Can muffins be healthy? See how to make over your muffin with lower sugar and nutrient-packed savory ingredients.
For many years, the muffin market was dominated by the triumvirate of bran, corn, and blueberry. Eventually, chocolate chip and lemon poppy muscled their way onto most bakery menus, followed by an explosion of muffin types featuring every fruit and nut under the sun. Now, this fluffy, fruity dessert disguised as a breakfast item has just gotten an even more extreme flavor makeover. Behold the savory muffin!
I first encountered a savory muffin at Coffee + Food, one of the trendiest and hippest coffee shops in Los Angeles. Coffee + Food, started by an Australian, features lots of yummy homemade baked goods and Aussie-inspired dishes, but one of its bestsellers—and my favorite item to order on their menu—is a savory muffin with pesto. It literally melts in your mouth and tastes kind of like a warm corn muffin filled with melted cheese and herbs.
In 2017, in an article for the the International Culinary Academy, Sarah Larson wrote, “For anyone interested in the baking and pastry arts, preparing delicious muffins is a vital skill. Classic varieties like blueberry or chocolate chip are reliably tasty, but chefs are increasingly exploring the possibilities of savory muffins. These items bring together a range of amazing ingredients in a surprisingly compact and easily portable form.”
A year after Sarah wrote that post, the savory muffin invasion is in full swing. Coffee + Food in LA might have been one of the early adopters, but now savory muffins are everywhere. You’ll find them on the menus of breakfast hot spots in Los Angeles and New York. You can also find savory muffin cookbooks on bookstore shelves, and savory muffin offerings on recipe websites. Foodies are aflame for the savory muffin! The idea of adding omelette or frittata ingredients into a muffin recipe is a beloved one. Dr. Jessica Knurick agrees, and she shared one of her favorite healthy savory recipes, a Mediterranean-style muffin.
Mediterranean-Style Egg Muffins
12 medium eggs
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces feta cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried Mediterranean herbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix ingredients and pour into a lightly oiled muffin pan.
- Place in oven for 20–25 minutes, or until you can poke a fork into the egg and it comes out clean.
If you’re hosting a brunch, savory muffins can be a great alternative to a more traditional egg dish. They are easier to make and serve to a large group than pancakes or omelettes, and they also make great lunches. Make a batch at the beginning of the week, and then enjoy one at lunchtime in place of a sandwich. You can also use savory mini-muffins as party food and appetizers.
The savory muffin allows for a lot of culinary creativity. You’ll find recipes for savory muffins inspired by Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Southern American, Cajun, and Indian cuisines, as well as vegetarian, and vegan varieties, but it’s easy and fun to invent your own.