Moist and delicious, these vegan savoury muffins are simple to make and perfect for lunchboxes, picnics, or as a light supper.
Vegan baked goods can sometimes be a bit of a let-down in my experience. While it’s easy to substitute alternative fats and oils in the place of butter, finding something that will take the place of eggs in a recipe and still produce a moist and fluffy result can be a bit trickier. There are all manner of suggestions available but they are often only really applicable to sweet recipes. For instance I’m not sure I’d want to add mashed banana to my savoury muffins!
In praise of savoury muffins
We love savoury muffins here at FFF towers! They’re great for lunchboxes and picnics, and make a terrific light lunch or supper with a tasty salad or two. Plus, my daughter Kipper always enjoys having ‘cake’ for her main course! I’ve shared recipes here for cheese and olive muffins, and sun-dried tomato and pesto muffins but at various times we’ve made all sorts of combinations of flavours and seasonings. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe you’ll find it’s very versatile and you can be as creative as you like with the additions.
A vegan conundrum
We recently had some vegan guests coming for Shabbat lunch and I decided to take the opportunity to ‘veganise’ my savoury muffin recipe. It was easy enough to do away with the cheese and no trouble at all to replace milk or yogurt with their plant-based counterparts. But I was stumped when it came to replacing the egg.
I made a cup of tea and sat down to consider the purpose of the egg in the savoury muffin recipe. As we all know, while eggs are liquid at room temperature, once heated and cooked their proteins coagulate into a solid mass. In a muffin, this protein network helps to hold the cooked muffins together and gives them structure.
In a flash, I had the answer!
Tofu can be liquidised with a blender but will reform into a solid when baked. It should be perfect! I used 50g of tofu to replace a standard 50g egg, popped my vegan savoury muffins into the oven, and sat back to nervously await the results.
The moment of truth…
The muffins rose beautifully, and came out of the oven looking and smelling wonderful. But how would they taste? And what about the texture…?
I almost couldn’t wait to test one, but I knew that tearing into a hot muffin wouldn’t give a proper appraisal, so I had to be patient. When I finally got to try one I discovered a perfect crumb, a moist cakey texture, and a delicious flavour. If you didn’t know they were vegan, I don’t think you would suspect anything was different about these muffins at all.
Now that I’d sorted the basic recipe, I needed to decide on a flavour for these vegan savoury muffins.
Since I was using tofu in the recipe anyway, I decided to go with the smoked variety to add some smoky flavour to the muffins. I added thyme and golden caramelised onions to complement it and the overall effect was delicious! The cherry tomato on the top added a pop of colour and a zing of sweet-sharpness that harmonised beautifully with the other flavours.
The recipe makes 6 delicious vegan savoury muffins. And not a mashed banana in sight!
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Savoury muffins with caramelised onions & smoked tofu (vegan)
For the caramelised onions
- 1 medium/large onion
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
For the muffins
- 125 g plain flour (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1-2 tsp dried thyme
- 100 g smoked tofu (4 oz)
- 100 ml plant-based milk (I used oat) (½ cup)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cherry tomatoes
First, prepare the onion. Peel and finely slice the onion, then heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based pan. Cook the sliced onion, stirring occasionally, over a low-medium heat, for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, soft and caramelised. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Line a muffin tin with 6 paper or silicon cases.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and thyme. Set aside.
Place half the smoked tofu (50g) in a bowl or jug with the plant-based milk, vinegar and olive oil. Use an immersion blender to combine everything together to give a smooth liquid.
Cut the remaining 50g of smoked tofu into 5-6mm cubes.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined - do not overmix. Add the diced tofu and caramelised onions and stir gently to combine.
Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin cases - they will be quite full. Halve the cherry tomatoes and press one half, cut side up, into the top of each muffin.
Bake at 200C (400F) for 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden, and a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.