Adapted from Lighten Up, Y’All by Virginia Willis (2015). Willis says the vegetables listed are just a suggestion; use whatever is in season. Just make sure it adds up to 5 cups of chopped vegetables. If you use watery vegetables like squash or eggplant, cook them quickly first (microwaving will do) and drain off the liquid.
I was dubious about this recipe at first. The idea of vegetables was appealing but I wasn’t sure about messing up my cornbread with okra and the like. Surprisingly the corn bread was really good and even family members who are suspicious of veggies enjoyed it. So I’m endorsing it enthusiastically.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups yellow whole-grain cornmeal (sometimes called “nondegerminated”)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 fresh okra pods, stem ends trimmed, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 red onion, chopped
Cut and scraped kernels from about 2 ears of corn (about 1 cup)
1 banana pepper, thinly sliced into rings
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced into rings
1 small red chile, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 poblano chile, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Combine the cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Add the okra, onion, corn, banana pepper and chiles and toss to coat. Set aside. In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and egg and melted butter.
Put the other 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12″ cast iron skillet and put the skillet into the hot oven for 3-5 minutes, long enough to melt the butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
Remove the heated skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Using a serrated knife, slice into wedges and serve warm.
If you want it less spicy, remove the seeds from the chile pods before slicing.