This southern style vegan cornbread is not only delicious and quite classic, it's also gluten-free. Vegan "buttermilk" creates a light, gorgeously golden crumb without any added fat. It makes a perfect meal with my vegan Hoppin' John and Collard Greens.
We love cornbread with its buttery, grainy texture, and this golden, delicious, southern American -- and vegan -- version is the latest favorite in our home.
This is a gluten-free cornbread, made with cornmeal only, and I use vegan yogurt to create a quick buttermilk that gives the bread amazing flavor and adds in some moisture. The cornbread is otherwise free of any added fats except the cooking spray (or tiny bit of oil) needed to coat the skillet.
All of these dishes are as healthy as they are delicious to give you the perfect start for the new year. If you try them, be sure to come back and let me know!
Making southern vegan cornbread from scratch
Cornbread is one of the easiest recipes you can put together. All you need to do is stir up the ingredients in one bowl, pour them into an oven-safe skillet or baking dish, and bake it up.
If all goes smoothly, you should have hot, fluffy, tender cornbread in under 30 minutes.
Cornbread should have a crusty exterior and a tender but moist interior. The way you get that crusty, golden exterior is by heating a cast iron skillet in a hot oven, adding oil to the skillet, and then pouring the batter into the hot skillet and baking rightaway. So always start your cornbread by heating the skillet in the oven.
If you don't have a cast iron skillet you can use a baking dish that's 9 inches square.
Why is there no flour in this recipe?
While versions of corn bread made around the country have all purpose flour, Southern cornbread is usually made with cornmeal only, preferably stoneground. You can use white or yellow cornmeal, but cornstarch is not a good substitute. Not using flour also has the happy and inclusive effect of making this gluten-free.
A vegan substitute for buttermilk
Southern corn bread uses buttermilk and eggs for the liquid component. For my vegan version I improvised by using my homemade, probiotic cashew yogurt and whisking it with water to make buttermilk. It works really well.
If you don't have vegan yogurt you can use 1 ½ cups of nondairy milk mixed with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar. But I would recommend adding 2 tbsp vegetable oil into the mix to add some moisture.
To substitute the egg, I used aquafaba.
I deliberately kept this low in fat for the new year and its theme of eating healthy. But if you want a moister crumb add four tablespoons of melted vegan butter to the batter when you mix in the buttermilk and aquafaba.
- Cornmeal, preferably stoneground. White or yellow are fine.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Vegan yogurt
- Cooking spray
- Optional: vegan butter
Vegan Cornbread, southern style
- 10-inch cast iron skillet
- 1¾ cups cornmeal (stone ground. I used yellow but white is fine too)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup vegan yogurt (whisked with ¾ cup water to make 1 ½ cups "buttermilk")
- ½ cup aquafaba
- Cooking spray for coating skillet
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the cornmeal in a bowl along with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix.
- Add the yogurt and aquafaba and mix in. Check salt and add more if you want to.
- Coat the skillet with cooking spray or brush on some oil.
- Pour in the batter and smooth the top with spatula.
- Bake 22-24 minutes or until firm and golden-brown. Cut and serve.