Vegan cornbread dressing with celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, sage, and savory cornbread. In our house, it's not Thanksgiving without this veganized classic!
Here it is, friends, the best part of any holiday meal. It's cornbread dressing, y'all!
Or stuffing, if you prefer. But since we're not stuffing this inside anyone, let's just roll with "dressing." 😉
This recipe is based on my mom's famous cornbread dressing (okay, maybe it was only famous to me and our family, but that definitely counts). As much as I love desserts, this was always the dish I looked forward to the most each holiday season.
Of course, none of us were vegan back then, so it contained buttermilk, eggs, and chicken broth. Also, she didn't add mushrooms to hers. But you know how we vegans are, always sneaking more veggies into recipes (especially umami-rich mushrooms). I figured they would only make the dressing better, and of course, they do! I made one batch without mushrooms and definitely prefer their presence, but if you're not a fan, simply leave them out. For the onion, I typically use one large yellow or red onion, but leeks would also be wonderful.
I want to give Mom credit for making vegan dressing for Mark and me in the past. I know she has, but I can't remember exactly how she made hers. I thought about asking her the last time we talked, but I decided to just get to work veganizing it myself (I had an old hand-written copy of the non-vegan version stashed in my recipe notebook).
Oh wait! A memory just came back to me. I recall standing at her kitchen island a few years ago talking about how apple cider vinegar added to soy milk could replace the buttermilk in her cornbread. So apparently I've helped veganize this recipe before.
Now, let's get to it! This Vegan and Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing is simple, irresistibly delicious, and so much healthier than traditional Thanksgiving dressing. I hope you love it as much as I do.
P.S. I bought this white Staub baking dish specifically for Thanksgiving this year and am so glad I did! I love its smaller footprint (10.5 x 7.5 inches). If you want one for yourself you can find them here. You can also bake this dressing in a standard 13 x 9 casserole dish.
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Vegan Cornbread Dressing
- 3/4 batch The Best Vegan Southern-Style Cornbread, left out overnight to dry (depending on the size of your casserole you may need slightly less or more)
- 5 slices sturdy whole-grain bread, such as Ezekiel 4:9, crusts removed, cubed (use your favorite gluten-free bread for GF option)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped (should equal about 1 1/2 cups)
- 10 ounces baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- freshly cracked pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base dissolved in 4 cups warm water or 4 cups salty veg broth (for strict gluten-free, Better Than Bouillon does not claim to be gluten-free, so substitute suitable veg broth)
- The day before you plan to make the dressing, cut the cornbread into squares and leave it out on the counter overnight to dry.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a 9 x 13 (3 Qt.) or 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 (2.5 Qt.) casserole dish. Also preheat a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the oil and onions to the sauté pan and cook until barely translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the thyme, sage, black pepper and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Crumble about half the cornbread into the prepared casserole dish (texture can vary from crumbs to some larger chunks). Add the bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, remaining cornbread, and pepper (if using) and carefully stir to combine. Pour just enough broth over the dish so that everything is well-soaked but not overly soupy. (Refer to photo above).
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned on top and hot in the center. Cover again if the top begins to to look too brown before the center is done.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.