savory spinach, feta, and roasted red pepper muffins

For my submission to September’s RSVP Redux, I decided to go with the savory spinach, feta, and peppadew muffins from the Singita Sweni Lodge in South Africa. Except, of course, that I had no intention of tracking down any peppadew peppers if they weren’t immediately available in my local grocery store. Which they weren’t. I could have ordered them from here, but I didn’t. Instead, I used roasted red peppers, an easy substitution that was readily available right next to the jars of pickles and olives at Publix.

If given the option, I’ll always go for easy when it comes to cooking. There’s just too much going on in my life to ignore easy.

Instead of regular paprika, I jazzed up the muffin a bit by using pimenton de la vera, a sweet smoked paprika. This has become my go-to paprika, and I highly recommend picking up a container of it. A little goes a long way, so I typically don’t need to use very much.

The recipe instructions called for letting them cool completely before serving, and after making them, I agree completely. The savory flavors came together well upon cooling, and the flavors were even more pronounced on the next day. The muffins made a great snack and would make a wonderful appetizer, although it would be difficult to do them in smaller sizes without sacrificing some of the pieces of feta, spinach, and red pepper that made the muffins so visually appealing.

The verdict here? These are great for grown-ups, but my kids had a more difficult time with them. My more adventurous eater, the six-year old, really wanted to like them. Because of her tomato hang-up, she just couldn’t get past the pieces of tomato-look-alike red pepper scattered throughout the muffins. The almost-4-year old wouldn’t even give the muffins a second look. Too much color in them for him.

And, of course, now I can’t stop thinking about those peppadew peppers. Wonder what those would have tasted like?

Savory Spinach, Feta, and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins

Only slightly tweaked from the Singita Sweni Lodge recipe mentioned in RSVP, Bon App├ętit, September 2010 issue.

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera - Dulce)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, paprika, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk milk, oil, and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Add spinach, feta, and peppers. Fold to incorporate evenly. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (cups will be filled to the top).

Bake muffins until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around muffins to release from pan. Invert pan to release muffins, then turn muffins right side up and cool completely.

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22 Responses to “savory spinach, feta, and roasted red pepper muffins”

  1. 1
    RavieNomNoms — September 30, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    Those muffins are beautiful! So many great flavors, I would have to imagine that these taste amazing!

  2. 2
    Cherine — September 30, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Love the combination of those muffins!! I bet they’re addictive!!

  3. 3
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 30, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    I love your substitution and for the very same reason you cite…where in the world are those peppers..I had thought of using sun dried tomatoes.

    Thanks so much for participating at http://www.rsvpredux.com – hoping some of your readers will join us!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 30th, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

      Barbara – I bet sun dried tomatoes would be a great substitution!

  4. 4
    Prerna@IndianSimmer — September 30, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    Thanks to twitter for suggesting that I might like your blog, because I LOVE your blog!
    This is the first recipe that I landed onto and I’m SO digging it. OK can’t write more ‘cos I’m off to the kitchen to bake some muffins :-)
    Thanx for sharing this recipe. I’m sure my li’l one’s gonna love it!!

  5. 5
    SMITH BITES — September 30, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    The muffins look terrific and believe it or not, I can find peppadews in my area – which is really saying something because that just doesn’t happen. Peppadews are a sweet-hot pepper and I can see how they would pair with the other ingredients: sharpness of the feta and the earthiness of the spinach. Am glad you mentioned letting them cool to develop the flavor – great tip; beautiful muffins which I plan on making!

  6. 6
    Liz the Chef — September 30, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    A savory muffin never crossed my mind – this is a very exciting recipe. I can see little variations, depending on what’s on hand in the pantry and fridge. Thanks!

  7. 7
    Jason Phelps — September 30, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

    I love this idea. These are going to come in handy at my next dinner party.

    Thank you!

    Jason

  8. 8
    Nancy@acommunaltable — September 30, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

    These would be terrific with soup and a salad.. or split with a little chicken … or with eggs… well, I’ve done it again found ANOTHER recipe I am simply going to have to make!!!

    As for the peppedews… they do carry a jarred version at Trader Joe’s so if you have one by you or come across one, you can probably get them there! The roasted red bell peppers though are a great substitution since they are very close in texture and taste!!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 1st, 2010 @ 8:11 am

      Nancy – We don’t have a Trader Joe’s, sadly. I may look in our Fresh Market (our version of Whole Foods) to see if they carry them. I really am intrigued by them now, and I really want to try them.

  9. 9
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — October 1, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    I saw these and was dying to make them! They really would be perfect for a dinner party!

  10. 10
    Bonnie — October 1, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

    I’m so happy to have found your blog and this delicious recipe. I’m also very, very happy to find your grandmother’s recipe for chess pie. The first time I had it was at a youth church dinner. It is one of my favorites!! I look forward to further visits.

    Best,
    Bonnie

  11. 11
    Sasha — October 2, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Wow. These are indeed very unique muffins.

  12. 12
    GreenGirl — October 2, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    Spinach feta are a great combo, add roasted peppers and you have me hooked.
    I like to take my time in the kitchen and do almost everything from scratch, well, that’s just me :P

  13. 13
    Chris — October 3, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

    These look great to me. I like savory muffins and these are perfect.

  14. 14
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 3, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    How come I missed those ones? Huh? And how come you didn’t send one my way? I think you do delivery, right? And yes, good work on the substitution – but ow you have me wondering about those peppers too!

  15. 15
    bunkycooks — October 3, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    I love savory foods this time of year. The bigger flavors, the better! These muffins combine many of my favorites.

  16. Pingback: Savory Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins « Pragmatic Attic

  17. 16
    Sara — December 31, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    I love all of the flavors in these muffins especially feta cheese & roasted red peppers!
    Happy New Year!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 1st, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      happy new year to you, Sara!

  18. 17
    Nichole — January 11, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    Peppadews are scrumptious and worth looking for! They have a little heat balanced nicely with a sweet undertone. If your grocery store has an olive bar, try looking there. Bottled ones can usually be found near the pickled beans and asparagus, etc.

    I just don’t get the whole cupcake craze since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I am so enamored by savory muffins. I’m on a mission to try every one of them that I can find. These are definitely going on my list.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 11th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

      Wonderful! Let me know how you like them.

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