Pumpkin, Part 3


OK, so the pumpkin thing was never meant to be a trilogy – the roasted pumpkin with tahini was supposed to simply be a savoury sequel to the pumpkin pie (and a way to use up the leftovers) – but then I couldn’t resist these muffins.  So this is now a three-parter, but given the abundance of pumpkin and squash at the moments, more recipes containing them can hardly be a bad thing.  Again, these are rather a good way of using up leftover pumpkin or squash as you only need about 250g (the average butternut weighs about a kilo) and you could easily modify the other ingredients to use up leftover bits you have hanging around the fridge, although we’ll get on to that later.

Savoury muffins, for me, are always the acceptable face of baking.  Yes, they’re technically a cake, but they also contain vegetables.  In fact, screaming “They contain vegetables!” is often a useful tool in deflecting the judgemental stares of a friend / relative / colleague to whom you recently bemoaned your weight gain and who knows you probably shouldn’t be reaching for that second (or third…) treat.  The fact that they contain vegetables means that you can get one of your five-a-day on the move and without resorting to supermarket salad pots to keep up the nutrient levels.  I know that two of my friends and fellow bloggers use savoury muffins as a tool to trick their children into eating more vegetables. Yep, if you are a salad-dodger, these are great.  If you eat them warm from the oven, you can even kid yourself that through the consumption of vegetables, protein (cheese) and carbs (dough) that one or two muffins equals a balanced meal.  Almost.

For me, the only cheese to set off the sweet pumpkin is a salty feta – it also keeps its shape during cooking and does not melt into the dough.  This combination alongside the tang of coriander and slight oiliness from the pine nuts makes for a handful of autumnal deliciousness.  As mentioned before, the individual components of this recipe are fairly small in quantity, so it is a great way to use up leftovers.  You could, of course, make some substitutions:  you could forgo the spinach in favour of other greens, replace the pine nuts with chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds or even use a different root vegetable instead of pumpkin.  I’ve tried this recipe with other cheeses and they do not tend to work as well, although if you are a fan of blue cheese, a crumble of Stilton or Dorset Blue Vinny may be an interesting substitute!

Savoury Pumpkin Muffins

  • 250g pumpkin or squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 handful spinach
  • Small handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, toasted
  • 40g parmesan
  • 100g feta, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 175ml whole milk
  • 250g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200ºc / 400ºf / gas 6.  Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or pleated baking parchment.

Put the squash on a roasting tray and coat with olive oil and salt.  Roast in the oven until tender and crispy at the edges.

Reserve a handful of the squash and tip the rest into a mixing bowl with the spinach, coriander, pine nuts, parmesan and 75g of the feta. and gently fold together.  Add the eggs and milk and beat together.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper and fold into the other ingredients until fully incorporated.  Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling each one about ¾ full.  Top the muffins with the remaining pumpkin and feta and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.

Recipe adapted from one by 101 Cookbooks