Living Vegan In Charlotte, NC

Cornbread With Turnip Greens & Hot Peppers

This is an interesting variation on the Southern tradition of hot peppery cornbread eaten with greens … greens baked right into the cornbread!

This recipe is inspired by the inimitable Raghavan Iyer and his newest book, “Indian Cooking Unfolded.”  In it, he has a recipe for mustard greens stirred into cornbread batter and baked in the oven.  I couldn’t find frozen mustard greens at my local Harris Teeter and didn’t feel like putzing about with fresh, so I substituted frozen turnip greens.

The rest of the recipe is my standard Southern hot-pepper-cornbread recipe (because Raghavan’s cornbread recipe wasn’t vegan!)

Turnip Green Cornbread


  • 2 cups Self-Rising Cornmeal (my family has always preferred the yellow Tenda-Bake)
  • 1 Egg Replacer (I use 1 TBL of Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tablespoons Water.  Bob’s Red Mill also makes an excellent egg replacer.)
  • 2 Serrano Chili Peppers, diced.  See Notes for additional pepper choices.
  • 1 1/3 cups of your favorite unsweetened Faux Cooking Milk (I used WestSoy).
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil OR 1/3 cup Earth Balance, liquified in the microwave
  • 1 teaspoon Unrefined Sugar
  • 1 heaping cupful Frozen Turnip Greens, lightly defrosted in the microwave
  • Cooking Spray


  • Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine the self-rising cornmeal, diced peppers, and sugar in a large bowl.  Stir to distribute evenly.  Add the cooking “milk”, egg replacer, and oil or Earth Balance.  Stir well to blend.  If, by any chance, you are accustomed to making Indian cornbread on a griddle – Makki Di Roti – please be aware that this mixture is going to be considerably more “liquidy” and less “doughy” – more like cake batter.
  • Finally, stir in the greens.
  • Pour into pie pan and cook for approximately 25 – 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  The top should turn a light golden brown and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
  • Let cool slightly before serving to allow the cornbread to “solidify.”  Hot, it will be very moist and crumbly.  Once it cools you will be able to cut nice neat wedges.

Greens and cornbread 2


  • Raghavan recommends mustard greens, I was quite satisifed with turnip greens, and probably collard greens, dandelion greens, or kale would work just as well.  (Spinach might be too “delicate,” though.)  I’m sure fresh greens would be awesome but I really liked the convenience of frozen (no washing, no chopping!)
  • I’ve decided I like Serrano chili peppers in my cornbread – they have a consistent level of hotness, plus a bit of sweetness.  You could also use 1-2 jalapeno peppers, depending on how hot they are, or a couple of green Thai chili peppers (riskier for most Americans).  If going the canned route, depending on your hotness tolerance, you can either use a small, 4 oz. can of mild green chili peppers or diced jalapenos.
  • And do as I say, don’t do as I do.  And I say, “Do NOT rub your eyes after dicing the peppers.”  Oooo-weee, when will I learn?
  • Final tip, after dicing the peppers, wash your hands with dish washing liquid, not soap. The dish washing liquid has compounds that will break down the hot oils left on your hands from the peppers.

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Categorised in: Breads, Indian & Indian Fusion, Top 12, Vegan Recipes

4 Responses »

  1. I am not sure if my comment went through. So commenting again. Does this taste very corn “mealy”? Like you know how sometimes baking powder leaves a metallic after taste? Things I have tasted with corn meal always leave that after taste like it hasn’t been thoroughly cooked or something. Any tips to avoid that taste?

    • I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean but pure cornmeal does have a kind of rough, coarse texture that could maybe taste uncooked.

      I suppose cornmeal’s always going to be a little coarse, but the texture is much finer and more cake-like if you use a self-rising cornmeal flour (note– not a cornmeal mix, that usually has sugar and sometimes dairy!). The texture of this turned out just a little coarser than a dhokla, if that helps?

      If you make cornbread using regular corn meal, wheat flour, salt, and baking powder, you REALLY need to “sift” it with a flour sifter. I can remember my great aunt telling me that step was absolutely essential and I can also remember being lazy and not doing it and sure ’nuff she was right. HUGE difference. I don’t think many people do that anymore so maybe that’s why you’re getting a metallic baking powder after taste – because most cornbread recipes call for mixing corn meal, flour, baking soda, but don’t call for sifting – and it’s not well mixed?

      Maybe just try Tenda-Bake (another one is House of Autrey Self Rising Cornmeal, but that’s a little coarser) and see if you like it? If not, maybe you just don’t like cornmeal! 😉

  2. Do Serrano Peppers have seeds and are they included in the recipe ?

    • Hi, Virginia! Yes, serrano peppers have seeds and it’s a personal choice whether to include them. I always do. The texture of seeds won’t be noticeable in the cornbread. Seeds pack most of the heat, though, so if you like things a little less spicy you can scrape out the seeds.

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