Stuffed Cornbread with Kale, Artichoke Hearts, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Stuffed Cornbread with Kale, Artichoke Hearts, and Sun Dried Tomatoes, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I love cornbread – not the sweet stuff from the southern states of US of A, but the rustic savory kind of the Southern Europe. And I think you will love it too!

I recently shared a recipe for basic gluten-free cornbread, which I hope you tried, especially as a side for a nice pot of bean chili. This, on the other hand, is not your basic cornbread and it’s not gluten free, so make a note of that if you need to (I offer advice on how to make it gluten-free if you need to below).

This cornbread is a bit inspired by lasagna, and a bit inspired by lovely summer produce and flavors. With a bit of freshly grated vegan Parmesan or a dollop of vegan sour cream, and a side salad this can be your lunch or a light dinner! Or: you can serve this as appetizer bites at your next party when freshly baked and warm!!!

The key to this recipe are three layers that make the stuffing: sautéd kale layer, topped with sliced artichoke hearts layer, topped with sun dried tomatoes layer! Doesn’t this just make your mouth water?

The cornbread better is a mix of three flours: semolina (wheat flour; you can use all purpose white flour or all purpose gluten-free flour as well), fine corn meal and chickpea flour (or other bean-based flour like mung bean flour, or soy bean flour, for extra protein). What helps the bread rise is a mix of baking powder, baking soda and lemon juice, with added acidity giving an extra leavening boost.

The recipe is a bit labor intensive as I don’t recommend using raw kale, and advise getting your kale cooked all the way beforehand. Depending on how “mature” your kale is, this could take anywhere between 10 minutes if working with baby kale to 20 minutes if working with really old kale.

Additionally, I recommend that you soak the sun dried tomatoes in some hot water, to spruce them up a bit. If you are using sun dried tomatoes stored in olive oil, please skip this step and make sure the tomatoes have been well drained to remove excess oil. Better still, use the excess oil to sauté the kale and infuse it with more of that great tomato flavor!


Stuffed Cornbread with Kale, Artichoke Hearts and Sun Dried Tomatoes

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch kale (about 1 lbs or 450g), de-stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup fine corn meal
  • 1 cup semolina flour (or all purpose flour, or all purpose gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (or other bean flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for greasing the baking dish
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. If using sun dried tomatoes that are dry, I recommend that you reconstitute them by soaking them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. If you are using sub dried tomatoes in olive oil, please skip this step.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a very large frying pan, or a wok. This will take 30 seconds or so. Add diced onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  4. When garlic begins to bloom and develop the aroma, add chopped kale. The volume of a bunch of kale may seem like a lot, but it will cook down. If you are having difficulty fitting all the kale in at once, add in batches. Sauté kale until fully cooked, which will take about 10-15 minutes. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to keep kale from sticking to the pan, so stir frequently and keep an eye to prevent burning.
  5. While the kale is cooking, drain and rinse the artichoke hearts. Shake off the excess water, and slice thinly. Set aside.
  6. Drain the sun dried tomatoes either from the water they were soaking in or from the oil they are stored under. Slice them thinly and set aside.
  7. In a large mixing bowl combine cornmeal, the flours, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate container mix two cups of water with lemon juice then pour into the flour mix. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to mix well. Add more water if needed. Depending on how fine your corn meal is (there is some variability between brands) you may need more than 2 cups of water to make a smooth, yet thick batter. Your batter should be pourable but not runny. If you run a spoon through it, it should come apart with ease.
  8. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) baking dish with some oil. Pour in half of your batter and spread evenly. Top with sautéd kale that you drained from access liquid, then top with sliced artichoke hearts, then with sliced sun dried tomatoes. Finally, pour over the rest of the batter, smooth the top and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Increase the temperature to 425 F (220 C), and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. Take the stuffed corn bread out and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve as an appetizer or as a really wonderful side dish with your main course. I also enjoy it for breakfast, with some grated cheese, or as lunch with a side salad and some yogurt. Yummy!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Fish-like Cakes with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts

Fish-like Cakes with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts
Fish-like Cakes with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I was debating whether I should call these crab cakes or fish cakes – I suppose at the end of the day the name does not matter as much as the flavor. And the flavor here is fresh, citrusy, and the texture is flaky. So, to me these are more like fish cakes than crab cakes, but not matter what you decide to call them these will be your new favorites.

These are fantastic appetizer bites, suitable for any party, and they come together in no time at all. All you need is two cans of artichoke hearts and a can of chickpeas, plus a bit of seasoning and filler stuff (like breadcrumbs and/or corn meal), and a healthy amount of lemon – and you will be cruising.

The recipe is also flexible – if you don’t like corn meal you can just double the panko (but I do suggest you give corn meal a try because the flavors are just a bit different and more nutty, and the surface gets a bit crustier). And if you need to keep things gluten-free, go with gluten-free panko that now seems to be widely available in grocery stores.

I used Old Bay Seasoning as the main flavoring ingredient because I associate it with seafood and fish – but you can use other spices, like dill (fresh or dried), celery seed powder (or celery salt), and customize according to your preferences. I also added a bit of mild heat by using a small can of fire roasted green chili peppers. Here, you also have an option to replace with jalapeños, for more heat, or skip heat altogether and add a bit of sweet roasted red peppers. What ever you decide to do, you only need a small amount of it – you are going for just a bit of a surprise here; otherwise flavors can get overwhelming quickly.

If you are counting calories and fat, you can also skip the mayo. I use it as a binder, but a spoonful of mustard or a spoonful of unsweetened plain nut milk or yogurt, or even water will do the trick as well.

So, by now you are thinking that you can probably replace absolutely everything and still be OK. Well, you should not, and I repeat not, compromise on lemon. Lemon juice and especially the lemon zest will add so much to these cakes that you must include them.

Another two things that you must do is mash the chickpeas with your hands or the potato masher (but do leave some whole), and then, when all the ingredients are in, let the mix rest for a while. This will help all the flavors come together, as well as the mix bind, so you will be able to make the cakes more easily.

Why use sliced artichoke hearts? That gives the whole thing the flaky texture (you can use jackfruit here, as well as banana blossom – but I bet that for most of you artichoke hearts are much easier to find!). Why use chickpeas? To add structure and protein, so if you don’t like chickpeas you could use white beans. In that case you probably will not need to add extra mayo as suggested in the recipe, since beans tend to add more moisture.

With all these options, and dos and don’ts, hopefully the last part will be easy. The rest is easy – make the cakes by using about a quarter of a cup at a time, and brown nicely in some oil or cooking spray. If you have an exceptionally good non-stick pan, you may get away without using any oil, but these are still delicate fish cakes, so they need to be handled with care.

The best way to enjoy them is with a spoonful of tartar sauce, or just pickle relish, or chopped fresh parsley.



Fish-like Cakes with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts

What you’ll need:

  • 2 14.1 oz (400 g) cans of artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 1 15.5 oz (440 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 scallions, white and green sections, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon celery powder
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup panko Japanese-style bread crumbs (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 4 oz (113 g) can fire roasted green chiles, completely drained
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, squeeze the excess liquid out of them, then slice thinly.
  2. Place chickpeas into a large mixing bowl and mash until most of the chickpeas are fully smashed.
  3. Add sliced artichoke hearts, sliced scallions, and the rest of the ingredients and mix well until everything is well combined. Leave the mixture to soak for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Using your hands, scoop about 1/3 cup of the mixture and make it into a patty, about 1/2 in (1 cm) thick. Place the patties on a plate – this mixture makes about 10-12 patties.
  5. Place a large pan over high heat, spray with cooking spray and add 4-5 patties at a time. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  6. Serve with some lemon juice, vegan tartar sauce, and/or fresh parsley!

Version note: this post has been updated to correct some spelling/writing errors. One of the readers noted that in several instances word “panko” was autocorrected into the word “panic”. And although some panic while cooking is unavoidable, I have now corrected this mistake. Cheers!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019