Cornbread always offers a warm familiarity. Sweet, grainy, and crispy around the edges. Sturdy enough to hold it’s own against a big bowl of chili, and stable enough to be a breakfast in and of itself. For vegans, it’s usually something that is missed- who makes cornbread without bacon grease? I know, I know, it’s almost blasphemy to do this- but I did. And I don’t regret it. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even use a cast iron skillet (because I don’t have one.) I adapted my recipe from Closet Kitchen’s Jalapeno Cornbread by switching out the buttermilk for full-fat coconut milk and the grease for some extra virgin olive oil. In vegan baking, I like to use coarse sea salt. When combined with coconut milk, it offers a buttery richness in vegan baking- a factor that is usually lacking. My goal in vegan culinary adventures is to make things taste as not vegan as possible, because as someone once put so eloquently- vegan food is gross.
One of the biggest questions I’m asked about vegan baking is how is it done without eggs? There’s tons of options, and eggs aren’t the key ingredient in non-veggie baked goodies for the finished product to rise- they’re simply there for binding. One of my favorite egg replacements in savory baked goods is the flax egg. Flax eggs provide a good dose of omega-3’s and they provide a nutty, almost almond-y taste to whatever you’re making- and they’re so easy to make! I’ll provide directions on the flax egg with the recipe below.
So, what inspired jalapenos to go with rosemary? I suppose in my case, creativity comes when you’re running out of options. You never try anything interesting right after you go grocery shopping. The clever ideas start flowing when you’re running out of food and you have to use whatever you have left. This afternoon, I had a few sprigs of fresh rosemary I wanted to use before they dried up, and I have several jalapenos leftover from the falafel I made on Saturday. Combine those with the bulk amount of organic corn meal I have lying around, and the only viable option is to make cornbread! On to the recipe:
What you’ll need:
For the corn bread:
- 1 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c corn meal
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 c full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 2 flax eggs
- 2 medium jalapenos, diced
- about 3 tbsp of fresh rosemary. If you’re using dried, reduce to a teaspoon or two.
- 1/2 tsp or 1 clove minced garlic
To make flax eggs:
Avoid buying flax meal- it never keeps as long. Once the oils from flax seeds is let out, it can go rancid very quickly. Instead, buy your seeds whole and store them in the freezer or refrigerator and use as needed.
To make ONE flax egg, you’ll need:
- 1 tbsp whole flax seeds (whatever color you have on hand will be just fine)
- 3 tbsp warm water
Put the flax seeds in a magic bullet, blender, coffee grinder, mortar and pestle- whatever is available to you- and grind the flax seeds into a fine powder. Add the warm water and use a fork to whisk the flax powder and water together and then put it in the refrigerator for no less than 15 minutes to allow it to set. It will become a gel consistency. For this cornbread recipe, double the flax recipe as you’ll need two eggs.
To make the corn bread:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. If you have a cast iron skillet, I recommend using it (a 10 inch pan would be best). To make cornbread with it, put a little olive oil in the pan and heat it up on the stove top while you get everything ready. If you’re not using a cast iron skillet, get your 9×5 bread pan or 8×8 pan, or 8 in. cake pan oiled up and set it aside. Whisk together in a large bowl your flax eggs, coconut milk, garlic, jalapenos, rosemary, and olive oil. In another bowl, combine your corn meal, flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and combine until everything is wet. Skillet users- now is the time to turn the burner off, if you haven’t already. Regardless of what your choice of pans is- pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly, then pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes or until when poked in the center with a knife, it comes out clean.
*Note: If you’re using a very coarse grind corn meal I recommend adding about two more tablespoons of coconut milk and adding 5 minutes to the bake time to help soften those little grains up a little better.