Quinoa Cornbread Muffins with Black Beans, Arugula and Parmesan (Gluten Free)

I love a good cornbread straight from the oven with generous chunks of spicy jalapeno and a warm pat of melting butter (I mean, who doesn’t right?) but lately I’ve had visions of plump, juicy black beans tossed into the mix.

I’ve been imagining these perky fibre-rich fellows dotting the muffin tops for months now – some dipping below the surface some dancing on top – and finally had an opportunity to act out my fantasy ;0).

And since I was busy transforming, I decided to amp things up further by pairing the lovely coarse texture of cornmeal with another full-bodied big boy in the form of the nutty quinoa seed.

I tell you it was like discovering a couple of long lost family members.

Where have you been all my life?

So happy with the result. These muffins not only taste delish they are also packed full of nutrients to the point of being a mini-meal.  Perfect on their own as a hearty snack (great grab-n-go) or for dunking in soups, stews and chilis.

Unlike many other bready things that will send insulin levels surging, enhance sugar cravings and efficiently store body fat (three for the price of one!), these little puppies pack over 10 grams of protein and 4.9 grams of fibre in every serving keeping them low on the glycemic index, which in turn helps keep our blood sugar levels stable, our tummies satisfied and our moods humming along happily.

A beautiful thing!

Quinoa Cornbread with Black Beans, Arugula and Parmesan (Gluten Free)

  • 1 + 1/2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 + 1/4 cups whole grain cornmeal (I used medium grind)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 1.5 ounces (40 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or sugar of choice
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced fresh arugula + more for topping
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup milk or milk beverage substitute of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (or to taste) 
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil

Serving: Makes 12 regular sized muffins


Quinoa increases about 4 times in volume when cooked. A 1/2 cup of dry quinoa should generate about 2 cups of cooked quinoa. I used 1 cup of dry when preparing this recipe to create leftovers for quinoa salad.  Simply pop leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

If heat is not your thing, simply skip the jalapeno pepper and add another tablespoon of minced arugula if you wish.  I like using fresh jalapeno peppers but you could equally use bottled and sliced jalapeno peppers here.


Heat oven to 375 F

Cook quinoa according to package directions (generally 1:2 ratio quinoa to water) and allow the cooked quinoa to cool.

In a large bowl combine cooked and cooled quinoa, cornmeal, Parmesan cheese, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and arugula stirring to combine.  Add 3/4 cup black beans (reserving the other 1/4 cup for topping) and stir gently to combine taking care not to mash the beans.

In a separate bowl lightly beat eggs and whisk in milk, jalapeno peppers and olive oil.

Add wet ingredients to dry mixing only until combined.

Divide batter among 12 gently oiled muffin cups (I like to use silicone liners).  Top each muffin with a few more black beans and some additional pieces of torn arugula.

Place quinoa cornmeal muffins in oven and bake for 18-20 or until firm to the touch and golden brown. 
Allow muffins to cool (slightly ;o) before unmoulding – enjoy!

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  1. Eva Taylor says

    Perfect timing as usual, Kelly! I’m heading over to my brother’s place on Saturday to drop off a birthday present to my nephew (donkey ear cookies) and I’m going to make these muffins for my brother who has eliminated white flour from his diet (to manage an illness). He loves corn muffins so I’m sure he will love these! I’m not sure about the beans though, do you think it would work if I omitted them? or puréed them into the mix?

    We made the Kraft PB cookies (the recipe on the container) with my niece and my brother was all over them (post to come) because they have no flour what so ever in them. I usually don’t buy Kraft but I wanted to stick to the recipe so it didn’t fail with my niece there, but next time I’ll try it with natural PB.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

  2. Judy Purcell says

    Hmm, you have my attention here! Quinoa in my cornbread … what a wonderful idea, they look so tasty. :)

  3. SallyBR says

    What an interesting recipe! Never thought of adding quinoa and black beans, I bet it tastes really wonderful, and it has a moist texture too… Loved the nutritional info design… very professional!

  4. inspirededibles says

    Thanks Sally! I will have a printable recipe box (with nutrition facts panel) available shortly – it has been a while in coming but I’m getting there!

  5. inspirededibles says

    Thanks so much for dropping in Judy – I always appreciate your visits. Have a great day ;o)

  6. inspirededibles says

    What d’ya mean you don’t know about the black beans? It’s all about the black beans! – LOL.

    Just playing around – yes, you can certainly omit them – you might want to add a bit more cornmeal and/or quinoa and maybe some additional parm to even out the balance of dry/wet ingredients. I sure hope your brother likes them Eva! ;O) – looking forward to your PB post!!

  7. Koko says

    These look SO yummy! I love your description Kelly…it’s perfect- I don’t even need to see a picture to imagine how good these are, just from your beautiful writing. But….then again, that picture has me drooling, too! I think that the quinoa/cornmeal combo would be so ideal! I would love to make these, maybe even tonight!

  8. Sandra @ Kitchen Apparel says

    Wow quinoa and cornmeal sound perfect and I love the addition of the beans! I love the idea of a savory muffin…these would be great alongside a soup or stew for dinner. They look so moist and delicious. So glad you decided to take a chance and try it out :)

  9. Sonia! The Healthy Foodie says

    Haha! I see you got the Nutrition Facts in! Beautiful! And those muffins, whoa! I would’ve totally made them if I hadn’t decided to go paleo! I can almost taste them… they look really super yum, Kelly. And so pretty, too!

  10. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot says

    I love this. I never would’ve thought to combine cornmeal (which I love) with quinoa. I bet the texture was fantastic! And anything with parmesan cheese is good in my book ;)

  11. mjskit @mjskitchen.com says

    Oh you are talking to a cornbread lover here. I am somewhat of a purist with my cornbread which is strange, since I am adventurous with other traditional dishes. However, I can always be inspired to try something new and I think you have just provided the inspiration. Each of these little muffins is a meal. I wouldn’t need anything else except a little butter which I know I shouldn’t add, but….:) A very creative and delicious looking cornbread my dear.

  12. Sissi_Withaglass.com says

    One more batch of healthy, nutritious original beauties! I have enjoyed so much reading about the creative process. I have always been in awe of your imagination.
    I have never had cornbread, but I have read about it quite often on North American blogs. Of course I have never seen such an imaginative one! The black beans look like black olives here! Actually your muffins remind me a bit of my savoury French cakes where I often put olives… I’m hungry now! (And I have just had my lunch…)

  13. SpicieFoodie says

    Hi Kelly! What a great recipe and changes you made to the traditionally cornbread muffin. Sounds and looks scrumptious!

  14. says

    Beautiful pics! I never think to make savory corn muffins…i always add sugar and extra kernels. But this recipe sounds like it would be so good with a bowl of chili. Such a good idea to add black beans and quinoa, Kelly!

  15. says

    What delightful little muffins! Cornbread isn’t common in Europe really. My wife made it once and I was bowled over – that stuff rocks! Great idea to add the quinoa and black beans. I’m curious about the arugula – is it apparently in flavour once they’re baked, or is it more for “prettiness” value?

  16. Debra Eliot says

    I haven’t seen yellow quinoa yet. Will have to search it out. These would be great with a SW tomato soup. These look delicious. (I am thinking one would be perfect by itself for my lunch!)

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