Plantain Cornbread

Is there anything better than rich, flavorful cornbread that's a little bit crumbly and a little bit sweet? What if that cornbread is paired with a steaming, zesty bowl of chili or soup and all sorts of awesome toppings?? Now we're talking!

My road to this cornbread was not an easy one; I can't tell you how many test batches I made. My goal was to make an absurdly delicious cornbread, but one that has nutritious ingredients that I'll happily eat night after night. I wanted a luxurious, moist texture that holds together when you slice it but easily crumbles into a bowl of chili. Let me tell you, this was not a straightforward quest.

But at long last I figured it out, and I can honestly say that this is some of the best cornbread I've had. It's rich and soft, has a luxurious texture, develops a gorgeous brown crust, and has a lovely delicate sweetness. It's everything I've ever wanted in cornbread.

In terms of ingredients, this beauty's structure comes from a mixture of cornmeal, almond meal, and the smallest bit of coconut flour. This blend creates a crumb that is airy and soft, without falling apart. It feels a bit lighter than traditional cornbread, which I love.

Most of the moisture here comes from coconut milk, coconut cream, and coconut oil. Using a mixture of the three yields much better results that any single one, creating a bread that is moist without being spongy and oh so decadent. A couple eggs help with structure and loft, and a bit of maple syrup lends subtle sweetness.

And of course we have to talk about the secret ingredient- a roasted, pureed plantain! I know this sounds odd, but the plantain lends structure and sweetness, almost exactly like how bananas do in banana bread (and many other "healthy" baked goods). But I figured banana cornbread sounded totally odd. Plantain seemed so much more appropriate given its prevalence in Caribbean cuisine and other cuisines around the world.

I can't say I've ever heard of a plantain cornbread before, but I hope it will become A Thing now! Plantain makes this cornbread rich, a bit sweet, a bit earthy, and so moist. I told you this was a such a process to get this recipe figured out. But isn't it awesome? No refined flour, no refined sugar, no weird gums or starches, and almost everything is an easy pantry item.

In terms of serving, this bread is heavenly alongside any sort of Mexican-inspired or Caribbean-inspired soup or stew like this Butternut Squash, Black Bean, and Wheatberry Chili. We've had it alongside salads and have even been bringing it for lunch. It's moist enough to not require something else with it.

But one of my favorite ways to eat it is as breakfast or dessert! Warm up or toast a big slice and drizzle it with maple syrup for a totally divine treat. In that sense, this could totally work as brunch food and would be way easier than making pancakes or waffles for a crowd.

Wondering about those pretty plantain slices on the top? They're totally not necessary, but if you want to add them, buy a second plantain. I just cut them super thinly with a mandolin and arranged them on top of the raw batter. As the batter bakes, so do the plantain slices, and they become almost chip-like in the process. They absolutely must be paper-thin though.

Given that we're currently deep into Chili Season, Dave and I will be making this cornbread again and again throughout the rest of the winter. I hope you will too, this is truly a special treat.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

I love reinventing classic baked goods with wholesome ingredients and different flavor spins. If you do too, then check out this Pumpkin Macadamia Cake, which is made with oat flour.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Large green plantain
  • 1.25 c yellow cornmeal. Note that this is not the same thing as grits or polenta!
  • 1 c blanched almond flour. Not the same thing as almond meal. Blanched almond flour is very fine and airy and has a white color. I like Bob's Red Mill.
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour. Again, Bob's Red Mill all the way.
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5c coconut cream. This is from a can of full-fat coconut milk (don't try to use the "lite" kind). When you open the can, there will be some very rich, solid, white fat at the top. This is the coconut cream. Scoop it out until you have half a cup, or as close to that as you can get. If you can't get a half cup, supplement with some of the milk.
  • 0.5c coconut milk. After you remove the coconut cream, the milk is the liquid left at the bottom.
  • 0.5c coconut oil
  • 0.5c maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 and oil a small baking sheet (I like coconut oil).
  2. Peel the plantain (there are some good tutorials online for how to do this) and cut it into quarter-inch disks. Salt them generously and bake on a well-oiled sheet for 30-35 minutes until soft.
  3. Once the plantains are done, transfer the pieces to a blender and add a dash of water (or coconut milk, if you prefer). Blend until you have a very thick, rich, creamy, smooth puree, adding more water as needed. Note that you can easily do this a day or two in advance and store the puree in the fridge until you're ready to bake.
  4. When you're ready to bake, decrease the oven (or preheat the oven) to 350. Generously oil a pie pan (I like coconut oil). I also like to line the bottom of the pie pan with a circle of parchment paper so that I can easily pop out the entire bread, although it's not necessary if you plan to serve the bread in its baking pan.
  5. Mix together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, blanched almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Combine the plantain puree, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, and maple syrup in a small saucepan and warm gently just until everything has combined. This works fine in the microwave too. Make sure you have a smooth mixture with no lumps of coconut cream or coconut oil.
  7. Remove the wet ingredients from the heat and allow them to cool to luke warm.
  8. Add the eggs to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  9. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix just until everything has been incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter into the oiled pie pan.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the bread develops a golden top and slightly browned edges. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, but only barely.
  12. If you want to leave the bread in the baking dish, it's fine (and delicious!) to serve it warm. If you're going to try to remove the entire thing from the dish, wait until it's completely cool and then invert it onto a plate, then invert again to get it rightside-up.


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