Quinoa Cornbread

This healthy update on cornbread uses no butter, eggs, milk, salt, oil, or refined sugar or flour, instead getting its sweetness and texture from apple juice, bananas, oats, quinoa and flax seeds.

1 cup water
1/2 cup dry quinoa

1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
1-1/2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 of a ripe banana
1 cup apple juice (or 2-3 pitted dates soaked in 1 cup water)
Water as needed

1. Cook the quinoa: boil 1 cup water, then add in the dry quinoa, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is gone and the quinoa is fluffy.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the cornmeal, oat flour, flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

3. In a separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork, and blend in the apple juice (or water and dates). (If using dates instead of apple juice, mix the banana, dates and water in a blender for a smoother consistency.)

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients with a fork; fold in the cooked quinoa. The mixture should be thick, but add a little water if it’s too stiff. Spread mixture into a non-stick or parchment paper-lined 8×8-inch square pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Notes: You can also use blue cornmeal in place of the yellow cornmeal, and add fresh corn kernels or blueberries for a heartier, more colorful cornbread. / Quinoa comes in yellow, red and black, so feel free to use red or black for a more variegated cornbread. / Use a powerful blender, like a Vitamix or Tribest personal-size blender, to grind the flax seeds and oats, and to blend the bananas, dates and water.

Preparation: 20 minutes; cooking: 25 minutes; makes one 8×8 pan

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  1. Kevin Moore says

    I loved this and so did my friends. I added a little bit more cinnamon. I also tried this with red quinoa and it was great. This can really be customized to various tastes.

    You’re awesome Cathy!

  2. says

    Thanks Kevin! You’re right, it is really customizable. I’ve seen tri-colored quinoa at Whole Foods; that would be cool too. So many options… :) See ya later, and thanks again!

  3. gwenoatman says

    I made this last night with one change and it turned out great! When I tried this at true north, I wasn’t crazy about the hint of banana flavor in it… so I subbed 1/2 cup applesauce and it turned out perfect! I love the bit of nutty flavor from the quinoa. Thanks!

  4. Brooke says

    Just made these into muffins and really like them! I baked them at 350 for 17 minutes and they turned out nice. it made 24 muffins – next time I would probably do mini muffins and bake for 15 minutes. I like them a little more cooked! I am also going to replace the corn and applesauce (which i used intest of banana) with pumpkin for a yummy fall muffin the next time I try this!

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Brooke, great! Mmm, pumpkin cornbread, I like it! Let me know how it turns out. I always look for the crackle lines in the tops; that lets me know they are done. Also with a little browning around the edges. I’ve never had this cornbread be too dry, so a cooking it little longer is not a problem. :)

  5. Bonnie says

    I made the recipe last week, following it exactly and loved it. That said, I made it again tonight and used tri-color quinoa and added 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels. I’m in love with this recipe either way and look forward to trying it with blue cornmeal as well!!

    • Bonnie says

      UPDATE: I make this recipe in my silicone muffin pan just about every week, because they go so well with all the soup I’ve been making for dinner! I tried the blue cornmeal and was not so crazy about it – the blue cornmeal I bought was now as finely ground as the yellow cornmeal I’ve been using, so the texture of the muffins was not nearly as nice and crumbled a lot.

      Last night I made these again and didn’t have a ripe banana so decided to use ~1/2 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce instead and LOVED the moisture the apple sauce added to the muffins. Also, they were as moist tonight as they were right out of the oven tonight, so I’m thinking the apple sauce will help them stay moist a bit longer, as I am only one person eating the muffins so they are usually around for 4 or 5 night. I will be using apple sauce in these from here on out, no doubt!

  6. Bob says

    Delicious! I replaced the apple juice with lemonade and the 1/2 banana with pureed carrots. – fantastic!
    and I added a wee bit of daiya cheddar cheese (shredded) because of family that has a tooth for cheesy goodness.

    Great idea! I love cornbread and adding quinoa made the difference!

    • says

      Hi Patty, I don’t think that would work, unfortuanately. The quinoa when cooked has a lot of liquid in it, so flour would not be a suitable substitute.

  7. Lauren Vaught says

    I want to make this a savory, perhaps spicy cornbread to go with my veggie chili…..any suggestions for the banana, cinnamon substitutes?

  8. C says

    I’m luvin your website – but my doctor is into RAW eating – what say ye about the RAW food eating experience vs steaming, baking, and heating food?

    • says

      Hi Carol, I love raw food and cooked food, so I try to get a nice balance. If you are worried about cooked food but don’t want to go all raw, you can stick to steaming and less overcooking at high heat (baking, roasting, broiling, frying). I do the latter less often, more as an occasional treat. Most raw advocates I’ve met consider themselves “high raw,” meaning they eat mostly raw with some lightly cooked foods. But try both or a combo and see what feels right to your body. I think you can be healthy eating either way, but most find that eating some of both is the most sustainable for them, practically, financially and tastefully speaking. Ask your Dr. for more info and then do more research on your own. Doctors (and others with strong opinions) are just a starting point. Good luck! :)

  9. says

    Wow, this recipe looks good!! Finally, a healthy plant-based blogger with real healthy recipes and substitutions :) so happy that I have found your site!!
    Also love how many fruity recipes you have. I will be a frequent visitor!! Keep up the great work, you are awesome!!

  10. Lynn says

    This is so good!

    When I took it out of the oven I thought that this must be another of my many failures at cooking. Some of my rude friends from Texas would even say that it looked like a cowpie. It didn’t puff up like regular cornbread.

    When I cut it up and ate a piece, it was delicious! I can’t believe how good this tastes. And all 100% healthy ingredients. This is an absolutely amazing recipe.

  11. Elizabeth says

    I made this bread today. I wanted to thank you. It is delicious and hearty. I am going thru your recipes. I love it!

  12. Bianca says

    Hi Cathy! Thank you for this. I made it and loved the recipe, it’s so easy and delicious! Do you happen to know the calorie count for this? :-)

  13. Doreen Karp says

    I love reading the comments that people write. Instead of using banana and apple juice, I substituted applesauce, water and dates. We made muffins and were pleasantly surprised at how moist they were! They were great!!

  14. Tiffany says

    Hi Cathy. This is such a good recipe! Just wondering what type of cornmeal do you use? I noticed the kind I can find at the grocery store is enriched and degerminated. So I am assuming this is no longer a whole food. Thanks!

  15. JS says

    The texture is spot on! It was really moist with applesauce, and is fine in the fridge even after a few days. I would halve the amount next time, because it’s too much for one person to eat.

  16. says

    I have made this awesome recipe twice already! I love the taste, and the texture is spot-on. I don’t usually have bananas or apple juice in the house so I used date water and applesauce instead. One time I added chopped fresh jalapenos (no cinnamon) to eat with chili, and the other time I added raisins with cinnamon to eat for breakfast and desserts.
    I had a giant bottle of red quinoa from Costco and some cornmeal that I needed to use up, so thank you so much for sharing this recipe and helping me use what is in my cupboard!

  17. says

    First of all Cathy, thx for all the great recipes! Look forward to ur book.
    I am new to vegetarian dishes and have a lot to learn. I made ur cornbread recipe tonight (muffins actually, with a couple of variations.). It was pretty good – very filling :-)
    How does one keep the muffins from sticking to the paper cups? Would it be worth it to invest in some of that ‘rubbery’ cookware? Silk something?
    This for all your hard work!

  18. Tara D says

    Hi Cathy! I made this today and added some frozen corn because I had some. It turned out great and my husband really liked it too. Thank you so much for the great recipe!

  19. says

    This is so wonderful Cathy. Made it two days ago, then again today-it was devoured in my house. I used polenta instead of cornmeal and it was litter grainey-er which gave it more texture. I might try a lil jalapeno in it next batch. So grateful for your generosity and sharing of these recipes (I refer people here regularly).

  20. Michelle says

    I just made this today! They turned out awesome! My picky sweet tooth daughter loved them too. Can applesauce be used instead of apple juice? I used the dates today because i have them. i have applesauce too and was thinking of trying that next if you think it would work? Thank you Cathy!

  21. says

    I made it Mexican style! Chopped jalapenos, onions, chili powder and corn! I also used oat flour instead of grinding up the oats! It is amazing!! I will make this again and again! Thanks for the healthy and yummy recipe! :)

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