Any excuse to eat cornbread is a good one in my book. This delicious and spicy cornbread-topped casserole is a complete meal with grains, beans and vegetables all in one dish, and can be found in Everyday Happy Herbivore.
Cajun Cornbread Casserole
• 15 ounces diced tomatoes (undrained)
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 celery stalks, minced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
• 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning (recipe follows)
• 15 ounces kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 1½ teaspoon baking powder
• pinch salt
• 1-2 tablespoon(s) raw sugar (optional)
• ¾ cup nondairy milk
• ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
Note: Any bell pepper will work here, but green bell peppers will provide the most authentic experience since they are a key part of the “holy trinity” in Cajun cuisine.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a square 8 or 9-inch baking pan or casserole dish.
Drain tomato juices into a skillet and chop tomatoes into smaller pieces, and set aside.
Add water as necessary until a thin layer of liquid covers the skillet.
Sauté onion, celery, garlic and bell peppers over high heat until onions are translucent, bell peppers are tender and all of the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Turn off heat and mix in 1-2 tablespoon(s) Cajun Seasoning, tomatoes and kidney beans, stirring to combine, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk cornmeal, baking powder, salt and additional Cajun Seasoning if desired (several dashes so the flour looks speckled when stirred). You can also add 1-2 tablespoon(s) of sugar for a sweet cornbread topping. Then stir in nondairy milk and applesauce. It should be thick, but spreadable like hummus and not dry.
Pour bean mixture into your baking dish and pat down firmly with a spatula. Spread cornbread mixture on top and bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cornbread is a deep golden, cracked and firm to the touch. Let sit out for about 15 minutes before serving (it continues to firm as it cools). Serve with hot sauce, such as Tabasco, on the table.
Makes ½ cup
• 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder (granulated not floury)
• 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano or majarom
• 1 tablespoon onion powder (granulated not floury)
• ½ tablespoon ground nutmeg or mace (optional)
Mix to combine and store in an air-tight container. Good commercial substitutes for the seasoning are McCormick’s Cajun Seasoning from their gourmet collection and Badia’s Louisiana Cajun seasoning.