – plus extra

½ tsp fine salt

100g strong cheese of choice – vintage Cheddar, vegetarian Parmesan, smoked Dunlop (latter is what I used) OR 100g toasted chopped nuts/seeds + 3 tbsp nutritional yeast/Brewer’s yeast


75g (about 3 packed cups) baby spinach

1 medium carrot

2-3 tbsp chopped fresh chives or wild garlic leaves (I used 3)

Wet Ingredients:

150ml (2/3 cup) buttermilk OR plant/dairy yogurt OR dairy/plant milk with ½ tsp lemon juice added to sour it (I used buttermilk)

75ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten OR 3 tbsp chia or flax seeds soaked in 9 tbsp of water for 15 minutes (to make it gel-like)

To garnish: asparagus tips, pumpkin seeds and/or nigella seeds

1. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400F.

2. First of all blanch the spinach. Place damp spinach in a steamer and cook until wilted. When cool, squeeze the spinach in your hand to remove most of the liquid. For the carrots, carrot them and squeeze them in a clean tea towel. Set aside.

3. Sift the first five ingredients into a large mixing bowl; add in the remaining dry ingredients – I use a whisk, and fork through the cheese. Use a fork to mix in the cooked spinach, grated carrots and the chives.

4. In a jug, whisk/beat together the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Pour this over the dry ingredients and use a metal spoon to gently fold until no flour shows. But only just until this happens – any longer and the muffins will be tough. Unlike bread-making, where you want to work the gluten, for muffins you want to barely introduce the wet and dry ingredients so as not to work the gluten.

5. Use a 1/3 cup measure or large ice cream scoop to fill the prepared tin. The recipe makes about 12 muffins for a standard British muffin tin but yours may be larger so will need more batter in each. Fill to about three-quarters up.savoury vegetable muffins

6. Lay on the asparagus tips, if using, as well as any seeds. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and the sides are just pulling away from the tin. Leave to cool for about 10 minute before loosening with a knife and cooling a bit more on a wire rack. Or, eat them straight away!

These muffins will freeze well but are best allowed to defrost then gently reheated for 5 minutes in a 180C/160C fan/350F oven.

Other Options to Consider: goats cheese, shredded raw beetroot and carrot (squeezed in a towel) lemon thyme; tiny diced roasted aubergine and peppers with mi-cuit style tomatoes, oregano and rosemary; grated squash, lovage, chives, feta or olives; baby peas, mint, parsley, feta and walnuts.

savoury vegetable muffins

Miss R’s Track of the Week: Jai Paul’s “Jasmine”

As this is loaded with unexpected veg I think this qualifies for the Extra Veg challenge hosted by Shaheen at Allotment2Kitchen, Michelle at Utterly Scrummy and founded by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours. And also over to the very kind and always welcoming Mark over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/ Luv blog for his Made With Love Mondays. Thanks!






52 thoughts on “Sunny Spring Vegetable Breakfast Muffins

  1. cheri says:

    I am a glutton for savory breads and muffins, love this flavor combination, looks like a match made in heaven.

    1. Cheers Cherie!

  2. Wow these looks really good!

  3. kyangel17 says:

    I am going to enjoy these. I’ll make them early Friday so they will be ready when a friend shows up at 9:00 a.m.

    1. Thanks for putting me on your menu. What you could do is prepare the dry and wet ingredients separately the night before and just mix them together on the morning. How’s that?

  4. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Like those over-iced, sickly cupcakes that some stores make en masse, some muffins are over rated too! These sound delicious, Kellie. Pinned.

    1. Thanks Liz. I too am never tempted by the iced anythings at the store. I wouldn’t want to waste my daily calories on something mediocre, at best.

  5. Hi Kellie, it’s been a while since we last spoke but congrats on the great post. The photos are so colourful and the muffins look delicious. What a great way to use up leftovers. Happy cooking 🙂

    1. Hi Brendon. Nice to hear from you. I hadn’t thought in terms of these using up leftovers, but you are right! This would be a good way to use up some leftover roast vegetables or vegetables languishing in the back of the fridge. Good idea!

  6. This looks spectacular!

  7. Deena Kakaya says:

    So simple, as you say but look at that but of magic! Your savoury muffins are lifestyle perfect for people like me who often eat on the and need to follow a lower GI diet. They remind me of Gujarati handvo, in a very good way x

    1. Ooh, not heard of handvo. Must look that up! Thank you for your approval. These would be medium GI, I reckon.

  8. LizH says:

    Yum!, I love a good savoury muffin, love the asparagus on top.

    1. Thank you, Liz!

  9. chinskitchen says:

    Absolutely delicious Kellie and a fabulous way to enjoy vegetables in a creative way. Love the colours and agree they are so easy to make. Great way to sneak in extra veg for kids, brilliant for picnic hampers too 🙂

    1. Thank so much, Chin. You are right that it would be a good way to get a little extra veg into a child’s diet. Mine is 18 on Friday so sometimes I am not on that wavelength (Plus she eats everything!). Thanks for the reminder.

  10. FarmToFace says:

    I love this idea!!! I’ll definitely give this a go! 🙂

  11. Love it!! Love any savoury, non sugary version of anything! They look so good, such fabulous photos xx and congratulations to hubby on his medal, very well deserved!

    1. And they would be good with some of those cute courgettes you have been getting too! Yellow ones would be lovely. If you had any leftover, that is.

      1. I do indeed!! I also plan to buy some more 🙂

  12. Oooh, these look lovely. I’ve got lots of summer visitors coming and I would love to serve these up for brekkie. I might try freezing some and popping in the oven to warm up.
    Massive congrats to all the Monster Team from all of us, really brilliant.

    1. They freeze very well. Just defrost in the fridge and warm in the oven when the time is right. Sounds like you have a busy summer ahead of you!

  13. Lady, I am with you on the muffin situation. But don’t let GSK fool you into thinking it’s any better here in Sweden; on the contrary, I’d say it’s worse. You see, there is no Swedish word that means ‘healthy or healthy-ish baked item you might eat for breakfast or a snack’ and what they refer to as ‘muffins’ actually equals small cakes. I’ve actually never eaten one, but the husband frequently brings them home from the coffee shop or bakery, and they look every bit the North American cake style muffin to me. Anyhoo, I obviously dig home made muffins and have in fact been eating savory muffins for breakfast lately, a grain-free protein-packed cottage cheese muffin. Yum! I love the idea of these, and of packing extra veg in. Will have to give them a try soon!

    1. I must try your cottage cheese ones. I rarely eat cottage cheese (reminds me of sad, restrictive diets my mother would try in the 70s!) But in a muffin, of course. And I didn’t know that about Sweden. It seems such a health conscious country. We have a Swedish bakery/cafe here in Edinburgh that serves amazing yeasted cardamom buns. They are of an appropriate size and very delicious! Come to Edinburgh to see how we interpret Swedish baking! Delicious coffee too.

      1. I’d love to come to Edinburgh some day! Though Swedish baking wouldn’t be high on my list of must-do’s! The only place I’ve been to in Scotland is Aberdeen (we almost moved there) and I really must expand my horizons!

      2. Next time you are in the UK we must meet up again x

  14. And not a spoonful of sugar in sight! That’s what I’m especially impressed with. Apart from a couple of things: only a wooden spoon?! And the merits of, not only muffins, quick breads/food stuff. I don’t think we give enough credit to them. Everything’s oh wow yeast. As for muffins, I still haven’t gone the savoury route. And must! Oh, and I love those little bread pans.

    Dunlop cheese? Don’t remember that. Although, it’s a long time since I’ve been to Dumfries. What were those baps called, with the floury stuff on top!? If I have to use yeast I want to try them. 🙂

    1. Morning rolls? Is that what you are thinking of? Little pillows of baked and floured air? Lovely to have you commenting. Are you originally from Scotland?

      1. Thank you for that name. Yes, that’s what I was thinking of. I’ve had a look on Google, and finding recipes to be very different from each other (there’s a surprise!). And none seem to suggest what the texture on top would be. Apart from maybe the dough being rolled in ground rice. Anyway, I’ve found this link which I may try at some stage. It also helps to explain why I’ve never been able to eat much shop-bought bread.
        N. Irish. Favourite Aunt lived in Dumfries for most of her life. So I used to spend quite a lot of time there. Haven’t been to Scotland in years! Too long.

      2. Ah. Love NI. A very friendly part of the world. I don’t know anything about the process of making morning rolls but I’m sure it is very specialist.

  15. Lori says:

    I have never thought about making “savory” muffins….these sound so good!

    1. Thank you Lori. And as you can see, very adaptable too. I like adaptable. I am rubbish at following other’s recipes – and rules in general!

      1. Lori says:

        Yes, adaptable is good! 🙂

  16. Shannon Lim says:

    I’m with you about the overrated muffins at coffee shops and bakeries. Love muffins because they are so stupid-easy, but I hardly bake savoury ones. Carrot with rosemary are really good. Must try some spiced ones next time.. love the pesto idea 🙂

  17. Gorgeous pics! And and interesting recipe :).

  18. Jessye Hipp says:

    Thanks for this new savory muffin recipe!! I can’t wait to try it with the fresh spring asparagus in the markets right now! Yum!

  19. What a good idea, I think I’ll make these to go with a soup on the weekend. I love how adaptable the recipe can be too and a brilliant way to use up bits and pieces lying in the fridge! I don’t hunk I have ever bought a coffee shop muffin. They look vile and must contain a day’s worth of calories and they are far too big. Home made all the way 😉

    1. I would love to think you were making these for your family! They are really useful as a template, for sure. Would you let me know (if you make them) what you put with them? and what soup too? Pop a link to the soup if you have one 😉 PS I have never bought one of those muffins either. Croissant yes (at the airport when desperate), but not those Brobdingnagian muffins. Life’s too short to eat something you know you won’t like, and feel rubbish if you do so.

  20. I might have too give these a go.

  21. narf77 says:

    I have been looking for something savoury for breakfast. My buckwheat porridge is delicious but after a month or so of the same breakfast it gets a bit monotonous. Time for a change but in my case I will use grated winter veggies. A lovely recipe that certainly looks the biz and that can double as faux bread with soup, excellent share ma’am 🙂

    1. Thanks my lovely friend from Down Under! Butternut squash and rosemary would be LOVELY

      1. narf77 says:

        AND I have a soup meal planned for tonight as it has been Scottish cold here of late so a hot bowl or two of scrumptious veggie and lentil (maybe even barley) soup with some of these muffins (vegan for me, not for Steve) will be complete soul food. Cheers for the share Kellie as this sort of thing could certainly become a staple here on Serendipity Farm over the winter months with Brunhilda doing her thang SO very well 🙂

      2. Is Brun already on??? I guess if it is Scottish-cold it would be. Poor you. I really hope you enjoy the idea of these and make your own spectacular version. I would love to hear what you come up with, and what vegan method you do.

      3. narf77 says:

        I think I will try using besan (chickpea) flour and flax eggs, I found a recipe for making flax meringue, might be good to add lightness to muffins? I wonder if it could be made savoury? Here’s the recipe, it certainly opens up some interesting vegan thoughts about meringue 🙂

        Just noticed that it doesn’t have sugar in the actual prep so I am going to see if it will work in lightening up cakey type recipes I feel an experiment on the go!

      4. You are a clever one, Fran. Always finding interesting links. Thanks so much for sharing.

      5. narf77 says:

        I dare say you know a lot of people who could use that info and who might be wondering how they can get body into healthy desserts if they can’t have eggs. Apparently the woman who invented that technique has perfected vegan meringues so I can’t wait for her book next year 🙂

  22. shaheen says:

    Thank you so much for entering into the Extra Veg event that i am hosting. I haven’t had savoury muffins in a long time, and you have inspired me to make some very soon.

  23. Sophie33 says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMMM8 What glorious winning muffins! They look stunning! 😉

  24. LIna says:

    I would say these are vicious delicious muffins. It is my first time ever preparing savoury muffins and now i know i will never be hungry again. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post 🙂 Btw the blue teardrop plate matches like poetry the muffins!

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