In a previous food life I was one third of a unique catering business that offered ready-to-cook food parcels on a subscription basis. It was called Man Meal Fridays and it was awesome – when I was a meat-eater. It was a lot of fun. I loved working with the other two partners and often times find myself wishing we were still doing it – though I know I couldn’t bring myself to do the meat part anymore.
One of our best meal deliveries was a ‘Down South BBQ’ themed dinner. I will spare you from the meaty details. My favorite contribution to that meal was the corn muffins. We did a jalapeño cheddar corn muffin. It wasn’t gluten-free and definitely wasn’t vegan because I’m 99% sure we added bacon to it. It was during that period of my life that seemed to have bacon everywhere in it. That was the past. Don’t judge me for it, okay?
I haven’t made corn muffins since then. Sure, I made cornbread once. It was awesome. But it wasn’t the same as a crunchy-crusted corn muffin with a bite of hot pepper and the tang of cheese. So when the opportunity presented itself to enjoy a big pot of chili, my first reaction was to recreate these corn muffins in a gluten-free and vegan friendly way to go along with it. And so here we are.
The recipe says ‘cheddar’ but really you can use any kind of Daiya cheese shreds you want. I used the pepper jack and a bit of the mozzarella shreds because I ran out of cheddar earlier. I am going to say that the pepper jack was an awesome choice. If you can get it you should try it. I have to go to the specialty health food store to get the pepper jack shreds but I can’t find them at the supermarket where I can find the cheddar or mozzarella.
The pumpkin in this recipe is optional – but has to be replaced with something else if you’re not into using it. It’s what I used in this case as an egg replacer if you can believe it. I love the subtle orange hue it adds to the finished product. If you’re not keen on opening a whole can of pumpkin for just 1/4 cup and don’t have any other pumpkin recipes to use the rest of it up with, you can use whatever your favorite egg replacer is – powdered, flax egg, chia egg, etc. You could also use the pumpkin and then freeze the rest into smaller portions for use later.
Finally, a little note about the hot pepper. Levi and I are spicy food freaks. We LOVE hot peppers. We put naga chilies (yes, plural – we used two!) in our last batch of homemade salsa and loved it. Sometimes when you love hot foods it can become a bit ridiculous. There have been times where we are constantly wanting to add more heat, push the limits even more. You might be like that too. “Why not add three peppers instead of just one? We can handle the heat!” I know that thought might be tempting but I think it might ruin your muffins if you do that here. It’s not just about the heat in this case. The flavor is there for a reason. The little flecks of green in the muffins too. It’s all a balance of flavors, textures, color and heat. Stick to one hot pepper and I’m sure you’ll still enjoy this.
My favorite ringing endorsement of these corn muffins comes from Jacquelyn The Gourmet Housewife‘s little guy. He gave it his seal of approval so it has to be good. Trust me, he has a very discerning palate. Jacquelyn sums it up lovely when she says “Cornbread is the way to my heart. Truthfully.” It’s easy to see why we’re such good friends, isn’t it?
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
- ⅓ cup Daiya pepper jack, cheddar or mozzarella shreds
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup pureed pumpkin
- ⅓ cup grapeseed oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin tin with non-stick olive oil cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together cornmeal, gluten-free flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Add in jalapeno and stir to coat each little piece.
- In a measuring cup combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add baking soda and stir to combine.
- In another bowl whisk together pureed pumpkin and grapeseed oil. Add in non-dairy milk mixture. Whisk to combine well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Fold in Daiya shreds.
- Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and a pick comes clean when inserted.
- Let cool 5 minutes in the muffin pan before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
If you’re looking for a great chili recipe to go with these awesome muffins why not try my Vegetarian Chili. If you’re looking for something totally outside the box, I’d recommend my Caribbean Jerk Chili. The chili that I served these with this particular time is from an amazing cookbook called Spilling The Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan. It was their Two Bean & Sweet Potato Chipotle Chili. And man, is it ever good!