To me, the real trouble with cornbread has always been that it is only that- cornbread. With other foods I can appreciate the simplicity of a single flavor or texture, but somehow cornbread has never been able to satisfy me with simplicity. If you’re not like me in this area, my added texture and flavor to the humble cornbread might be a bit jarring, but I assure you it is delicious! My cornbread is given textural interest, with the crunch of toasted sunflower seeds baked evenly into every bite, and best of all, the magic of the roasted tomato- charred, juicy, crispy, salty and bright- the occasional tomato strewn on the cornbread’s crust brings it to life. As an added bonus, I’ve made this simple recipe not only my usual vegan, but also gluten-free.
This recipe is super simple, it has only three main steps: first, roast the tomatoes and toast the sunflower seeds, secondly mix the batter and third wait eagerly beside the oven for 25 minutes while it cooks. You need to plan at least an hour and a half to complete this dish, primarily because the tomatoes need to roast for about an hour by themselves before the dish can be assembled. During this time you can take your attention from the tomatoes and put it towards more pressing matters- assemble the batter, cook another delicious element to your meal, or read a good book- with the exception of a flip midway through, they’ll acquire the perfect taste if you just leave them be.
Cornbread with Sunflower Seeds and Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 large tomatoes
- Sunflower seed oil
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds, shelled
- 1 ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 1 TBSP. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt (cornbread batter) + more, to taste for tomatoes
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup cashew milk
- ¼ cup sunflower seed oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, and coat with oil. Slice tomatoes into pieces, approximately ¼ inch thick, and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and place in the oven for 1 hour, taking them out once halfway through and flipping.
2. In a small skillet, toast the sunflower seeds dry, making sure to stir them frequently in order to keep them from burning. Remove from the heat after a couple minutes, when they begin to turn slightly brown and smell toasted.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, quinoa flour, baking powder and salt. Next add the wet ingredients (agave, cashew milk, and oil) and stir until combined. Finally add the sunflower seeds, and stir a couple times to combine.
4. After the tomatoes are cooked, grease a 9 inch round pan, and add the cornbread batter. Place the roasted tomatoes on top of the batter before returning the pan to the oven (this should still be set to 400°F). Let cook for around 25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted through a non-tomato covered part comes out clean), let cool slightly and enjoy.