Quinoa Skillet Bread Recipe

A rustic, minimally structured, custard-topped, crusty-edged, herb-scented corn-quinoa skillet bread.

Quinoa Skillet Bread

The farmers' market up the street from my house just started again. It takes place one night a week, now through early fall. Last week a stroll through the twenty-some booths revealed a bounty of fava beans, strawberries, local micro-climate honeys, pea shoots, mandarins, king trumpet and lion's mane mushrooms, artichokes, and English peas. In the midst of all this, I stumbled on a farm I'm particularly excited about, Fifth Crow Farm - new to me. They were selling organic wheat berries, heirloom popcorn, farm fresh eggs and leeks. I picked up a couple bags heirloom Sonora whole wheat pastry flour (grown at neighboring Pie Ranch), and set them on my kitchen counter when I got home. I wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to use it at the time. This flour is a bit coarser than the pastry flour I typically use, flecked with tiny hints of brown and gold.

Quinoa Skillet Bread

If I leave something in my field of vision for long enough, ideas start to percolate. I had a the flour sitting on the counter top, and a good amount of leftover cooked quinoa in my refrigerator at the time. It occurred to me to attempt some sort of rustic quinoa skillet bread. A relatively simple idea that actually took a couple tries to get right. My first attempt was terrible, and by that I mean, not at all what I had in mind. It was flat, too dense, ugly, and on and on. But the second go-around more than made up for my original misstep.

Back at the drawing board (after my initial failure), I kept looking at the flecks of germ and bran in my new flour, which triggered thoughts of cornmeal. One of my favorite recipes in SNC is the quinoa and corn flour crepes. And one of my favorite cornmeal recipes of the past year is Marion Cunningham's Custard-Filled Cornbread. My neighbor brought it to a Halloween potluck (to much fanfare), and it occurred to me it was the same cornbread Molly writes about in A Homemade Life. Everyone in my family now loves this cornbread, and it has shown up at nearly every family gathering since its debut at Thanksgiving. It is one of those recipes, so spot-on, I thought I'd never change it, tweak it, or make it any other way. There was no need. Keep it simple, leave it alone.

But I thought, maybe, if I took the general approach for the Custard Cornbread and introduced a cast-iron skillet and a few of the other ingredients I had on had, it might make for something unique and special in it's own way. And wow, did it ever work out. I hope you'll agree, the results are impressive - a rustic, minimally structured, custard-topped, crusty-edged, herb-scented corn-quinoa skillet bread. Enough for a small crowd, each piece is dense and heavy, rich with ribbons of varying texture. Let me know if you try it out - it's perfect for picnics, potlucks, family meals and the like!

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Quinoa Skillet Bread

For this recipe I use Bob's Red Mill Coarse Grind Cornmeal. If you click on the image it will zoom in and you can see what it's like - look for something comparable. As I mentioned in the main post, I used a local whole wheat pastry flour here. But I suspect any whole wheat pastry flour will work, and spelt flour might be an interesting alternative as well. I used a dried Sardinian mixed herb blend, but I Herbes de Provence would be great too. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet you can use a 9x9 inch glass baking dish, or equivalent.

butter to grease pan, about 1 tablespoon
1 cup / 4 oz / 115g whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115 g yellow cornmeal (coarse)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g cooked quinoa, room temperature*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, barely melted and cooled a bit

3 tablespoons natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)

3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cups / 475 ml milk
1 1/2 tablespoons white or white wine vinegar
1 cup / 240 ml heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C degrees and place a rack in the top third. Butter a 10-inch oven-proof skillet (or equivalent baking dish). I used a cast-iron pan with 2-inch deep sides. Roughly ten minutes before you are ready to bake the skillet bread, while you are mixing the batter, place the skillet in the hot oven.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and dried herbs.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, quinoa, and melted butter until well-blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and stir again. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together. It will seem very thin, don't worry.

Pour the batter into the heated skillet. Pour the heavy cream into the center of the batter. Have faith, and do not stir. Carefully place in the oven and check after 45 minutes, the skillet bread is done when the top becomes lightly browned and the center just set. Somewhere between 45-60 minutes typically. I like to finish things up with a few seconds under the broiler to brown the top nicely. You can serve this I like this warm or at room temperature, sliced in a grid, sprinkled with a touch more salt (if needed).

Makes one 10 1/2 skillet.

*To cook a sizable pot of quinoa: Combine 2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g of
well-rinsed (dried) quinoa with 3 cups / 700 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon
fine grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover,
reduce heat and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes or until quinoa is tender
and you can see the little quinoa curliques. Fluff with a fork.

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Is there a way to modify this recipe for someone with gluten issues? She can have the quinoa and the cornmeal but not the whole wheat pastry flour. thanks.


I am dairy tolerant, what would you suggest to replace the heavy cream with?? This sounds amazing and I want to try it. Thanks, Nancy


I wish my farmer's market had whole wheat flour! Maybe it's worth a drive to SF. :)


I am completely intrigued by this!


Thanks Sherrie. I think the no dairy option stumped lots of people. I will try it with soy yogurt and report back.


I tried this recipe last night. Didn't have heavy cream in the house so I used homemade yogurt, which worked really well. Delicious with an excellent texture. Just posted a pic of my skillet bread on my website's blog: Sentences and Food.


Hi from a morning commuter train between Lincoln and Sheffield in the UK! I'm retiring soon and one of the things I'm most looking forward to is trying all your recipes. This bread will be high on my list....but I might even get it made tonight as it sounds too good to wait for!


This looks like a relative of the Tassajara Bread Book recipe for 3-Layer Corn Bread. Use coarse ground corn meal, whole wheat flour plus milk and eggs. It all gets mixed together and is very runny. Once baked the corn meal falls to the bottom, the wheat bran forms a thin top crust and a custard rests in between. Been making it for decades and it always amazes us! And also, corn meal with cooked millet makes a good spoon bread, or cooked rice, or, or . . .

Wendy Baschkopf

This sounds delicious. Heidi, what farmer's market are you talking about? I live right in your neighborhood and I often shop at the sunday market on Grove, but I'm not aware of an evening market. HS: Hi Rachel, it's a Wednesday evening market @ Noe & Market (in front of Cafe Flore), I think it runs from 4-8. The farms/vendors seem to revolve throughout the season. It's not too big, not too small - just right, if you know what I mean. Please say hello if you happen to see me there :).


Heidi, this is gorgeous. I'm so intrigued by the final product. Definitely will try this today!.


That sounds like an amazing farmer's market - I'm jealous. I will definitely have to try this recipe, I love so much of what you have to share. It always feels so wholesome and nourishing.


This looks absolutely amazing. I hope I can successfully adapt this to be gluten-free!


for Crystal and anyone else who doesn't care for quinoa: there is a bitter-tasting naturally occurring coating on quinoa called a saponin. Botanists tell us that it is effective in repelling birds so the grain will live on, to produce the next generation. Humans don't like the taste of the saponin either. So we rinse it off---plenty of water , swish it around, more water, do it a few more times. A couple minutes effort makes all the difference. Perhaps you already do that and do it well. But just in case.....and btw, I get a prewashed quinoa at Costco and it (to my taste) honestly doesn't require washing.

Diane C

This sounds amazing! My only question is that i am allergic to dairy and haven't found any good baking substitutes for heavy cream. Do you have any suggestions to making this recipe dairy free?


I had some cooked red quinoa in the freezer just waiting for the perfect recipe. This was it! The result was visually pleasing and tasted warmly comforting on this rainy day (yea!) in Florida.


When I clean out my pantry, I leave a few items sitting on the counter...it's a good reminder to use them and seeing them leads to brainstorming uses. This is a really interesting use of quinoa!

nithya at hungrydesi

On another topic: I noticed you have Nigel Slater's _Tender 1_ on vegetables on your reading list. I love this book! This is what I wrote in my Amazon review: I Love Nigel Slater! There, I've said it. He can do no wrong. I'm a vegetarian and he isn't but the way he writes about food is so solid, and his suggested "how-tos" are so charming I can't resist him. And I love this book best of all his books. Even if you don't like to cook you will be delighted reading about his garden and vegetables. If you do like to cook it will inspire you in the kitchen to help vegetables achieve transcendence! And if you have some arable land nearby you might want to try his gardening tips. I would! As I read Tender I - A Cook and His Vegetable Patch I found myself wishing I didn't live in an apartment.


I leave ingredients out so I don't forget about them or get inspired by them all the time. I just had fried chicken for lunch but I am making this corned bread to go with the leftovers for dinner.


This looks great, Heidi! I am DF/GF and often sub rice milk in the corn bread I make. The So Delicious coconut drink that's out now is pretty thick and doesn't leave a strong coconut flavor - could be a good replacement for the cream. Fine corn flour seems to work well instead of wheat flour if you add a tsp of xanthan gum to it. As far as a replacement for cornmeal, I wonder if Bob's Red Meal creamy brown rice farina cereal would work - it has a coarse grind to it. Sorry...I love cornbread, and this looks fantastic. Just thinking aloud on how to modify it given some of the other comments.


This looks incredible! For the "mixed herbs," what sorts of herbs are you thinking here? I'm thinking of this (perhaps incorrectly) as a slightly sweet thing... so not sure if the oregano and thyme I've got on hand will work.


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