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Squash, Barley and Pine Nut Cupcakes

Don’t let the word “cupcakes” fool you! This recipe is a sure treat, but it’s not sweet. A savory cupcake is made with dense ingredients that will fill you up.



¾ cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons black tea


12 ounces chopped squash or pumpkin (kaboocha is perfect)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups barley

1 teaspoon mustard seeds, optional

1 cup white wine

3 cups simmering stock or water

1 cup baby spinach

6 eggs

¼ cup milk

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

4 tablespoons pine nuts

Baby arugula, to serve



  1. Place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until a glaze consistency, about 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.   Brush muffin or cupcake pan with olive oil.
  3. Toss the squash with olive oil, to coat all the pieces and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just tender but still firm.
  4. While squash is cooking, place barley and mustard seeds in a large dry saucepan and lightly toast the grains on medium heat, shaking pan, for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, reduce heat and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, then add 2 cups of the stock or water and continue to cook barley is plump and tender, adding extra stock if becomes dry, and stirring occasionally.  Drain off any excess moisture.
  5. Place barley in a large bowl with the squash, spinach, beaten eggs and milk and oregano.  Season to taste and mix well.  Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with pine nuts.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set through.  Allow to sit in pan a few minutes before turning out, and serving with the glaze spooned over.  Top with a few leaves baby arugula if desired.

Nutritional Information

Based on 8 servings.

Per serving:

Calories 360
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 160mg
Sodium 125mg
Carbohydrates 57g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Protein 9g