Cheesy Garden Vegetable & Herb Muffins – my nutritious, versatile lunchbox and healthy snack recipe. A perfect protein and fiber-packed mini-meal for traveling, too.
I know I don’t really post “child-friendly” recipes all that often, much less label them as such. However, after making these tender, vegetable-packed muffins I realised that they would be perfect tucked into a lunchbox.
Or nibbled for breakfast.
Or munched alongside a lunchtime bowl of soup.
Definitely a stop-gap, mid-afternoon snack at the desk to prevent keyboard slump.
You get the idea. Versatile.
Although my daughter has flown the nest (third year at University of St Andrew’s), I am programmed to still think about healthy afterschool-type snacks – nutritious nibbles to tide anyone over until dinner.
The last home-time snack I can recall preparing over and over again (her ask, not mine) was kale crisps, hoovered up by both of us as they came out of the oven. We both find them surprisingly filling for something so light and ephemeral. I particularly love them because they are naturally salty tasting owing to the high mineral content. These savoury, vegetable flecked muffins are equally satisfying, as well as flexible. Flexible as in the flavour options, NOT because they are rubbery!
Feel free to sub in whatever vegetables and flavourings that you like, and even ditch the cheese and egg to make it vegan (the how-to, below). There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of combinations to explore. You could try chopped cauliflower or grated beetroot with goat’s cheese; chopped asparagus with lemon zest in the spring (hello Australia and New Zealand!); roasted squash and rosemary. Or go left field with a punchy spice blend or curry powder, crushed chickpeas, and dried shallots. Let your imagination run wild!
I haven’t made these yet with a gluten-free flour blend or any of the naturally gluten-free flours, but I may try and get the ingredients for this homemade all-purpose gluten-free flour blend recipe.
I am off to Japan quite soon (!!) and I will be making these to ensure I have something filling that tastes nice on the loooong flight to Tokyo. I will also be ordering a Hindu meal (and getting some confused stares I imagine) – my tip for getting an interesting veggie meal on any flight. I’ve never been disappointed with this canny strategy. 🙂
Oh, have a giggle at this funny, quick scene from British sitcom, Miranda – the savoury muffin sketch. Thanks to Kevin for bringing it to my attention. 🙂
Have you been doing any autumnal baking? Do you have any favourite savory muffin recipes or flavour combinations to share? If you are a gluten-free baker, what’s your advice for the best flour options when making muffins?
Cheesy Vegetable and Herb Muffins
These uber-savory, nutritious, versatile lunchbox and healthy snack muffins are super-easy to make. Eat some now and freeze some for later. Oh, vegan options are listed below, too. xx
150g wholemeal/wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (soda bic)
1/4 tsp salt
50g fine cornmeal/polenta
2 medium eggs (or two chia/flax eggs – what I did)
50ml olive oil or rapeseed oil
200ml buttermilk or yogurt
70g cooked spinach, kale and/or chard – squeezed and chopped (I used kale and chard)
50g grated extra mature/extra sharp Cheddar cheese (or other strongly flavoured cheese)
5 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water then chopped
2 tbsp dried shallots or onions (no salt) OR 1/2 red onion, finely chopped and sauteed until soft
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs – I used basil, parsley and rosemary from the garden. Dill, lovage, coriander, oregano, thyme would all be good. Not all together 😉
Palmful of sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400F. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin or use baking cases in the tin.
2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, soda bic into a large mixing bowl; stir in the cornmeal.Whisk the eggs, oil, buttermilk in a jug and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix very gently with a spatula or metal spoon (wooden ones mush things), then add the vegetables, herbs, tomato pieces, onion and cheese, mixing lightly.
3. Spoon into the prepared tin and top with the seeds. Slide into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Eat warm or room temperature. If freezing, wrap individual muffins in parchment paper and pop in a freezer bag; defrost at room temperature. Use within three months.
Make it vegan: ditch the cheese and add 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast; use 2 tbsp ground chia or flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp of water (let sit for 10 minutes) in place of the egg; use non-dairy yogurt in place of buttermilk/dairy yogurt
- chopped steamed/roasted/fried cauliflower or broccoli + goats cheese + thyme leaves
- grated beetroot or carrot + dill or parsley + za’atar
- chopped raw asparagus + dill + lemon zest
- dry curry spice blend + mashed chickpeas + dried onion + leaf coriander/cilantro
- roasted squash or sweet potato + rosemary
- peas + grated carrot + grain mustard.
A few more healthy and delicious lunchbox and snack recipes from Food To Glow (loads more in my Recipe Index):
Apricot and Citrus No Bake Bars (dunk in chocolate for a raw Jaffa cake!)
Artichoke and Spinach “No-Meatballs” (really tasty cold with a pot of low-sugar, low-salt ketchup!)!)
Cocoa-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds + Salt & Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds ( a great up-cycle for all of those seeds that tend to go to waste in autumn cooking)
No-Bake Cookie Dough Brownie Bites (the secret ingredient is…!)
Scandinavian Multi-Seed Crackers (my absolute favourite cracker)
Super-Smooth Hummus – a classic recipe made easier to digest!
Add a pop up colour and sweet with Beetroot and Cashew Hummus
Puffed Rice and Cardmom Cashew Bites for a healthier rice crispy cake
Malted Wholegrain and Quinoa Granola – lovely and “clumpy”, so perfect for munching!
Brilliant muffins from fellow food writers:
Cauliflower Cheese Bread with Marinara Dipping Sauce (plus tips for raising healthy eaters)
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