Vegan Cornbread Stuffing
by Meghan Rodgers
November 25, 2020
With Thanksgiving just a day away, my prep work is just about finished. This year, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, we will be celebrating with just a few close family members. The situation this year is unfortunate, to say the least, but I’m just happy everyone in my friend and family circle is listening! Sure, we miss a holiday together, but we’ll all be around next year together — and that, I’ll be most thankful for.
But for this year, I was asked to bring stuffing. No one at our gathering is vegan, but I love taking the opportunity to introduce delicious plant-based foods to people who don’t often eat them. Their delight and surprise give me hope that they’ll think twice next time they have a veg choice. Shocking as it is to a lot of plant-based eaters, there are still plenty of people who think vegan food has to taste bad. Which is why I love serving insanely delicious recipes like this Vegan Cornbread Stuffing to vegans and non-vegans alike. (I’m not fully vegan, but I’m pro-plant as much as possible and usually always when I have the option.)
As the name suggests, there is no butter or animal lard involved in making the cornbread, but it still packs plenty of flavor, along with a healthy serving of cranberries and walnuts. Plus, with all those delicious cranberries mixed in, you might opt to skip the sauce entirely — it’s a two-for-one recipe. Gotta love that! Non-vegans will be shocked at how tasty one of their favorite holiday recipes can be without the use of a single animal product. But no holiday miracle here — just one tasty recipe!
This recipe works best when the cornbread is stale. Fresh cornbread is one of the most heavenly foods out there, but for it to keep its texture and also soak up all those delicious flavors, dried is best, otherwise, it will just get mushy.
Prepare cornbread the day before. Instead of crumbling your cornbread, cut it into large, bite-sized cubes, and let sit out at room temperature overnight. It will have the perfect bite by morning.
For the cranberries, you could just toss them in with the cornbread and bake, but simmering them in sweet orange juice and sweet maple syrup adds tons of flavor to the tart little fruits. It’s well worth the extra step.
And don’t skip the onions! Onions give the whole dish that delicious, savory, crave-able flavor. If you’re a fan of onion, feel free to chop up a few leeks and simmer them as well. They’ll add some festive color to your cornbread.
Leftovers store well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Vegan Cornbread Stuffing
3 cups cornmeal
3 cups all-purpose (or gluten-free) flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp vegan sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups almond milk (or plant-based milk of your choice)
2 1/2 cup water
2/3 cup light olive oil + a bit more for greasing the skillet or pan (or line with parchment paper)
12 ounce fresh cranberries (if using frozen, omit 1 tbsp orange juice/water)
3 tbsp orange juice (or water)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 recipe vegan cornbread (cubed and dried overnight at room temperature)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2/3 cups chopped raw walnuts
2 cups vegetable broth
To make the cornbread
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Grease or parchment-line a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Add the almond milk, water, and olive oil to the mixing bowl, and whisk until just combined. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to casserole dish or skillet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.
To make cranberries
- In a large skillet, add cranberries, orange juice and maple syrup. Sauté over medium heat until warm and bubbly, and until most of the liquid has boiled down.
To make stuffing
- In a separate skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and fragrant.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cornbread, thyme, walnuts, and 1 cup vegetable broth. Stir until well-incorporated, adding more broth as needed, as you go. Cornbread should be moist but not soggy.
- Add cranberries to mixing bowl and gently stir.
- Transfer mixture to a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Use a spoon or spatula to spread mixture out evenly.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 30-40 minutes. Vegan Cornbread Stuffing is finished when top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving hot with your Thanksgiving feast!