cornbreadThat good home cooking.Photo: April McGregerSpring Vegetable Cornbread
This recipe is my effort to reinvent a family favorite recipe for broccoli cornbread. Broccoli cornbread might sound healthy, but it’s not. The original recipe calls for a very sweet cornbread mix heavy on preservatives and trans fats, and light on nutrition. It also calls for a full two sticks of butter, or–worse–margarine. In my version, I’ve slashed the amount of butter, tripled the amount of vegetables, and relied on traditional, stone-ground ,organic cornmeal instead of a commercial mix. This recipe is still a cinch to pull together and the resulting dish exceptionally moist and chocked full of naturally sweet vegetables that kids love.

It takes less than 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. I know that finding lots of fresh vegetables in rural areas can be difficult, so I’ve even tried this with a variety of frozen vegetables. It works great, and frozen are definitely the better nutritional alternative to canned (unless they are home canned). This recipe is also endlessly adaptable–try a summer vegetable cornbread bake with fresh corn, green beans, peppers, and tomatoes. It works just as well as a side dish as it does a main course.

5 cups mixed spring vegetables, cut into bite size pieces (frozen vegetables are fine and you can even use the microwave to steam them .if it’s more convenient). I used asparagus, leeks, snap peas, and broccoli in about equal amounts.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups stone ground organic cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon honey
2 cups cottage cheese (I used 2%)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (you can substitute olive oil if you prefer)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Cut fresh vegetables into bite size pieces and steam until just tender. Frozen vegetables can simply be defrosted. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and set aside.

In a 9-by-13 inch baking dish, place the 6 Tablespoons butter and place in the oven to melt.

In a mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

To the cornmeal mixture whisk in four eggs, cottage cheese, and 1 tablespoon honey. Fold in the steamed vegetables.

Remove the baking dish of melted butter from the oven. Pour about ½ of the butter into the cornbread batter and whisk to combine. Then pour the batter into the baking dish with the rest of the melted butter and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.

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