What’s Cooking: Vegan Chili and Cornbread

What’s Cooking is ASN’s series dedicated to what we and our fellow adventurers love to eat. Get recipes, camp food inspiration and health and wellness tips to incorporate into your daily life.

I love cornbread, and could eat it on just about any occasion. But there’s something about just-cooked, fluffy cornbread as a morning breakfast treat, or around the campfire that always provides just the right comfort-food effect.

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of everything that goes into a traditional cornbread, and was actually shocked at how easy it is to substitute these ingredients for more health-friendly options. For example, instead of butter, try unsweetened apple sauce. My dad, who is a big fan of traditional recipes, actually liked my version of cornbread better than his own.

Also, I love sneaking in a super food wherever possible in my recipes. For this one, I add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is a great choice) to 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. This acts as a leavening agent to replace eggs. Try it!

When camping, cornbread needs a trusty companion, so we took a look at how to make a vegan chili recipe to accompany this delicious dairy-free cornbread.

Vegan Chili & Cornbread

A few notes on cornbread: Trader Joe’s has a solid cornbread mix (although on the sweet side). Bob’s Red Mill mix is my top pick.

You can also make a gluten-free version using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free mix.

If you want to cut unnecessary sugar, take it a step further by creating your own mix of cornmeal — again, Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal is great and has a cornbread recipe on the back. Combine cornmeal with flour, baking powder, olive oil, your leavening and butter substitutes – and add honey or maple syrup as a sweetener. It’s surprisingly easy!


-Cornbread mix OR DIY mix with ingredients from above

-3/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond milk

-1/2 Cup Unsweetened apple sauce

-1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

For Chili:

-Olive Oil

-1 Green Pepper

-1 Onion

-2 Cans of tomatoes

-1 can black beans

-1 can kidney beans

-2 Tbsp chile powder

-1 Tbsp garlic powder

-1 Tbsp red pepper flakes

-1 Tbsp turmeric (optional)

-1 avocado

-1 green ionion


Add olive oil to cast iron pan or dutch oven.

Pour cornbread mix into bowl.

Combine apple cider vinegar and almond milk in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes until it thickens.

Add almond mixture to your cornbread dry mix, along with applesauce, and stir until smooth. If working with DIY recipe, mix in your olive oil and sweetener substitute now.

Pour into hot cast iron and cover with tinfoil. Bake for about 20 minutes.

For Chili:

Dice 1 onion and 1/2 of a green pepper.

Add olive oil to warm dutch oven or cast iron skillet.

Add onion and green pepper and sauté until lightly browned.

Add tomatoes (and optional green chiles – The Trader Joe’s canned tomatoes we used had diced green chiles)

Add 1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans, drained

Add thin diced garbanzo beans (you can also pulse these in food processor ahead of time and store in ziplock bag).

Add 2 tbsp chile powder, dash of cumin, paprika, turmeric, and as much garlic as you want.

1 tsp salt and dash of black pepper

Dice up green onion or chives.

Cut open avocado and slice into sections

Garnish chili with toppings and the cornbread.

Drizzle honey on cornbread.

Eat up!

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