Are y’all dressing folk or stuffing folk? Because of the lack of actually “stuffing” it anywhere (ours is made in a Pyrex and served on its own), I think we’re dressing people, but is that the only distinction? Get back with me on this.
At one point, I was really nervous about the holidays. I wasn’t really sure how to be a vegetarian during a month-long meat binge of Thanksmas. Turkey, ham, Lil’ Smokies, prime rib, smoked salmon, crab legs – this is definitely the time of year that indulgence wins out. Even if you avoid the obvious meat, you don’t know what’s creeping into your sides – bacon (or, more sneakily, bacon grease) and beef/chicken broth are the chief offenders.
To be honest, I really had to rethink this vegetarian thing when it came down to my mom’s dressing. My mom makes the best dressing in the world. She should win blue ribbons and tiaras for dressing. I realize I have a hellacious bias here, but I’m confident it’s probably better than your mama’s (but I’m also confident that your mama’s is good too).
I decided on taking my mom’s recipe and turning it vegan, not because I’m a hardcore vegan, but because I wanted to see how close I could get to her flavor without the eggs/butter/chicken broth. New vegetarians and vegans can very often get overwhelmed in the holiday season (I know I have), and if I could make something that didn’t taste like feet, it would be a total win.
I got a total win.
It was so good, in fact, I forgot to take pictures of it because I was too busy shoving it into my facehole. Once I make it again this week, I’ll put up some pictures, but I mean, if you’ve seen one, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what it looks like, right? For now, this stock photo will make do.
So let’s get started!
First, you start with cornbread. If you have the time, make the cornbread at least two days before you need to cook the dressing. The cornbread will need time to dry out before you add all the magic that makes it dressing. If you don’t let it dry enough, it will turn to goo at the first sight of vegetable broth, and no one likes dressing soup. When you pull it out of the oven, let it cool, cut it into 2×2 squares and toss it in a big bowl.
The you just leave it alone. Put it in the fridge overnight, and give it a stir in the morning when you pull it back out for its time on the counter. Make sure the bottom is getting as stale as the top!
If you don’t have the time to let it get stale au natural, just pop it your squares in the oven right before you start your recipe. Fifteen to twenty at 350 and they’ll get good and crispy.
I used this recipe, and it was fantastic. Word of warning, though: if you are making this cornbread for dressing, drop the coconut oil from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup. You’ll never, ever hear me complain about too-moist cornbread (is that a thing??) unless you’re trying to dry it out for dressing.
Ok. Got your stale cornbread? Here we go.
- Vegan cornbread (see link in the body of this post, or google "SheKnows Vegan Cornbread)
- 1/2 box Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits
- 2 boxes vegetable broth
- 1/2 c. Earth Balance
- 2 tbs. EVOO
- 2 tsp. garlic
- 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
- 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- Poultry seasoning
- Cook cornbread. Cut cornbread into 2x2 squares. Allow time to dry (approximately two days) or place in oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Roughly chop the Triscuits. In a large bowl, combine dried cornbread and Triscuits. Season generously. I listed the spices I used above - to be honest, there's no rhyme or reason to it. It's much better to be heavy-handed with dressing. I used the entire packet of poultry seasoning from Fresh Market and a whole bottle of rosemary. Don't go crazy with the nutmeg, though- that guy can really kill a party.
- Warm a skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and garlic. Add in the celery and onions. Saute until cooked through and translucent, about ten minutes. Add cooked celery and onion with 1 c. vegetable broth to a food processor and blend until soupy. Sit aside.
- In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 c. Earth Balance to one box of vegetable broth. Heat in the microwave until the Earth Balance is melted, approximately 1.5 minutes.
- Add both the veggie broth-Earth Balance mixture and the celery-onion puree to the bowl of breads. DO NOT OVER-MIX. Don't worry of the mixture looks too soupy. It loses a lot of moisture as it bakes and needs to be a little soupy!
- Bake at 350° for 45 minutes (until it gets firm). You can take it out of the oven and cover it with foil if you're running ahead of time and it will stay nice and moist.
- I HATE the texture of onions and celery, which is why I blend them up. If you can manage them, feel free to skip this step!
- This is really a by-the-taste sort of dish. The beauty of being an egg-free dressing is that you can taste with each dash of seasoning and not worry about getting the worms or whatever. Add spices, broth, whatever. Just keep tasting regularly. You'll know when it's there.
- Keep in mind that it needs to be moist and soupy, so use the extra vegetable broth if needed.
If you end up making it (especially if you make adjustments and they taste delicious), please let me know!
happy thanksgiving, little monkeys.