Pumpkin, Spinach Muffins

Moist, savoury muffins for a snack, a Hallowe’en treat or a nutritionally-balanced light meal that is suitable for Fodmap, Gluten Free and Vegetarian diets.



With autumn and the falling leaves, we harvest the remaining pumpkins, gather chestnuts and forage for mushrooms. It brings with it opportunities to celebrate with friends and family as we include old folklore in our modern lives, celebrate our history and participate in numerous religious festivals. Naturally, food features in them all in this, the most bountiful, of all seasons; and here is a healthy, baked snack to include in your festive repertoire.

Pumpkin, with its natural sweetness, is excellent in savoury dishes, providing a counterpoint flavour. Here, as a savoury muffin containing good quantities of vegetables and protein, it makes a great party dish (Hallowe’en, for example), a tasty snack or a nutritious light meal.

I also find these muffins to be a good way to include vegetables in the meals of those ‘fussy’ eaters. Roasting the pumpkin makes it even sweeter; and the salty feta can be substituted with a milder cheese if strong flavours are not preferable. The crunchy top of pumpkin seeds adds a contrasting texture; again, you can substitute ( eg by various types of nuts if you don’t need nut free) or remove all together.

Diets for which Pumpkin and Spinach Muffins are suitable:

Diabetic, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free and Vegetarian.

Ingredients

Preparation: 15 + 10 mins | Cooking: 10-15 mins | Serves: 10

2 cups pumpkin, cubed (Fodmap see notes)*
3 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 eggs
100 gm (1 cup) feta cheese
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk (Fodmap see notes)**
50 gm (2 oz) spinach (1 large handful)
70 gm (1/2 cup) rice flour***
60 gm (1/2 cup) tapioca flour
40 gm (1/4 cup) potato starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika****
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Method

HEAT the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
MIX pumpkin, 1/2 tbsp oil and thyme and bake for 15 minutes. (The pumpkin will be soft but should not look browned.)
COOL the pumpkin slightly.
SEPARATE the eggs.
MIX egg yolks, feta and milk. (Retain some small lumps of feta for flavour variation in the muffin.)
SLICE the spinach into smaller pieces.
ADD spinach and pumpkin to the egg mix.
SIFT and add the flours, baking powder and spices.
BEAT the egg white.
FOLD half the egg white through the mix. (This provides a moist consistency to the muffin.)
FOLD in the remaining egg white, lightly retaining the air.
SPOON the mix into muffin cases.
TOP with sunflower seeds.
BAKE 10-15 minutes, dependent on the size.

Serve

– Best eaten on the day.
– Small canapés, afternoon tea, Halloween treats or as a light lunch.

Notes

* This small quantities of pumpkin per serve is usually acceptable for Fodmap diets. Alternatively use squash or Japanese pumpkin. 400 gm pumpkin skinned and cubed is approximately 2 cups.
** Fodmap select nut milk or low lactose milk.
*** Substitute Gluten Free flour mix or wheat flour (not Fodmap or Gluten Free). The consistency of the mix will change so, add a little more flour or more milk as necessary.
**** Mustard, chilli or fresh basil can be added, as can tasty or soft cheese.

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