Polenta muffins recipe

20 April 2017 by
First published: 21 August 2016

This polenta muffins recipe makes a perfect teatime treat or alternative to bread.

Serve them warm from the oven with a salad for a light al fresco lunch or picnic. With the polenta (cornmeal) and pine nuts they are deliciously crumbly and crunchy at the same time, and are packed with flavour from the rich tomatoes, salty olives and basil, with a chilli kick at the end.

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

30ml apple cider vinegar

150ml almond milk

180g quickcook polenta (cornmeal)

120g brown rice flour

30g arrowroot

1tsp coarse sea salt, finely ground

1½tsp baking powder

1½tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

¼ tsp dried chilli flakes, optional

60g gram flour

60ml filtered water

36 large basil leaves, finely chopped

1½ garlic cloves, finely chopped

75g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into pea-size pieces, plus 30 g

For the topping:

75g black olives, quartered

60g pine nuts

120ml EVCP rapeseed oil

60g baby-leaf spinach leaves, roughly shredded into quarters


Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a muffin tin with 12 pieces of baking parchment, each about 15 cm (6 inch) square, which make attractive cases, or 12 standard muffin cases.

In a measuring jug, mix the vinegar with the almond milk and set aside (after a few minutes it will resemble thin buttermilk). In a large bowl, combine the polenta (cornmeal), rice flour, arrowroot, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and chilli flakes, if using, and make a well in the centre. In another bowl, mix the gram flour with the water to make a paste.

Mix the basil, garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives and half the pine nuts with the rapeseed oil. Pour the oil mix, milk and vinegar mix and the gram paste into the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the spinach over the top and then stir everything lightly together to combine. The mix will be quite wet and should stick together well.

Spoon the mix into the muffin cases, dividing it between the 12 cases. Top each muffin with a whole piece of sun-dried tomato, pressing it down slightly into the muffin mix otherwise it will burn. Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts over the muffins, pushing them in slightly, too.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the tray and cook for a further five minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. The tops should be golden; the nuts lightly toasted.

Cool for five minutes in the tin. Serve immediately when still warm or remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. These are best eaten fresh, but will keep in an airtight container for at least three days. They are also good warmed in the oven for about five minutes at a low temperature.


This recipe is taken from Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman (published by Jacqui Small).


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