Virginia Willis Vegetable Cornbread
Photo by Virginia Willis

“Here, I’ve gently tweaked the classic by adding a bounty of fresh vegetables to a wholesome foundation of nutty whole-grain cornmeal and creamy low-fat buttermilk.”

—Virginia Willis

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6-8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups yellow whole-grain cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 fresh okra pods, stem ends trimmed, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red onion, chopped,Cut and scraped kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
  • 1 banana pepper, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 small red bird’s eye or Thai pepper, thinly sliced into rings
  • ½ poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place oil in a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish and heat in oven until oil is piping hot, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Add okra, onion, corn, and all peppers and toss to coat. Set aside.
  4. In large measuring cup, combine buttermilk and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir to combine.
  5. Remove heated skillet from oven and pour hot oil into batter. Stir to combine, then pour batter back into hot skillet. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Using a serrated knife, slice and serve warm.
  • from Chef and Author Virginia Willis of Atlanta, GA

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