Lunchbox Zucchini Muffins
Alex Caspero, MA, RD, CLT
Everyday Chef, Fruits & Veggies—More Matters
It’s no secret that kids love muffins; and while muffins are easy to make and a convenient snack, they are often packed with too much sugar. Not these! A savory, vegetable-packed muffin that’s perfect for lunch boxes.
I first developed a version of these muffins for my 10 month-old son as I needed something that was healthy and portable, a hand-held version of the items I would want him to eat if we were at home: vegetables, protein and grains. Since then they’ve become a hit in our house, especially when we want a main lunch meal that isn’t a sandwich.
These muffins are almost fool-proof to put together and easily customizable based on what you have on hand. If you don’t want to use cottage cheese, then greek yogurt or ricotta will also work. Shredded mozzarella or colby-jack can replace the cheddar and almost any combination of vegetables can be enjoyed instead of the zucchini. I’ve made these with finely chopped spinach, shredded carrots and kale. Lastly, curry powder or another dried herb or spice can be used in place of Italian seasoning. I use this rule of thumb, if it will taste good together outside of the muffin, then it will taste good inside.
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy vegetables at lunch time, then you must try these lunchbox zucchini muffins.
Lunchbox Zucchini Muffins
Makes 14 muffins
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
2 cups flour, all-purpose or white-wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as possible and place in a large bowl along with the chopped red bell pepper, beaten eggs, cottage cheese, milk and shredded cheddar.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, Italian seasoning and salt/pepper.
Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir to combine.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 of the way full and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool completely.
Per serving: 93 calories, 2.4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 14g carbohydrates, 2.1g fiber, 5.1g protein
Photo Credit: Alex Caspero