Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Vegan Thanksgiving, Part IV: Cornbread Stuffed Apples

Stuffing may be my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, so much so, that I am often compelled to make two or three different kinds just to satisfy my craving. At the top of my stuffing list though, is cornbread stuffing. I love the lightness alongside the grittiness of the cornbread, and I think it stands up better to the potentially overwhelming flavors of sage and thyme than your average white bread. Cornbread stuffing usually goes hand in hand with sausage. I greatly appreciated this pairing in my former omnivorous life, but it wouldn’t do for a vegan Thanksgiving. As you can probably tell from my recipes, I am not a big fan of "faux" meat products. I get more excited about the flavors of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and hearty legumes than I ever could about “Soy-rizo!” So, instead of bowing to tradition and adulterating my stuffing with a strange vegan approximation of sausage, I decided to augment the crumbly cornbread with toasted pecans, dried apricots and dried cranberries. The pecans give this dish a meatiness, something to bite your teeth into, and the dried fruit lends sweetness to this savory dish. Stuffing this into apples adds a bit of charm, everyone getting their own apple half to cut into, filled with the crunchy and moist cornbread filling.   

For a good, vegan cornbread, use the recipe from my Cornbread Chili Pie.

1 8” x 8” pan of cornbread cooled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced finely
1 shallot diced
1 tablespoon thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons sage minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pecans toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots diced
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (see here for the recipe)
6 apples

After the cornbread has cooled completely, cut it into 1” cubes. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350º for 10 minutes. Flip the cubes over and bake for another 10 minutes. The cornbread should be dry and slightly crispy at the edges. Allow to cool.

Prepare the apples. Slice apples in half through the stem. Scoop the inside out so that the edges are 1/4” thick.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, carrot, and shallot. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and sage and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cornbread to the pot with the pecans, cranberries, and apricots, and stir. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock to the mixture and stir gently.

Heat the oven to 350º. Spoon 1/2 cup of the cornbread into the apple halves. Place the apple halves into an oven proof dish, and add 3/4 cup of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes. Broil on high for remaining 5 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is crispy and golden.

*You can also make this stuffing without the apples. Just spoon the cornbread mixture into an oven proof dish and bake, covered, for 1 hour; then broil, uncovered, for 5 minutes.


  1. This looks absolutely amazing. I too am OBSESSED with stuffing - pretty sure it is really what Thanksgiving is all about. I am definitely going to have to make this...over and over and over again. Love the blog so far!

  2. It actually makes an awesome dinner if you don't want to wait for Thanksgiving, or if you miss it once it's gone!