This flavorful and moist vegetarian cauliflower cornbread dressing is packed full of vegetables and tastes so comforting without weighing you down. This healthy Thanksgiving side dish is sure to be a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! It's also baby and kid-friendly so be sure to make plenty for everyone in the family.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my mind is conjuring up all kinds of stuffing recipes to try. I don't know about your family, but in mine, Thanksgiving is all about the dressing/stuffing. For the holiday meal, we normally have 2 spreads (Korean and traditional American) that are totally non-related but somehow go well together. A couple of years back it was just us kids, so the Hungryman and I prepared the traditional feast for everyone. This year, my mom will be back from Korea just in time so we shall see if she wants to get in the kitchen ;). If not, I will once again be put in full control. I don't mind it though. Because for my family, I will gladly slap on an apron and get messy in the kitchen. Anytime. Any day.
Now even if I roast the most gorgeous, moist turkey or bake up the meanest sweet potato casserole or green bean casserole, if the dressing is subpar, then I might as well have not made anything at all. Actually, sometimes I wonder why I even bother making the other dishes, as everyone would be perfectly happy with multiple dishes of dressing.
2014 (when this post was originally written)
This year, one of the variations is going to be this vegetarian cauliflower cornbread dressing. Boy, are they in for a happy awakening ;). The idea for adding cauliflower actually came from the Hungryman! Here's how the conversation went:
Me: My family LOVES sausage in their stuffing. I can't leave it out..but then again I want to keep it on the light side.
Hungryman (after about an hour): Ooh how about shredding some cauliflower and seasoning it? Sure it won't completely taste like ground sausage..well maybe not at all..but at least it'll somewhat look like it! (all this coming from a carnivorous man)
Me: Hmm...I don't know...(fast forward 30 minutes) That's a brilliant idea! I'm actually going to pulse it in the food processor like you would make cauliflower rice. Not only is it a great way to sneak in a vegetable that not everyone's really fond of, but it will add moisture which means I can use less stock (normally, I end up using at least 5 cups)!
So that's how the idea for the recipe was born! We sure make a great team, don't we? Mushrooms were added for some umami, and the corn kernels, just because I love the extra sweetness and texture they add. And fresh sage...I could just sniff a sprig all day long! You can make this ahead of time bc let's face it, Thanksgiving day
can get quite hairy.
First of all, did you notice that Vitamix that you see ALL the time in my cooking demos on Instagrm? Yup! Worth every penny!
Sorry, I got side tracked.
We still enjoy this dish every year! I had NO idea when this recipe was first developed 5 years ago that it'd soon become an absolute must at our Thanksgiving table. It was also before the cauliflower craze (who knew?!) when store-bought cauliflower rice was not available. I say take advantage of it! But of course, you can use fresh and do the process yourself if you prefer.
Cauliflower truly is the secret ingredient to this dish. It not only boosts the nutrient levels but also allows for use of less stock and/or other liquids (which is another great way to reduce sodium content. Read more on this below).
What has also changed since the first time I made this dressing is that I became a mama! And as we embarked on our baby led weaning journey, this blog became all about sharing nutrition and feeding tips as well nutritious recipes that are not only safe and appropriate for babies and toddlers to eat but that the entire family can enjoy together! Parenthood is exhausting as it is. There's no need to make 2 separate meals! I see you nodding your head in agreement ;).
What makes this baby and toddler-friendly?
- It's moist and soft enough for babies around 9.5 months and up can enjoy
- Chock full of veggies
- So much flavor in one bite! It's so important to expose babies to a wide variety of flavors and textures from early on. Click here to learn more.
- Low in sodium. You know how so many traditional Thanksgiving dishes are loaded with sodium! That's very hard on babies' kidneys.
This will be the 2nd year our 2.5 year old will be enjoying this dish with us, and I'm beyond excited to make this for him for years to come!
Vegetarian Cauliflower Cornbread Stuffing
- 5 cups of 1 inch cubes of cornbread (can make your own or use premade)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower (or use store-bought cauliflower rice)
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Butter 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside.
- Spread cornbread evenly onto a baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until dry but not hard, about 10-15 minutes. Cool. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and cook unti lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in corn, cauliflower, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, sage, and parlsey. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the bowl with cornbread (make ahead tip: cover and refrigerate overnight).
- In another bowl, whisk together stock, eggs, and buttermilk (if using). Pour over the dressing mixture and combine well.
- Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.