I got some cornmeal this week to test a recipe for a vegan polenta, but it turns out I’m not a polenta fan! After a little brainstorming (with myself) I ended up making these sugar free & vegan orange cornmeal muffins with it instead and they’re much better. Better as in I refused to eat the polenta (Graham did, hah) but ate three of these muffins in a row. I used blood oranges but of course you can use normal oranges. They’re such a beautiful colour but not in season very long, so regular oranges are a great option.
The muffins are sweetened with just a few dates and orange. Muffins aren’t meant to be overly sweet – they’re not cake – and I found these sweet enough without being too much for a snack. These muffins are made with whole-grain spelt flour; I think they could probably be made gluten free but I haven’t tried it. If you try it and have good results, please let me know!
The texture is really nice with the cornmeal and I really recommend baking them with the little slice of orange on top to max out that citrus flavour. I also have a very old recipe for not-vegan zucchini cornbread if you’re looking for something to have with dinner instead. If you’re not a fan of cornmeal but want orange muffins, try this recipe with oranges instead of the blueberries and replace some of the milk with orange juice.
Corn is one of the most heavily sprayed crops out there so definitely choose organic if you can! I don’t eat a lot of corn products but cornmeal is one of my favourites, and it adds a little bit of sweetness along with the dates since the muffins are sugar free. A quick note about organic – I don’t necessarily choose organic food because I think it’s healthier, but more because of how it affects the people who are working directly with the pesticides.
For me, eating compassionately is also about how the people are treated who are working directly with the food I’m eating, and organic is the best option in that case. Women and children who work in the fields are particularly likely to become ill or die from directly related causes due to chemical spraying – there are laws in place that are meant to prevent this, but they’re rarely enforced. This is a great book on the topic if you’re interested in learning more. Unfortunately peer-reviewed articles are difficult to access but if you’re really curious I can point you to some good research that I used when I was in university.
Because I hated the polenta, I have another soup recipe coming tomorrow instead, so keep an eye out! And Friday I’ll be sharing a recipe from The Full Helping‘s new book, Power Plates. Still totally loving lightroom, by the way. I don’t know how I lived without it for so long.
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Orange Cornmeal Muffins
- 200 grams whole spelt flour
- 160 grams cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 80 grams packed soft dates packed soft dates
- 70 grams coconut oil
- 375 ml oat or almond milk
- Juice of 2 oranges ~1/4 cup
- Zest of 2 oranges
- Sliced orange for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease or line a standard muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.200 grams whole spelt flour, 160 grams cornmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Add the dates, coconut oil, milk, orange juice, and orange zest to a blender. Blend until smooth, then add to the flour mixture and stir just to combine.80 grams packed soft dates, 70 grams coconut oil, 375 ml oat or almond milk, Juice of 2 oranges, Zest of 2 oranges
- Place equal amounts of the batter to the prepared muffin tin and top each with a slice of orange. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden.Sliced orange
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing and cooling fully on a rack. Store in a sealed container for up to three days.