Spanakopita muffins – packed with feta cheese, spinach and herbs these make the perfect portable snack. Post sponsored by Volkswagen.
When I was a kid, nothing made me happier than getting in the car with my family and driving for long stretches. The destination was not my main concern, what I loved was the chance to daydream while watching the landscape roll by. I made very carefully curated playlists for this road trips – initially on cassette tape – anyone here old enough to remember those? – later on cds and, much later, on my ipod.
When I got married, my idea of a perfect honeymoon was a road trip from East to the West coast in the US. Sadly lack of funds prevented us from taking that trip as newlyweds, but I still hope we will manage to go one day. And that playlist is going to be THE best ever – after all it has been 14 years in the making!
If you are wondering why I am suddenly reminiscing about road trips, it is because Volkwagen have asked me to collaborate on a series of recipes. I am going to take you on a virtual tour of Europe, borrowing inspiration from the countries to create portable recipes you could enjoy a road trip, pack in a lunchbox or bring along on a pic nic. I had to start in Greece, my home country, with this delicious take on spanakopita – spinach and feta pie. These savoury muffins are so easy to make and perfect for a quick snack on-the-go.
The muffins are packed with spinach and herbs, feta and kefalotyri cheese. Since spinach tends to release a lot of moisture when cooking, it is important to wilt it first and then squeeze most of the water out before mixing into the batter. The secret to fluffy muffins is not overworking the batter; once the flour is sifted in, fold it in until just mixed in. The muffins keep very well for a couple of days, stored in an airtight container. Eat as a snack or serve with soup.
Keep an eye out for more ‘road trip’ recipes on the blog and make sure to check out the collaborative Pinterest board from Volkswagen for more inspiring DIY projects, recipes and ideas.
- Wet ingredients
- 330ml | 11fl oz buttermilk
- 90ml | 3fl oz light olive oil (or vegetable oil) + 1 tbsp to fry
- 1 large egg
- 250g | 8.8oz ready-washed baby spinach
- 200g | 7oz feta cheese, finely crumbled
- 3 tbsp finely grated kefalotyri (or use Parmesan)
- 5 spring onions (scallions) finely diced
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, very finely diced
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, very finely diced
- Dry ingredients
- 375g | 13.5oz self-raising flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- a little butter or vegetable shortening to grease the muffin tins
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly grease two small silicone muffin tins (or you can use muffin cases).
- Shred the spinach leaves. Heat ½ tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan then add the spinach all in one go.
- Stir the leaves until wilted. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle wring as much moisture out of the leaves squeezing them in your hands.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the spring onions for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped herbs, stir them in and then take off the heat.
- Put the buttermilk, olive oil and egg in a large bowl. Lightly mix together using a balloon whisk.
- Stir in the spinach, spring onions and herbs.
- Add the two types of cheese and stir until incorporated.
- Sift the flour over the bowl and add the salt and pepper. Use a large spoon to lightly combine everything, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as you do.
- Divide the batter to fill the muffin tins about ¾ of the way up. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the muffins are risen and firm. Cool in the tins and then turn them over to release the muffins.