Vegan Cornbread Dressing & Thanksgiving Gravy

It’s Thanksgiving folks! Time to stuff our faces like the world’s about to end, and hopefully, through all the munching, mention a few things we are thankful for.

My absolute favorite can’t-have-thanksgiving-without-it dish is dressing. NOT stuffing. Cornbread dressing. This is the South, y’all. : ) Even though it’s essentially a bread casserole, people are very particular about how they like their dressing/stuffing. People put all sorts of strange things in it like oysters or sausage, and while some people like to add sage, others think that’s absurd. I’ve discovered in recent years that dressing can be a lot simpler than people make it and that the eggs are totally unnecessary, so it’s super easy to veganize. They’re not needed as a binder or for moisture. I’m starting to realize this about a lot of recipes that are traditionally made with eggs!

We had this with this amazing green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, savory mac-n-cheese, cranberry sauce, and Thanksgiving gravy. If you’re looking for a more traditional “main,” I recommend these chickpea cutlets with gravy or the Field Roast brand’s Celebration Loaf or meatloaf. You could also just add chopped Gardein Chik’n Breasts or Field Roast’s Apple Sage Sausage to the stuffing and have that be a more substantial main dish.

For the Dressing:
1 batch of cornbread (make this a day or two ahead of time so it will dry out a bit – omit the cheese and jalapenos for this recipe)
4 slices day-old or stale bread (I used frozen Ezekiel bread, so I just dried it out in the oven on 350 for 5 minutes and then left it out for a day)
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread
2 cups celery, finely chopped
2 cups onions, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2-2 cups no-chicken broth (I used Better Than Bullion’s No Chicken base)
1 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage
1 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper

I realize probably no one in the world uses carrots in their dressing, but it’s a nice pop of color and you won’t taste them. Feel free to omit. : )

Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl and then tear the bread into tiny pieces add it to the bowl.

Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the Earth Balance over medium heat for about 7 minutes, then add to the mixture.

Add in the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1 ½ cups of broth over the mixture and toss until everything is moist, but not soggy. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish and press everything down really well with a spatula. At this point, you can leave the mixture overnight if you want. When you’re ready, bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Add more broth as needed about half-way through if it’s looking dry, especially around the edges. You want it moist, but again, not soggy.

For the gravy: (makes 1 ½ cups)
1 cup plant-based milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup no-chicken broth (or just use vegetable broth or more milk)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Add the nutritional yeast and flour into a saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Let these dry ingredients sort of “toast” for a minute or two.

Whisk in the milk and broth. Increase the heat slightly, add in the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a gentle boil. Keep whisking until the gravy thickens and then serve over everything!

There was no time for food styling with all this food waiting to be devoured, so these pics were quickly taken before we got our nomnom on! Happy Thanksgiving!
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