Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Combined with gravy, it makes everyone’s mouth water, don’t you agree? Since I’m not a turkey eater though, I specialize in making vegetarian stuffing that tastes as rich and savory as any stuffing baked in a turkey.
This year, in honor of “free from” dietary needs, I decided to make my stuffing gluten-free which can be easily accomplished by using corn bread croutons instead of wheat bread. Except corn bread doesn’t stick together since it’s missing wheat’s gluten. The normal solution would be to add eggs but they aren’t vegan and they also don’t add any interesting flavor or texture to the stuffing. Let’s face it, corn bread has to be enhanced or it could be quite boring!
That started me thinking about all the delicious flavors TeeChia Cranberry Apple would bring to a stuffing recipe and the solution was clear. TeeChia’s chia, flax, quinoa, amaranth, ramón and pumpkin seeds would create the perfect texture combined with crispy corn bread croutons, and set the flavor theme for this year’s stuffing.
Wow! I made it last night to make sure it would come out like I want on Thanksgiving and it is fabulous! Now with a little cashew & shitake gravy poured over the top…TOTAL YUM!
I whipped this stuffing up in a half hour or less after sending my husband off to Whole Foods to buy some cornbread stuffing. He brought home a package of Glutino® Cornbread Gluten-Free Stuffing – just what I wanted. House guests kept me busy so I didn’t read the ingredients until this morning as I wrote this blog. So here’s the good news and the bad news.
Glutino® has done a great job of making crispy flavorful cornbread croutons that are absolutely perfect for stuffing. Keep in mind, they use egg whites so they’re not vegan. However, when I looked closely at the ingredient list, I realized that the corn starch they use (why didn’t they use cornmeal?) isn’t organic and thus the Glutino® Corn Bread Stuffing contains GMOs. I was bummed! It was so easy to make – sigh! However, if you want to avoid GMOs for Thanksgiving, you’re going to have to make your own cornbread ahead of time and then crisp up some croutons in the oven. It’s actually a lot easier than you may think and I’ve included a recipe for GMO-free and gluten-free cornbread croutons using Pamela’s® Cornbread & Muffin Mix made with organic cornmeal. I leave it to you to decide for yourself which one you want to serve your family and guests this Thanksgiving.
As a treat, we are offering a holiday special on TeeChia products! From now until Dec. 31st, 2014, use code TEECHIAHOLIDAY and receive 20% off your order!
Here are the ingredients for your shopping list:
- TeeChia® Cranberry Apple Super Seed Cereal (buy a 10.6 oz bag or 2 single serve pouches)
- Choose between: Glutino® Corn Bread Stuffing – 1 box. For GMO-free cornbread, buy Pamela’s® Gluten-free Cornbread & Muffin Mix and follow the Corn Bread Crouton recipe below.
- Granny Smith apples – 2 large peeled and diced
- Onion – 1 medium diced
- Garlic: 3 cloves diced
- Celery – 2 ribs diced
- Cranberries, dried – ¾ cup
- Walnuts or almonds – 1 cup chopped
- Imagine® Low Sodium Vegetable Broth – 2 cups
- Vegetarian sausage: 1 package of either Sol Cuisine® Veggie Breakfast Patty (They’re gluten free) or Field Roast® Smoked Apple Sage Sausage or Tofurky® Chick’n & Apple Sausages (both of these brands contain wheat gluten)
- Sage – fresh or dried
- Olive oil – a couple of tablespoons or butter if not vegan.
- Pour boiling water over ¾ cup of cranberries and let soak for 10 minutes.
- Sauté the diced onions on a low temperature in a large frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or butter (not vegan).
- When the onions look translucent, add the chopped celery and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the diced garlic and apples to the sauté and sauté for 3 minutes more.
- Chop the veggie patties into small chunks or slice each sausage lengthwise in half and then slice each half so you have 4 long pieces of each sausage. Chop them about ½ inch in length so you have small chunks.
- Add the patty or sausage chunks to the onions, celery and apples.
- Continue to sauté for 5 -7 minutes. Add more olive oil if needed.
- Chop the walnuts or almonds into chunks.
- Heat 2 cups of Imagine Vegetable Broth (I prefer low sodium as the cornbread already has salt in it and I can add salt as needed to my own taste preference).
- Strain the cranberries and reserve the liquid.
- In a large bowl, combine the box of Glutino® Corn Bread Stuffing with 1 cup of TeeChia Cranberry Apple Cereal, the chopped nuts, and the cranberries. If using your own cornbread croutons, add 4 cups.
- Add the sautéed veggies and sausages to the bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients together well with a large spoon.
- Add the heated vegetable broth a little at a time while stirring.
- Add 2 tablespoons dried sage or 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage and mix thoroughly.
- If more moisture is desired, add some of the cranberry water or more vegetable broth but be careful not to make it mushy with too much liquid. You want the cornbread to still have some crispness.
- Taste to see if you like the level of the sage and the salt. Adjust to preference.
- Grease a 2 quart pan (approximately 7” wide x 11” long) with olive oil or butter (not vegan).
- Add the stuffing mixture and pat into a nice shape, filling all the corners of the pan.
- Bake for ½ hour at 350º.
- Serve with Cashew Shiitake Gravy.
Cashew Shitake Gravy:
- 1 cup cashews, raw and pre-soaked in 2 cups water
- 1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms
- 3 large Shallots, diced
- Olive oil or butter – 2-3 tablespoons
- Sherry – ¼ cup
- Imagine® Low Sodium Vegetable Broth, 2 cups
- Soy Sauce – 1 Tbsp
- Miso – yellow or white “Shiro Miso” – 1 Tbsp
- Sage, 1 tbs dried or 2 tbs fresh
- Soak the cashews for 4 hours by pouring 2 cups of hot water over them. Then drain.
- Sauté the diced shallots in a frying pan with the olive oil or butter over low heat until they are translucent.
- Cut off the stems of the shiitakes and lightly wash their caps to remove any dirt. Avoid getting the gills underneath the caps wet.
- Cut the shiitakes into ½ inch chunks.
- Add to the shiitakes to the shallots.
- Add ¼ cup sherry to the onions and mushrooms and continue to sauté at low heat for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are very tender. Add more sherry if needed to keep the shallots and mushrooms moist during the sauté.
- Add the sage and blend well.
- Grind the cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth in a food processor until smooth and creamy. May take 5 minutes. Taste to determine how finely ground the cashews are.
- Add the miso, soy sauce, and sage to the cashew sauce and blend well.
- If a creamy gravy is desired: Add the sautéed mushrooms and shallots to the food processor and blend with the cashews until smooth.
- If a chunky gravy is desired: Add the sautéed mushrooms and shallots to the food processor and pulse a few times until blended.
- Put the whole mixture into a pot and warm up at a low temperature.
- Add the 2nd cup of vegetable broth stirring slowly until desired consistency is achieved. Gravy should be thick and creamy!
- Taste and add more sage, miso or soy sauce if desired according to your preference.
- Put the gravy into a gravy boat and serve!
Gluten Free Cornbread Crispy Croutons for stuffing:
Follow the directions below to produce cornbread with or without dairy (milk, butter and eggs). I have replaced sugar with Swerve® the Ultimate Sugar Replacement which is non-caloric plus tastes and bakes just like sugar. Without eggs, this cornbread will be more dense but it still tastes delicious!
- 1 package Pamela’s Gluten-Free Cornbread & Muffin Mix
- 4 Tbsp Swerve Sugar Replacement or palm sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk or non-dairy milk such as almond or coconut milk
- 8 Tbsp vegan margarine or butter
- Optional: 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (organic if possible!)
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp Italian Herbs or marjoram
- 1 tsp sage, ground
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Add package of Pamela’s® Cornbread to a food processor or bowl.
- Add sugar, herbs, baking soda and salt to cornbread flour.
- Melt margarine or butter in a pot on a low heat.
- Add melted butter to cornbread mixture.
- Add eggs if using them.
- Start food processor on low speed and gradually pour milk or non-dairy milk into the mixture as it blends.
- Blend briefly until smooth. Don’t over mix or it will make the cornbread more dense.
- Grease a 8″ x 8″ Pyrex pan with olive oil or butter.
- Spread the cornbread mixture into the pan with a spatula.
- Bake cornbread for 15-17 minutes until knife comes out clean from the center.
- Remove from oven and let sit to room temperature for 24 hours.
Toasting the Croutons:
- Slice day old cornbread into 1/2 inch slices.
- Cut the slices into 1/2″ cubes.
- Spread on a cookie sheet.
- Mix with 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil by tossing with your hands to coat the croutons thoroughly.
- Bake at 400º for 10-15 minutes. Turn several times during the baking to keep toasting different sides of the croutons.
- Remove and let cool. The croutons are now ready to be used in the stuffing. They can be kept in a sealed Ziplock plastic bag for up to a week before use.