October 04, 2011

Thanksgiving Week - Day 3: Rosemary Sweet Potato Cornbread

For Day 3 of Thanksgiving Week, I wanted to include a recipe for a bread to serve with the meal. One of my favourite parts of our Thanksgiving dinner is always the basket of fresh bread on the table. In our family, we usually serve fluffy white dinner rolls and slices of artisan loaf, but I know that in other families, hearty biscuits and cornbread are a traditional part of the Thanksgiving spread.

With this in mind, and inspired by an amazing sweet potato cornbread that I recently tried at a restaurant, I set out to find a recipe for a vegan sweet potato cornbread that I could add to my Thanksgiving Week menu. Unfortunately, I didn't have much success in my search so I had to come up with my own version instead. I ended up using a recipe for rosemary sweet potato loaf that I saw on The Baking Duet and adapting it by leaving out the nuts and adding cornmeal.

The result was not quite the same as the restaurant version that I tried, but it still turned out great! This is a nice hearty loaf and is very dense. It has a slightly sweet taste and a nice crunchy crust from the cornmeal.

This is also a very healthy bread, since its made with whole wheat flour and its full of fruits and veggies - bananas, applesauce, sweet potato, and even carrots! (But don't worry, this doesn't taste like banana bread, the banana is just there for texture and moisture).

So if you're looking for a traditional dinner roll or biscuit recipe to serve with your Thanksgiving meal this year, this probably isn't the recipe for you....but if you're willing to try something new and interesting, I would recommend this sweet potato loaf! And don't leave out the branch of fresh rosemary on top of the loaf - it makes for a great presentation!

Rosemary Sweet Potato Cornbread
Adapted from The Baking Duet

1 lb of peeled and diced sweet potato
1/2 ounce fresh rosemary (about 1/2 of a bundle)
2/3 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 tsp baking soda, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup medium grind cornmeal
1/4 cup grated carrots

Set aside a large sprig of rosemary and remove the leaves from the remaining sprigs.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and add in the rosemary leaves. Let the leaves steep in the water for about 5 minutes.

Add the diced sweet potato to the pot, cover, and steam until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, mash the bananas with 1/4 tsp of the baking soda in a large bowl. Mix in the applesauce, salt, and remaining 1/2 tsp baking soda.

When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, drain and rinse off the rosemary, then mash the potatoes until they are creamy.

Add the mashed potatoes to the banana mixture. Stir in the flour and cornmeal, then fold in the grated carrots.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan (I used an 8x4 inch pan) and lay the reserved sprig of rosemary on top of the loaf.

Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is crisp and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

Don't Miss:
Thanksgiving Week - Day 3 recipe on Once Upon a Cutting Board: Hearty Sweet Potato Braid - this is another option for your Thanksgiving bread that also uses sweet potato! 

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