Cheesy pesto savoury muffins for parties and picnics!

Pesto spelt mini muffins recipe – yummy picnic or party appetizers!

Savoury cakes and snacks

Little savoury cakes!  Extremely tasty, moreish and easy to make.  These delicious little treats are perfect for picnics, parties, hiking or climbing trips or just a nice light lunch at home.  Made with spelt flour so easier to digest, these pesto mini muffins owe their tastiness to the healthy homemade pesto (oh, okay you can buy some), parmesan cheese, gruyère or ementhal cheese, olive oil, egg and milk.  And a nice touch of black pepper.  Yum yum.

Cheesy pesto savoury muffins for parties and picnics!

Cheesy pesto spelt mini savoury muffins for parties and picnics!


They’re based on a French recipe for Cake au pesto et pignons de pin on the popular Marmiton blog.  I read the comments and adapted following the suggestions made and referring to my previous recipes using spelt.  Spelt flour is easier to digest than standard plain and apparently it’s been a lot less ‘manipulated’ or processed.  Also instead of a large cake I made mini muffins and added extra pesto for a nice kick.  My homemade pesto is based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe from his Superfood Family Classics book.  I love pesto sauce.  Sadly the shop-bought version weighs a bit on my digestive system but my stomach positively welcomes homemade pesto, making me feel all healthy!!!

Anyway, do feel free to use shop-bought if you prefer but keep in mind the result could be a little different so adapt after your first batch, taking texture and taste into account.  Whichever pesto you use there’ll be a lot of flavour packed in these muffins and they’ll be nice and moist (and addictive)…

The pesto (makes a lot more than you need but you can store the rest in the freezer in portions)

homemade pesto

Put all the ingredients below in a food processor and whizz till blended and almost smooth.

  • 100g/3.5oz parmesan cheese broken up in pieces
  • 50g (1/3 cup + 1/2 tbsp) pine nuts or blanched almonds
  • 50g (1/3 cup + 1/2 tbsp) blanched almonds
  • 1 peeled clove of garlic
  • Finely grated peel of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon/6g fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)

Then add the basil.

  • 60g/2.1oz (about 2 and a half to 3 cups loosely packed) fresh basil leaves – remove the thick stems

Wash the basil leaves in cold water, pat dry with a tea towel then tear roughly and add to the food processor.  Whizz for a short time till just blended.  I add the basil leaves last because I’ve read Italians don’t overwork or overheat this delicate herb so the fragrance is better preserved.

homemade pesto

homemade pesto

Reserve the 90g of pesto for your muffins.  Wrap the rest in baking paper and freeze an hour.  Take out and cut into individual portions. Wrap each one first in baking paper then tightly in plastic film.  Freeze and store up to 1 month.  You can defrost in the fridge overnight before using.

The pesto mini muffins

Cheesy pesto spelt mini muffins

Cheesy pesto spelt mini muffins


  • Grease your muffin pan with butter then flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan-assisted, convection oven)


  • 120g/1 scant cup fine white spelt flour (or plain/all-purpose)
  • 7g/1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
  • 120g beaten egg (from 2 medium-large eggs)
  • 67ml/g full-fat milk
  • 20g/1 and a half tablespoons mild olive oil, 0’4º
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar, to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 90g/3oz (1/3 cup) pesto, homemade or shop-bought
  • 27g/0.95oz (1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp) grated parmesan cheese
  • 23g/0.8oz (1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp) grated gruyere or ementhal (emmental) cheese

Pesto spelt mini muffins

Careful not to overbake or they’ll be dry.  And you wouldn’t want that…

Pesto spelt mini muffins - making 1

Pesto spelt mini muffins - making 2

Hey presto!  Or hey pesto!  🙂

Pesto spelt savoury muffins for parties and picnics!

Lots of pesto spelt savoury muffins for parties and picnics!

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or so.  Eat whenever you’re feeling peckish (British English for ‘a little hungry’).

Hope you will partake of a little mini muffin or two, or three… (they’re mini).  They’ve been tested by the usual suspects:  my climbing friends, restaurant-going friends, French, Catalans, Chinese, etc.  And yes, pesto spelt mini muffins are approved as super tasty!

Cheesy pesto savoury muffins for parties and picnics!

Have some pesto savoury muffins!

Farewell savoury reader!  Have a lovely week and weekend ahead with some happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x




Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

7 thoughts on “Pesto spelt mini muffins recipe – yummy picnic or party appetizers!”

  1. These muffins are such a surprise–they look quite innocuous from the outside, but the inside has such a lovely pale green and so many delicious flavours! As always, your baking is so much fun Lili!

    Liked by 1 person

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