Mesquite Cornbread Muffins

A cold and rainy trip to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle with the boyfriend plus a late breakfast equals one hungry lady. One thing led to the next and soon we were pulling into the parking lot of Ivar’s Restaurant at 4:00pm on a Saturday afternoon. Famished, we made our way inside and made a delightful happy hour discovery! Nabbing a table by the window, looking out onto the lake, we ordered a pint as we scanned the menu. A cup of smoked salmon chowder and complementary mesquite cornbread muffins were soon heading our way. The chowder was exactly what I needed to thaw my cold fingers and fill my belly, but the highlight of the meal was the muffins. I unfolded the cloth napkin in the bread basket and picked up a warm muffin. The slightly sweet and smoky scent of the mesquite flour filled all my senses as I took my first bite. Heaven. That’s the only word that can possibly describe that bite.

I didn’t waste a minute upon leaving the restaurant to search for a recipe. I had coincidentally recently discovered the joys of mesquite flour, which is a high-fiber gluten-free flour that comes from the pods of the algarrobo trees in northern Peru. It is often used in combination with other flours and even a small amount can impact the flavor in a great way. I highly recommend playing around with it! Although not a common flour, it can be found in many health food stores or food coops.

In an attempt to up the nutritional value of the muffins, I used whole-wheat pastry flour (higher fiber content, but still a fine texture) instead of all-purpose.



Recipe adapted from Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook

Makes one dozen muffins


  • 2  cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup mesquite flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon fine grind cornmeal, divided*
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together both flours, both sugars, 1/4 cup cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter and milk.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Divide the mixture among 12 lined or greased muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cornmeal over the top.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.

*You can use a coarser grind if you prefer

To make vegan, substitute:

  • 3/4 cup plain soy yogurt or 3 Tablespoons flax seeds plus 9 Tablespoons water for the eggs
  • 1 cup light flavored oil (ex: light olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, etc.) for the butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk or any milk alternative for the nonfat milk

To make gluten free, substitute:

  • 1 cup sweet potato flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, plus 1/2 cup tapioca flour for the whole-wheat pastry flour

Bon appetit!

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