The year my mom made wild rice stuffing instead of her traditional stuffing (the recipe for which is written on torn pieces of paper and impossible to recreate) the family was up in arms. She agreed to never stray from her bacon-sausage-liver-butter classic again, but her jump outside the box made me realize that stuffing doesn’t have to be paired with turkey on Thanksgiving. Her wild rice stuffing was great – and, though not rich enough for our holiday standards, would be perfect stuffed into peppers, sweet potato or just as a side.
This gluten free cornbread stuffing is savory and satisfying; healthy enough for those days where you want some Thanksgiving flavor without such heaviness. Here, I used it to stuff acorn squash, but I’ve also baked it in a pie pan and served it as a side. The key to this stuffing is the cornbread; it needs to be dried out in the oven so that it doesn’t completely fall apart in the stuffing. I also wouldn’t recommend cornbread that is too sweet – slightly sweet is ok (to get the sweet-savory thing happening), but some recipes use too much sugar for a stuffing recipe.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// This gluten free cornbread stuffing is vegan and full of fiber. Portobello mushrooms are a good source of fiber and contain potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kale is extremely nutrient dense; it helps combat inflammation and contains vitamin K, which can help prevent against cancer. Pecans, aside from having a delicious buttery taste and texture, are rich in oleic acid and antioxidants such as ellagic acid and vitamin E (think good cholesterol levels, protection from free radicals and healthy skin). Pecans are also rich sources of B-complex groups of vitamins and many minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. //
Here are some good gluten free cornbread recipes:
- Vegan Gluten Free Cornbread, Our Four Forks
- Gluten Free Jalapeño Cornbread, Minimalist Baker
- Hearty Herb, Corn and Oat Bread, Dolly and Oatmeal
- Gluten Free Cornbread, Serious Eats
- 3 small acorn squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 cups gluten free cornbread, cubed and dried (see notes)
- ½ lb mushrooms (I used chopped portobellos)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 medium shallots, chopped
- 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- ¼ cup dry sherry (or white wine)
- 1 large egg or flax egg
- 1½ cups vegetable stock, divided
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped and lightly roasted
- ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roast the acorn flesh side down for 20 minutes and then flip, roasting flesh side up for another 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven and set aside. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook tossing occasionally until softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add celery and shallots, season with salt and pepper, stirring often until the shallots are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the kale, parsley, sage and rosemary and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with the mushrooms.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook sherry (or wine) in skillet scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Drizzle over mushroom/kale mixture.
- Add the cubed and dried cornbread to the kale/mushroom mixture and gently mix to combine.
- Whisk egg (or flax egg), 1 cup of stock and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and drizzle over cornbread mixture. Add roasted pecans and cranberries, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine until the bread is hydrated. Add a bit more stock if necessary.
- Scoop out a thin layer of the acorn squash flesh from each half to make a bigger bowl for the stuffing (save or eat on the side). Stuff the acorn squash with the cornbread stuffing and place on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out hot, about 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, uncover and bake until top is golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes.
Adapted from Bon Appétit.