When it comes to Southern cooking, cornbread is as classic as it gets. This lightly sweet plant-based version gets a boost of color and flavor from frozen corn and fresh red bell pepper. Serve a big slice as a side to a warm bowl of chili or enjoy on its own with a hearty slather of homemade corn butter.

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan or 2-quart square baking dish with parchment paper. In a bowl stir together the first five ingredients (through vinegar). Let stand 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl stir together the next five ingredients (through sea salt). Add milk mixture. Stir just until moistened. Stir in corn and bell pepper. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Comments (13)

(5 from 2 votes)

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As a lifelong Southern girl, I hate sweet cornbread. Can the sweeteners be omitted and still get a moist bread? What could I substitute?


Can this be made without the corn and red pepper, and would more of other ingredients have to be added?

Courtney Davison

Hi PNS, Yes, you can omit the frozen corn and red bell pepper from the recipe (as long as you still include the cornmeal). It will just yield a smaller volume of bread. If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes. Thank you, Courtney Davison Editor, Forks Over Knives


Could I use jarred roasted red peppers?

Courtney Davison

Hi there, Mary, You can use jarred peppers, if you drain them first. Thank you, Courtney, editor with Forks Over Knives


This sounds like it could be a very tasty meal.I am sure to make use of this quick and easy recipe.

Debra Donaldson

It’s delicious! As a Southern girl I have to have Cornbread to survive and this is just what I wanted .


Is there something else I can use again applesauce? My husband is allergic to apples.


Can this be used in a bread machine?


How do I make it gluten free?

Julia Hickman

Try subbing with Bob's Red Mill G/F all purpose baking flour

ian h.

I love the addition of red bell pepper in this recipe. It makes me wonder what else I could substitute in... maybe some kale or green onions!


Can another flour - oat flour, for example, or a nut flour like almond, work with the cornmeal? Thank you.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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