My neighbor Sue plays a mean game of Scrabble, and is equally adept at creating scrumptious snacks for game night.
These hearty muffins are a meal in themselves – made with spelt and a good dose of quinoa, they are also healthy and provide needed micronutrients.
Great for breakfast on the go, they’re also a great snack, and they make a tasty complement to a light dinner of soup and salad.
You’ll need muffin pans and paper muffin liners, enough for 12 muffins, or two small 3 x 6-inch loaf pans. And before you bake, you’ll want to do all you can to avoid soggy muffin bottoms: which is why we’ve put together this lovely guide for youhere.
These muffins call for spelt flour, which shouldn’t be over mixed. It will benefit from sitting for about 15 minutes prior to baking, so don’t pre-heat the oven when you begin the recipe. Wait until all of your prep work is done before turning on the oven.
You can substitute with ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and ¾ cups whole wheat flour. If you choose this combination, the rest period isn’t required. Just preheat the oven when you begin.
The recipe uses quinoa puffs, which can be purchased at a health food store, or they can be purchased online at Amazon.com. You can also substitute puffed brown rice or kamut (which I’ve used for the batch pictured).
Another nutritious ancient grain, kamut puffs are now easy to find in the natural foods section of most grocery stores. And you can read more about the benefits of ancient grains in our handy guide to whole grains for milling at home.
Ensure that the milk and eggs are at room temperature, so that the liquid butter and/or coconut oil doesn’t coagulate when added to the wet mixture.
Fresh savory can be used in place of dried, using approximately three times the volume, or 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh herbs. Just add it along with the feta.
If, when mixing the wet ingredients into the dry, you find the mixture a bit on the dry side, add a small splash of the feta brine or a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk.
And fresh pepper straight from the grinder is the way to go; the pre-ground version in a can is often stale, and doesn’t give you that peppery taste that lends itself so well to this recipe.
Consider doubling up on this recipe because the muffins will go fast, and they’re freezer friendly too. If you do, you’ll need an extra-large mixing bowl for the dry ingredients.
To freeze, store muffins in their paper cups, and wrap individually with paper towels before placing in a large zip-top bag – then squeeze out the excess air as you seal the bag.
|12 muffins||25 minutes|
Spelt, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and more – Sue’s Savory Muffins are a flavorful and nutritious solution for busy mornings and snack time.
- 2 cups spelt flour*
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground savory
- 1 cup quinoa puffs**
- 3 tablespoons whole flax seed
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk plus a few tablespoons, as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 2/3 cup minced ham or cooked chicken breast
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Cooking spray or oil or paper muffin liners
- Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour through ground savory) in a large bowl. Stir in the puffed quinoa and flax seeds. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer on medium speed. Beat in the buttermilk, olive oil, and melted butter.
- Fold the sun-dried tomatoes, ham, spinach, and feta into the egg mixture.
- Create a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the egg mixture in a few batches, stirring until just combined, adding more buttermilk by the teaspoonful if you need to.
- Set the batter aside while you allow the oven to preheat to 350°F.
- If using liners, place them in the muffin pans. Otherwise, grease the muffin or loaf pans, then evenly distribute the batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (about 5 minutes more if baking a loaf) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place back on rack to cool completely.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Please note that the following photos show the results of making a double batch – which is really the way to go, if you ask me!
Step 1 – Organize and Prep
Organize and prepare all of the ingredients.
Chop the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, mince the ham, and crumble the feta into pea-sized bits.
Place the sun-dried tomatoes on a paper towel in a small bowl to absorb some of the oil, then set these ingredients aside.
Oil the muffin and/or loaf pans, and put paper liners in place if using them.
Step 2 – Mix the Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add the pepper and savory, blending well. Add the quinoa (or brown rice or kamut) puffs and flax, mixing all together.
Step 3 – Mix the Wet Ingredients
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer on medium speed for one minute.
Add the buttermilk, olive or melted coconut oil, and melted butter, blending for another minute.
Step 4 – Fold in the Flavor Intensives
With a few swift strokes, fold into the wet mixture the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, minced ham, chopped spinach, and crumbled feta cheese.
Step 5 – Add Wet to Dry Mixture
Create a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the wet mix in two or three batches, stirring with a wooden spoon as you go, until just blended.
If, when mixing the wet ingredients into the dry, you find the mixture a bit on the dry side, add a small splash of the feta brine or a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk.
Allow the batter to sit while the oven is preheating to 350°F.
Step 6 – Spoon Mixture into Pans
Spoon the mixture into muffin cups or loaf pans, filling to about three-quarters full.
Step 7 – Bake
Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For loaf pans, add another 5 minutes of baking time.
Step 8 – Remove and Cool
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for five minutes, then remove from pans.
Allow loaves to cool completely before slicing.
Step 9 – Serve, and Enjoy!
Flavorful all on their own, these savory muffins don’t need a lot of adornment. Serve with a pat of butter, sliced tomatoes, a side salad or bowl of soup, and a piping hot cup of tea.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week, or up to three months in the freezer.
Breakfast and More
Not your typical cake-recipe muffin, these savory flavor bombs are an ideal solution for folks too busy for breakfast – and they make a great snack, or accompaniment to lunch or a light dinner.
Flavorful and satisfying, they’re full of nutritious ingredients, and you’ll feel great serving these to your family at any time.
And remember, double up on your recipe, because they won’t last long!
Do you folks have any questions about using spelt flour? Then drop us a note in the comments below. And for another healthy snack that’s more on the savory side of things, try our delicious recipe for multigrain carrot bread.
Looking for more muffin recipes with healthy ingredients? We have plenty! Here are some of our favorites:
Product photo via D’allesandro. Recipe photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 22, 2015. Updated January 5, 2018.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.
40 thoughts on “Sue’s Savory Muffins”
Oh man, savory muffins are the best. My mum used to make them in big batches and we’d just have them for a quick breakfast, brunch or lunch, with either some butter or cream cheese. I gotta ask, why the quinoa puffs? Why not just use real quinoa? Is it a texture thing or flavor thing?
I agree, savory muffins are tops in our kitchen. The puffs are for texture, as you say. I find the spelt flour makes for a denser dough, and the puffs lightens it up a bit.
Impressive muffins! As you say, perfect for a night with friends, and even family. I can’t believe that there are recipes for muffins like these that are actually healthy for you. Amazing. I also love the extra sun dried tomatoes.
These are the ideal guilt-free muffins! And the tomatoes really add a bit of zip with the feta.
Same! I love this recipe. I have never had it before, but I can’t wait to try them! I can’t believe they are healthy for you either! My family and I love sun dried tomatoes, so I can’t wait to make this for them and see their reactions!
Would you say the consistency of these guys is more thick & heavy or light & fluffy? I ask because I was wondering what I should pair it with. If it were on the thick side I would go with a meat gravy for a biscuits & gravy affect. Though if it’s lighter I’m afraid they won’t stand up the the gravy.
I think they are more a lighter, lunch or breakfast type muffin than a heavy muffin. I can’t help thinking that they would work best with a salad or some French beans, peas or something light, but not really gravy.
They’re definitely on the heavier side Joan – I’ve never tried them with gravy, but they do go well with soup, especially if you’re a ‘dunker’. But as Connie said, a great match with a salad as well.
Savory muffins are the best for a tea time snack as well as for picnics. I am wondering if I can use soy milk instead of buttermilk because I only use soy milk and omit the chicken to make the muffins vegetarian? I’m sure I can, but maybe add a little extra butter instead for the taste. I guess I have some experimenting to do.
I’ve made them with plain, unsweetened soy milk Bella and they came out fine. And the chicken is optional as well – with the feta and sun-dried tomatoes, there’s plenty of flavor, but a little extra butter would probably make them a bit richer tasting.
I don’t know if it is because I am hungry, but they look and sound amazing. I’ll have to ditch the chicken being vegetarian (and make a substitution for the dairy but that is easily done) and lunch is served instead of a sandwich! Much more interesting! Everything else I already have in the cupboards. I might try those next weekend when I have some cultured dairy free buttermilk to hand.
I think these would make a fantastic alternative to a lunchtime sandwich too. I don’t think ditching the chicken will make any difference at all – they’ll still be delicious!
Chicken or no chicken, soy milk instead of buttermilk, I’ve often made variations with what was on hand (and always make a double batch for the freezer) and they never last. This is one of those freewheeling recipes that just seems to work all the time.
Here in the UK, we only ever see the sweet type of muffins so it’s really interesting to see a savory recipe. They look really nice – they would be fantastic on their own for a lunch or as a quick snack any time.
One of these with a salad is often lunchtime fare in our home… and they’re great for a snack when energy is sagging.
There’s a big sign with neon signs in my mind, it reads; “Time To ‘Wolf’ Them Down!”…i think that’s inappropriate since am a lady and ladies ought to carry themselves highly…maybe its one of those things i crave to do because they look so awesome and delicious…never indulged in savory muffins before, recipe noted down, i bet they are nutritious too…i guess it a goodbye to the sweet-extra-sugared muffins at the baker’s store down the street, making me heap on a few pounds 😉
Nice! A spelt recipe. I need to find as many of those as I can, ow that I’m aware it exists. These muffins look like something my family will rally enjoy as long as they don’t know it is good for them, lol. Thank you for the recipe! It’s going to come in handy. Not to me too. It’ll be nice to have muffins that didnt come out of a box, for a change.
You’ll have a hard time keeping these in the house k_m, and no one needs to know they’re healthy!
What a great idea. They seem rather dense, and they look like they would be very satisfying. Such a great flavor combination.
Well, the chicken helps them pack some more protein, but yeah, I might skip the chicken. Still, they look really good. I like all the ingredients, all of which I tend to use for quiche or frittata.
I really like all the extra tips at the end of the recipe. The fact that these are freezer friendly is also a big plus.
Glad you liked the post Zyni, and these muffins can be adapted to just about any variations of ingredients. Having some in the freezer is a real blessing on those busy days when you know you’re going to need something and don’t want to stop or indulge in a quick but less healthy pastry.
Oh my goodness, I’m in heaven just looking at the list of ingredients and pictures. I love how healthy these savory muffins sound,with so many delicious and nutritious ingredients. Like many, I tend to decrease the time I use my stove and oven in the warmer months, so with Summer coming, these would be perfect for pairing with a nice salad or bowl of soup.
They’re so tasty, it’s hard to believe they’re so healthy Diane. And they do make a great compliment for soup or salad… make a double batch and pop them in the freezer so they’re on hand for a super easy summer meal.
This is great. I have been running out of good breakfasts to give my daughter (a picky eater), and I don’t want to give her sugar all the time. Unfortunately with her being so picky, things like quinoa, oatmeal etc are out of the question. I think this would be a hit with her though, and I can feel like I’m giving her something healthier than a bowl of chocolate cereal lol.
These muffins are definately one of those sneaky, healthy recipes that are great for kids and adults alike who might be a bit fussy… a nice balance of nutritious protein and healthy carbs and oils. Much more healthful than chocolate cereal!
I’ve always had muffins for breakfast but they were always on the sweet side of things. I want to try it, but I don’t even recognize half of these ingredients and will most likely have to go online to order it. On the plus side, would fish be a good choice to use for this recipe? My grandfather shipped me a crapload of dried cod fish and I need to figure out what to do with it before the entire place starts to stink.
I’ve never tried these with fish, but dried cod would probably be a decent flavor match for the other ingredients… just not to sure how well they would freeze.
I am celiac so I have to avoid wheat, barley, oats and rye. Could I use a gluten free flour for this recipe?
I have not had muffins in a while and these look delicious. I need more guilt free recipes, especially since I am watching my weight. My family and friends will definitely enjoy these.
These are guilt-free all the way oraclemay, hearty and satisfying, they’re perfect if you’re counting calories. Hope your family and friends enjoy them!
This recipe hits the spot for me in several ways. First, it’s the first recipe I’ve ever seen for savory muffins and it sounds wonderful. Second, it uses spinach, one of my very favourite vegetables and third, it uses puffed quinoa – which is someting I’ve never heard of! That gives me an excuse to go browsing to find out more and see whether I can get it in the health food store or whether I can make it. Time for some sleuthing…
Aha — instructions found. Thank you Google 🙂
Google’s great for those sleuthing quests Sue! I hope you enjoy the muffins – I just had one with a big bowl of spicy lentil soup, and it was as good as ever.
I’m not a big fan of sweet baked goods: cakes, cookies, pies, muffins. etc. I’ll eat them every once in a while, but they are not at the top of my list. But SAVORY muffins, on the other hand , sound really good. Especially since they are made with quinoa, as I try to avoid white flour when I can. The chicken, spinach , and feta just push it over the top for me! Sold!!
Awesome! If you’re into savory, you’ll love these. Let us know what you think after you’ve tried a batch.
Being someone who definitely prefers savory to sweet foods, this sounds like a dream come true! I will definitely be trying this one weekend!
I’m not big on sweet muffins either Nikole88, but these are something else! Let us know how they turn out for you.
On yes, these would be right up my street. I have a much more savoury preference than a sweet one so these would definitely satisfy my palate. I would probably leave out the chicken though.
Me too uk, savory all the way… and leaving out the chicken is fine, although it does give a nice amount of protein to the usually carb-heavy muffin. But it could easily be subbed out with something more to your taste.
These look absolutely delicious. The spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese are enough to make me wanna try it. However, I think I would wanna replace the feta with cheddar to make some mean cheddar biscuits, and I think this would be an amazing way to get my boyfriend to eat some veggies. Do you have any suggestions to alternatives for the flax seeds and quinoa/rice puffs? Also thanks for the information about the flour alternative, I’d much rather use all-purpose or whole grain.
Chia or sesame would work for the flax kdb, and I’ve completely omitted the puffs before, but the texture was a bit heavier. Perhaps another cereal, like bran flakes would work… I’d cut the amount by 1/2 or even 2/3 as they’re much denser than puffs, but haven’t tried it myself.
These turned out excellent! I used puffed honey spelt as that’s all I had on hand and some fresh Dutch “graskaas” as our feta had to be thrown out. Also to keep it vegetarian I just broke up some nice vegan meatballs. The combination of the puffed spelt / quinoa and spelt flour gave it an amazing texture almost like it had been cold fermented with yeast. Thanks a lot for the recipe!