Vegan cornbread dressing with celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, sage and savory cornbread... in our house, it's not Thanksgiving without this veganized classic! This easy recipe includes both gluten-free and oil-free options.
Hands down, cornbread dressing has always been my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. There's just something SO wonderful about herbs, broth, celery, and cornbread all mingled together.
If you'd rather call it vegan stuffing, be my guest! I was born and raised in the South where it's always been "dressing." And of course, we're not stuffing this inside an animal, so I'll stick with dressing.
This recipe is based on my mom's healthier version of cornbread dressing that she always made for our holiday gatherings. Of course, none of us were vegan back then, so Mom's version contained buttermilk, eggs, and chicken broth.
After going vegan in 2011, this was one of our first family dishes I had to make vegan! And it tastes exactly like the original. I hope you love it, too.
- Cornbread - I've made this recipe with my Southern-Style Savory Vegan Cornbread (made with vegan butter) AND my Oil-Free Cornbread. Both work perfectly in this dish.
- Bread - you'll need 4 or 5 slices of a sturdy, whole-grain sandwich bread or your favorite gluten-free bread.
- Mushrooms - these are optional and weren't part of Mom's cornbread dressing, but if you're a mushroom fan you'll love this addition. Otherwise, omit.
- Onion - any variety is fine.
- Broth - I often use Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Base mixed with water because it adds extra savory flavor. But this product isn't oil- or gluten-free. Any salty vegetable broth is fine, too.
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
One thing I love about cornbread dressing is how easy it is to prepare. It may not be quick, but it is simple! The basic process looks like this:
- Make cornbread the day before, and leave it out overnight to dry. (See Tips below for a quick-dry option.)
- When you're ready to make cornbread dressing, preheat the oven and a sauté pan. Sauté the veggies and herbs, which takes about 15 minutes.
- Crumble about half of the cornbread into a casserole dish. Cube a few slices of your favorite whole-grain or gluten-free bread, and add that to the dish.
- Add the sautéed veggies, and stir to distribute.
- Add 3 to 4 cups of salty vegetable broth, just enough to soak everything but not so much that it's soupy (see photo below).
- Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 30 minutes or until the center is hot.
Whether you use this buttery Southern-Style Cornbread or this Oil-Free Cornbread, use a gluten-free 1:1 baking blend for the flour called for in each recipe. You'll also want to make sure to use a gluten-free broth.
With so much flavor from the veggies, herbs, broth, and cornbread, no one will even miss the fat if you decide to make an oil-free version of this cornbread dressing!
Simply omit the oil used to sauté the veggies, and use a bit of broth or water as needed for sticking. If using store-bought broth, check labels for oil. And use my favorite Oil-Free Vegan Cornbread.
I really love the flavor of Better Than Bouillon's No-Chicken variety in this particular recipe, but any salty broth will do. Add a bit of tamari or sea salt to standard broth if you don't think it's salty enough.
You'll need a large saute pan and baking dish for this recipe.
I bought this white Staub gratin dish specifically for Thanksgiving this year and am so glad I did! I love its smaller footprint (10.5 x 7.5 inches) and that it's deeper than a standard casserole dish. You can also bake this dressing in a standard 13 x 9 casserole dish.
If you're baking cornbread the same day you plan to make the dressing, then obviously you don't have time for the cornbread to dry naturally. But a quick toasting in the oven can help!
To quick-dry the cornbread, cut it into large cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until dry.
More Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes:
Vegan Turkey Roast
Easy Vegan Mushroom Gravy
Modern Cauliflower Gratin
Brussels Sprouts with Raisin-Balsamic Reduction
Vegan Bourbon Pecan Pie
Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie
The BEST Healthy Pumpkin Pie
Healthier Sweet Potato Pie
This Gluten-Free Vegan Cornbread Dressing is simple, irresistibly delicious, and so much healthier than traditional Thanksgiving dressing. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Vegan Cornbread Dressing (GF and Oil-Free Options)
- 1 batch Oil-Free Cornbread, left out overnight to dry (tap for recipe) or ¾ batch of our Southern-Style Vegan Cornbread (linked above) - Depending on the size of your casserole you may need slightly less or more.
- 4 to 5 slices sturdy whole-grain bread, crusts removed, cubed - Or your favorite gluten-free bread.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional - Omit for oil-free.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 to 6 ribs celery, chopped - Should equal about 1 ½ cups.
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped, optional
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- freshly cracked black pepper
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base dissolved in 4 cups warm water or 4 cups salty vegetable broth (oil-free option) - For strict gluten-free, Better Than Bouillon does not claim to be GF, so substitute suitable veg broth.
- The day before you plan to make dressing, cut the cornbread into squares and leave out overnight to dry. I like to place the cornbread in a large storage container and rest the lid askew, not closed tight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a 9 x 13 (3 Qt.) or 10 ½ x 7 ½ (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 translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the thyme, sage, black pepper and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Crumble about half of 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. Add just enough vegetable broth so that everything is well-soaked but not overly soupy, 3 to 4 cups.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on top and hot in the center. Cover again if the top begins to look too brown before the center is done.
- Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.