By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
These flavorful savory muffins make a perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack. They are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate than a typical muffin thanks to the abundance of almond meal, cottage cheese, and eggs and minimal use of flour. Substitute the wheat flour with a gluten free flour blend for a gluten free variation. They can also be served as an appetizer with a little pasta sauce for dipping. Freeze a few for when you need something healthy, quick.
- 1 cup plain cottage cheese (I used 1% fat)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup asiago (or parmesan) cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a bowl mix together all of the ingredients except the asiago cheese.
- Spoon the mixture into greased or paper lined muffin cups ~2/3 full.
- Sprinkle with the asiago cheese.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until set, risen, and golden brown.
Yield: Approximately 12 muffins
Nutrition Facts per serving (1 muffin): 133 Calories, 9 grams Fat, 5 grams Carbohydrate, 9 grams protein.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Almond meal: Almond meal/flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and a good source of protein and fiber. Recent studies show that almonds are one of the most nutritionally complete foods. Almonds are cholesterol free, low in saturated fat, low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fiber, high in antioxidant vitamin E, high in calcium, riboflavin, copper, zinc and magnesium.
Asiago Cheese: A cheese made from cow’s milk, Asiago serves as a rich source of calcium, a mineral your body utilizes for bone strength. A 1-oz. serving of Asiago cheese provides 20 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium. Also, since Asiago cheese is so flavorful and satisfying, you can substitute a few sprinkles of it for cheddar or mozzarella.
Basil: Revered in many traditions around the world, basil benefits cardiovascular health and offers DNA protection and anti-bacterial properties. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
Cheddar cheese: This cheese delivers not just flavor, but nutritional benefits. Although relatively high in saturated fat, this cheese also contains protein, calcium and phosphorus.
Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese can be a healthy addition to your diet, as the cheese is high in protein and can be low in calories depending on the percentage of fat. It contains 87 mg of calcium, about 9% of your total daily value. Additionally, cottage cheese is relatively high in protein and contains riboflavin, vitamins B-12 and B-6, folate and vitamin A.
Eggs: This ingredient offers essential amino acids and provides several vitamins and minerals, including retinol (vitamin A), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Eggs are also a single-food source of a complete protein. The egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D. All of the egg’s vitamin A, D, and E are in the egg yolk. A large yolk contains more than two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol. It also contains choline, which is an important nutrient for development of the brain, and is said to be important for pregnant and nursing women to ensure healthy fetal brain development.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of the flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may offer protection from skin damage and skin cancer. Another flavonoid abundant in tomatoes is Zeaxanthin, which helps prevent age related macular disease (ARMD). This fruit, which is often thought of as a vegetable, is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
Whole wheat flour: White enriched flour might be tasty in breads, cookies and pastries but it does not provide the benefits of whole wheat flour. White flour is enriched with some of the nutrients lost in processing, but parts of the whole grain are still missing. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least half of your daily grain intake come from whole grains.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.