My dear friend Iumi has been my gentle, patient mentor in transitioning to a plant-based diet. I live in Washington, and she lives in Texas, but any time I get stuck, or want to create a vegan version of a well-loved recipe, all I have to do is message her and she fills my in-box with ideas!
Iumi’s Vegan Cornbread
1 cup unsweetened vegan milk of choice (I prefer almond)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup masa harina*
(alternative: 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup corn meal
2 flax eggs**
(alternative: 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil (if using applesauce, you can leave out the oil, if you’d like to be lower fat)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
8 ounces corn kernels (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. If using a cast iron skillet, oil it well and put it in the oven now.
Whisk the nut milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside. This will be your “buttermilk”.
Mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix the “buttermilk”, coconut oil, and flax eggs or applesauce, and (if using) the maple syrup and corn kernels. Stir wet into dry. You may need to add about 1/4 cup more liquid to batter….you decide. Stir only long enough to combine…don’t over-mix.
Pour the batter into your choice of pan. Iumi bakes in muffin tins (with liners), which she prefers; I use an oiled sizzling-hot cast iron frying pan, because my grandma taught me that version 😉
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Iumi adds: “There are two schools of thought regarding cornbread…sweet and not. You can see I am in the ‘not’ group! But if you want it sweet, just add whatever sweetener you prefer and adjust for liquid.”
*Masa harina is a very soft flour made from finely ground hominy or dried corn kernels that have been cooked and soaked in a diluted solution of calcium hydroxide, aka limewater. Because the corn has been treated with limewater, you cannot substitute cornmeal in recipes that call for masa harina.
**Flax eggs are a quick and easy egg replacement, featuring freshly ground flax or chia seeds. Method: (yields one flax egg) Combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (measure after grinding) with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well, and place in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you will have a sticky egg-like substitute.
Additions: Instead of corn kernels, try chopped mild green chilies for a tasty Southwestern addition (or a few diced jalapeños for real Tex-Mex kick), diced, roasted red bell peppers for crunch and color, orange zest and dried cranberries for Thanksgiving style, toasted chopped walnuts, or cheddar and green onions (if you eat dairy).