paleo cornbreadThis corn-free paleo cornbread tastes and looks like real cornbread. It has the same color, the same texture, and the same amount of sweetness. It pairs perfectly with bean chili, but my kids love it toasted with melted butter for breakfast the most.

Vegetables are probably the only food group that nutritionists and dietitians agree we should eat more of. Vegetables’ unquestioned status as a health food has existed for years.

When I go grocery shopping, my cart consists of 75% vegetables, 5% fruit, and 20% non-perishables. My children know they can’t have dessert before they finish all their vegetables. I load our morning smoothies with green vegetables. My husband, who doesn’t normally care about nutrition, eats raw spinach or some other type of leafy greens straight out of the bag pretty much before every dinner. We definitely eat more than three to five servings of vegetables per day.

However, there are a number of vegetables we eat sparingly. Corn is one of them.

I am saying “we eat sparingly” because I would still rather feed my family corn on the cob (which is delicious, especially straight off the grill!) than a pizza from the freezer section of a supermarket. However, there are a number of reasons why you may want to limit your corn intake, particularly if weight loss is your goal.

In a 2015 Harvard study, researchers reported that corn, out of all vegetables, is the biggest culprit for weight gain. The reason? Corn has a high glycemic load, producing intense blood sugar spikes. Corn also includes phytate, a phytonutrient that can prevent the absorption of zinc, iron, and selenium. However, it also contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, consider it a starchy vegetable and eat it sparingly, preferably organic and in the summer, when you can eat it locally and fresh.

If you’re completely avoiding corn or have relatives and/or friend who avoid grains*, you’ll love this corn-free cornbread.

*Corn is often categorized as a vegetable grain. Sweet corn when harvested before maturity is considered a vegetable. Field corn that is harvested when the seeds are dry is considered a grain. Sweet corn is grown to be eaten fresh as a tender vegetable. Field corn is grown to be eaten as a dried grain suitable for grinding into flour or meal.

vegan gluten-free cornbread

Northern Cornbread vs Southern Cornbread

If you’ve grown up eating cornbread, you know that there are two variants – northern cornbread and southern cornbread.

Southern cornbread is made from cornmeal only (no wheat), has very little or no sugar, and is cooked in a hot skillet on top of the stove and finished in the oven. Northern cornbread has a much higher percentage of flour, is very sweet, and baked in the oven. Which one do you prefer? Sweet cake-like northern cornbread or savory dense southern cornbread?

What if you could have a little bit of both in one recipe? This vegan paleo cornbread recipe delivers exactly that – it’s slightly sweet, tender, and moist with a delicate crumb.

Tips for Making Corn-Free Paleo Cornbread

Ingredients

The main ingredient in this cornbread is millet, which is a seed. It has a mild, slightly nutty and sweet taste that a lot of people liken to that of corn. Millet grows in several colors – white, red, yellow, and grey – but for this recipe you will want to go with the yellow kind (which is the most common). I am not the first person sharing a cornbread recipe with millet. Various corn-free cornbread recipes calls for millet flour, coarsely ground dry millet, soaked millet, or even whole cooked millet. In this recipe I’m using soaked (uncooked) millet because it yields the best texture, in my opinion. 

Another important ingredient is almond flour, which increases the sweetness of the cornbread and helps with a fluffy texture. I highly recommend finely ground blanched almond flour for best results. 

Neither millet or almond flour are particularly binding, so you will need to use ground white chia seeds and golden flaxseeds to bind all the ingredients together. The chia seeds are mandatory. The golden flaxseeds are not, but they do affect the final texture. If you make this cornbread with just chia seeds, it will be very crumbly. The more flaxseed meal you use, the less crumbly the cornbread will be. 

My go-to liquid ingredients are vegan buttermilk (almond milk + lemon juice) and vegan butter. If you don’t have vegan butter on hand, you can use refined coconut oil instead.

So, what about a sweetener? I used coconut sugar because I do like slightly sweet cornbread. However, you don’t have to use any sweetener if you don’t want to. The best cornbread is the cornbread you like.

vegan paleo cornbread without corn

Technique

This recipe is pretty straightforward – add all the ingredients (except for the baking soda) into a food processor (or a blender) and process until smooth. I like to stir in the baking soda right before baking, because when you mix baking soda (base) with apple cider vinegar (acid), you get a chemical reaction. A product of this reaction is carbon dioxide, producing a lift in your baked goods. The reaction starts as soon as the base and the acid are mixed. So, get the cornbread in the oven immediately after you mix the two, before the reaction tapers off.

If possible, bake the cornbread in a skillet with a cast-iron surface. I used a an 8 x 8 inch/20 x 20 cm square pan, but you can use a 9 inch/22.5 cm round pan or even a 12-cup muffin pan. Cast iron skillets are the traditional choice for cornbread because they provide the best heat retention. Greasing your pan before adding the batter is a must. And if you want a crisp brown crust, which is the true mark of good southern cornbread, make sure you preheat the pan before adding the batter as well.

Tools You’ll Need

kitchen tools for paleo cornbread

1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Pan (9-Inch, Lodge, Cast Iron) | 3. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass) | 4. Measuring Cup (4 Cups, Pyrex, Glass) | 5. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 6. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)

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vegan gluten-free cornbread
5 from 3 votes

Corn-Free Cornbread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 9 squares

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/4 cup (200 g) millet, soaked*
  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk**
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (120 g) zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) white chia seeds, ground
  • 2 Tbsp. (14 g) golden flaxseed meal***
  • 1/4 cup (47.5 g) almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan butter, melted****
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. (3 g) baking soda
  • salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add the almond milk and apple cider vinegar into a small bowl. Give it a few stirs and let it sit for 5 minutes, until the almond milk curdles.
  • Add the soaked millet, buttermilk, zucchini, almond flour, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, butter, and coconut sugar into a food processor. Process until the zucchini is completely pureed and all the ingredients are well-combined. Right before you’re ready to bake the cornbread, stir in the baking soda.
  • Grease an 8 x 8 inch/20 x 20 cm square cast iron pan or a 9"/22.5 cm round cast iron pan. Pour the batter in, and bake the cornbread at 350°F/175°C until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter, about 35 minutes.
  • Let the cornbread cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  • Leftover cornbread keeps well in an airtight container for 3 days. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Notes

*Place the millet in a medium bowl, add enough water to cover it by 1 inch/2.5 cm and let it soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Drain, rinse, and use as instructed.
**Make sure the milk is at a room temperature, so the vegan butter (or coconut oil) doesn't harden once added.
***The amount of flaxseed meal determines how crumbly the cornbread is. If you don't use any flaxseed meal, the cornbread will be very crumbly. If you use more than 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal, the cornbread will not crumble at all and will take on almost like a bread-like texture (elastic and stretchy).
****I would highly recommend using vegan butter in this recipe. The butter not only makes the cornbread taste buttery, but it also enhances the yellow color.
******Prep time does not include soaking the millet (at least 2 hours).
This recipe has been adapted from Detoxinista.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 9, Calories: 215kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 11g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 2g