I got the idea for this recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins with Kale from Martha Stewart Living Magazine. The September 2016 issue actually featured a number of super creative muffin recipes ranging from sweet to savory, but I decided to go the savory route with the cornbread muffins because I could serve them with fruit as an easy make-ahead breakfast or as a whole grain side dish with dinner. And oh boy! Martha did not disappoint.
I know conventional muffins typically get a bad rap with the clean eating crowd, but you can definitely bake better-for-you muffins simply by making a few key ingredient swaps. And if you are baking savory muffins then you are already heading down a healthier path since savory foods typically have very little sugar.
Here is what I did to clean up Martha’s original recipe:
- I swapped superfood organic, unrefined red palm oil for the one stick of butter. I also reduced the amount of red palm oil to 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, which was more than enough to keep the Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins moist. If you are questioning the use of this oil as a health food, be sure to read about the health benefits of red palm oil.
- I used 100% whole grain flour instead of the refined “unbleached all purpose flour” called for in the original recipe. I tested the cornbread muffin recipe twice and used sprouted spelt flour (I like One Degree Organics brand) the first time and biodynamic whole wheat flour (despite the name, I like Isis Biodynamic Whole Wheat Flour brand) the second time. Both times the muffins turned out delicious, so either flour will work just fine.
- We do not think dairy is a health food, so I swapped unsweetened almond milk for the cow’s milk. But you could also use unsweetened hemp milk.
- I used organic Non-GMO Project Verified corn and cornmeal (cornmeal is 100% whole grain, by the way) instead of conventional corn and cornmeal because corn is one of the foods at highest risk of being genetically modified. If you are looking for an organic cornmeal that is Non-GMO Project Verified, Arrowhead Mills is a great brand.
And finally, we get to the very last ingredient….the jalapenos.
Martha’s original recipe called for a fresh jalapeno but I didn’t want to use a blazing hot jalapeno because I knew my son would never eat the muffins. Luckily, I was able to track down a “tamer” jalapeno and do away with the heat while keeping the flavor!
I used Jeff’s Naturals Tamed Jalapeno Peppers as they are much less spicy than conventional jalapenos. Jeff’s tamed jalapenos have the Non GMO Project Verified Stamp of Approval and were grown by horticulturists at Texas A&M University by combining traditional jalapeño peppers with bell peppers to create a proprietary “harmless” jalapeño. You get the delicious jalapeno pepper flavor with much less fiery heat.
If you would rather have the fiery heat of a conventional jalapeno, I recommend these jarred Organic Jalapeño Nacho Slices (Hot). If you like hot, you’ll be very happy with this brand.
- 1 large handful kale, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1 cup sprouted spelt flour (such as One Degree Organic brand) OR biodynamic whole wheat flour (such as Isis Biodynamic brand)
- 1 cup 100% whole grain organic cornmeal (such as Arrowhead Mills brand)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or hemp milk)
- 2 organic, pasture-raised eggs (such as Vital Farms brand)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic, unrefined red palm oilOR organic extra virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 cup organic frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup jarred regular OR “tamed” jalapeno peppers, drained, patted dry and chopped (see notes in blog post above)
- In a steamer set in a pot of boiling water, cook kale until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely, then coarsely chop. Measure out 1 cup; reserve remainder for another use (such as a Green Smoothie recipe).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups OR lightly oil the bottom and sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a blender, add the almond milk, eggs, oil, and honey. Stir wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Fold in kale, corn and jalapenos.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until golden and tops spring back when lightly touched, about 22 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
Looking to Learn More About Clean Eating?
Be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine Book, which outlines an 8-week plan for adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. The book also includes 100 new recipes that are not featured on the blog!