Whenever we get together, my sister and I and our friend K end up half-jokingly planning this café we’re going to open in a future life. We haven’t decided on a name or location yet; but we’ve often fantasized about the small Greek Island K grew up on. We would maybe name it Rosina’s for our grandmother; and on Sundays cook her smoky jollof rice over a wood burning fire. K’s saucy Ghormeh Sabzi would be on the menu too, it has fresh chopped spinach and dried herbs, it’s his mom’s recipe.
We’ve been collecting recipes for our imaginary café; every time one of us makes something we really love, we put in our recipe bank. The first time we tried these savoury cornbread muffins with harissa butter, we agreed that the butter belonged on the list.
Stirring a dollop of harissa paste into butter turns it into a tasty versatile condiment. It’s almost magical!
One of my favourite ways to use harissa butter is on toast; spread thickly with slices of avocado on top, and stacked with heaps of arugula (or frisée) and a generous splash of balsamic vinaigrette. Harissa butter is also handy to have around for tossing with pasta or roasted potatoes, it’s ridiculously easy and so good.
Of course, I can’t get enough of it slathered on cornbread. I make a batch whenever I make savoury muffins; it’s the only way I eat them now!
I like cornbread. There’s that southern food thing again… although I prefer savoury cornbread to sweet, or rather salty-sweet and packed with umami. These muffins are tender and crisp on the outside, delicious with the perfect punch of spiciness in every bite. The original recipe actually came from K, it had four types of cheese, thick slices of jalapeno and bacon bits, he claims it has won awards. He handed me his grease-stained recipe and said let’s try for an equally yummy ‘gentler version’… perhaps for our list?
This flavourful and hearty plant-based take on the cheesy cornbread gets a little help from nutritional yeast, sun dried tomatoes, garlic with hints of pepper and a sprinkle of pungent spices. It’s a great snack on its own and also makes a delicious robust meal with soup, stew, chili or a leafy salad.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I look forward to them at breakfast, I love how well the savouriness of these muffins pair with my morning tea.
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) non-hydrogenated plant-based butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste, or to taste
- Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoon almond milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal (coarse polenta)
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons raw or regular sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, plus more for garnishing
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground or freshly grated turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (or cumin)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
- Combine softened butter with harissa and salt (if using) and mix until well combined
- Mix ground flaxseed with water in a small cup or bowl, set aside and let mixture thicken, at least 5 minutes
- Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar in another bowl or cup and let that too sit for 5 minutes or so
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line muffin pan with baking cups (liners)
- Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and soda in a large mixing bowl
- Add in nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder, peppers, turmeric, coriander and salt, and mix to combine.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk flax mixture, almond milk and oil together
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour and spice mixture), pour in the wet ingredients (flax, almond milk and oil mixture) and fold in with a spatula until evenly combined and batter is smooth
- Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan to about 3/4th full each
- Place in oven and bake for 18 – 25 minutes until tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean
- Let muffins rest on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing from muffin pan to cool further
- Serve warm with harissa butter