Monday, November 19, 2012

Your vegan Thanksgiving skillet-cornbread solution

"What's with all the vegan food lately?" you might be asking yourself. "I didn't think you were vegan, Nervous Cook."

Well, frankly, I'm not vegan. In fact, I'm pretty crummy with -ans and -isms and -ists. That isn't to say I think there's anything wrong with identifying as an -an or an -ist: It's just that I don't take that hard a line in my life with many things. I'm really impressionable; life presents too many convincing arguments every which way for me to ever feel committed enough to make declarative, definitive statements about what I AM™.

So no, I'm not vegan. I'm more… well, I'm vague-an. I don't eat nearly as many animal-based products as my fellow Americans, but I am an egg-head with a daily Greek yogurt habit. I like a tuna sandwich every once in a while. (Pole caught, no salt added.) And I regularly cook meat for Mr. Nervous, because he likes that sort of thing.

But I love vegan food. I love being able to cook without relying on animals in any way. I love minimizing my carbon footprint, and eating lean and clean and plant-based. I also, however, love things like pie, and sandwiches, and cornbread. So if I happen to find a vegan version of one of these things, I'm, like, basically giddy.

Here, to show thanks for delicious vegan food this holiday season, is a surprisingly kind of awesome and unusual vegan skillet cornbread I miraculously kind of improvised despite literally never having made cornbread before. GO FIGURE, VEGAN GENIUS!

This recipe makes one 5" skillet's worth of cornbread. Can also be doubled for a 10".
6oz plant-based milk
1 tsp apple-cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup whatever flour you prefer
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
2 tsp sweetener you like (I used molasses)
2 tsp to 2 tbs olive oil (see note)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)

Preheat an oven to 375°F; lightly grease a 5" skillet and put it into the oven to warm it.

In a small bowl, combine plant-based milk and acid (juice or vinegar) and set aside, allowing it to curdle slightly. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

In a food processor, blend cranberries, sweetener, ginger (if using) and olive oil until smooth. (Note: using less oil results in a drier bread, while using closer to 1/4 cup will create a moister crumb. I like a dry 'bread, but feel free to experiment.) Once the liquid is well mixed, slowly add it to the flour mixture and stir it until it's just all combined. Pour into the preheated skillet and bake until golden brown (about 20–25 minutes). Serve warm, spread with vegan butter and agave if desired.

Serves 4.

Do you seek out vegan food despite not being vegan? What's your favorite?


  1. I could never be a vegan, but congrats on your cornbread WIN!

  2. i seek vegan options when dining out to ensure no dairy products make its way into my plate/bowl of food. i love meat but nowadays restaurants that are organic farm to table (which is awesome) use EVERY part/think of the animal (which is also very awesome) and then cook it up in butter which then makes me sick. i would love to try sweetbreads or whatever weird thing on the menu without it being marinaded/fried/cooked in butter/ghee.

  3. I love your writing! I always smile at your whit and whimsy. I am certainly in the "vague-an" camp too.


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