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This is our longtime favorite vegetarian cornbread stuffing with apples, lovingly adapted from The Silver Palate. It’s an absolute Thanksgiving classic.

vegetarian cornbread stuffing (adapted from the silver palate) in a baking dish
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Why we love this recipe

For a whole generation of New Yorkers of a certain ilk, the women of The Silver Palate helped set the standard of excellence for accessible American cuisine. Their cornbread stuffing has graced countless Thanksgiving tables.

I had two goals in adapting their recipe. I wanted a vegetarian version with just as much flavor as the original (which contains sausage), and I wanted to gently update the recipe for the modern kitchen.

Since 2010, so many of you have made and loved this version. It’s:

  • Layered with savory and lightly sweet seasonal flavors
  • A great balance of crisp exterior to custardy interior
  • Relatively easy to assemble
  • Prep-ahead friendly

Vegetarian cornbread stuffing goes perfectly with a Thanksgiving turkey, if you’re into that sort of thing. And if not, it’s wonderful and satisfying on its own.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You’ll need good-quality cornbread to make this stuffing. I make my own from my favorite recipe when I have the time. You can bake it up to a couple of days in advance. Or buy it from a trusted bakery if you need a quicker option.
  • For this recipe, I like to start with good-quality store-bought dried bread cubes. I typically buy them at Whole Foods, where they’re made from a nice variety of artisan breads. If you’d like to make your own, choose a good crusty bread (or several) that you enjoy, cut into ¾-inch cubes, and distribute between two rimmed sheet pans without crowding. Bake for about an hour in the center of a 200°F oven, until the cubes are dry all the way through. You can do this up to a few days in advance if you like.
  • Cut the onion and celery nice and small so it almost melts into the mix.
  • My favorite vegetable broth by far is this one. It makes all the difference.
  • I love to use fresh sage and thyme in this recipe, but you can substitute dried if necessary.
  • Use a nice tart green apple variety like Granny Smith.
  • Chopped walnuts add earthiness and textural interest. Pecans work well, too.
  • Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a fabulous pan of vegetarian cornbread stuffing. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll cook the onion, celery, and apple in the butter.
  2. Into a large mixing bowl, place the bread cubes and prepared cornbread.
  3. Add the skillet contents, walnuts, and herbs, and mix gently. Then add the eggs and broth and mix again.
  4. Bake until crisp outside and tender and custardy inside. That’s it!

Make it meaty

If you’d prefer to incorporate sausage, here’s what to do. Reduce the butter by half. Buy a pound of good-quality sweet Italian or sage-flavored sausage and add it to the frying pan while you’re sautéing the onions and celery. There’s no need to make any additional changes.

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Sure can! You have two great options here.

The first one, which I prefer, is to assemble the whole pan of stuffing up to 24 hours in advance, but hold off on baking it until just before you’re ready to eat. As long as it’s tightly covered in a nice cold fridge, this is a great approach. You can bake the stuffing straight from the fridge, adding a few extra minutes for it to cook through. Or you can bring it to room temperature on the counter about an hour before baking and pop it in the oven for the 45 minutes indicated in the recipe.

The second option is to bake the stuffing ahead of time and then reheat it before serving. This is totally fine, too. Pull cooked stuffing out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so. Cover your pan tightly and pop it into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Ideally you’d do this at about 350°F, but since Thanksgiving’s ALWAYS got multiple dishes in the oven, you can really reheat it at just about any temperature your oven’s set to.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

More favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes

vegetarian cornbread stuffing (adapted from the silver palate) on a plate with turkey and gravy

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vegetarian cornbread stuffing (adapted from the silver palate) on a plate with turkey and gravy
4.57 from 41 votes

Vegetarian Cornbread Stuffing

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This is our longtime favorite vegetarian cornbread stuffing with apples, lovingly adapted from The Silver Palate. It's an absolute Thanksgiving classic.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
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Ingredients 

  • 12 tablespoons (168 grams) butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 3 ribs celery, including any leaves, finely diced
  • 3 small Granny Smith apples, skin on, cored and finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 ½ cups (375 grams) coarsely crumbled cornbread
  • 4 ½ cups (250 grams) dried bread cubes
  • 1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups (710 ml) good vegetable broth

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle.
  • Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions, celery, and apples, along with half the salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned in spots, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Into a large mixing bowl, place the crumbled cornbread and dried bread cubes.
  • Top with the apple mixture, parsley, time, sage, and remaining salt and pepper.
  • Mix gently but thoroughly.
  • Pour the beaten eggs and the broth over the contents of the bowl, and mix again until the bread has absorbed all the liquid.
  • Spoon the stuffing into a 9x13x2-inch baking dish.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until crisp on top and tender and custardy inside.

Notes

  1. You'll need good-quality cornbread to make this stuffing. I make my own from my favorite recipe when I have the time. You can bake it up to a couple of days in advance. Or buy it from a trusted bakery if you need a quicker option.
  2. For this recipe, I like to start with good-quality store-bought dried bread cubes. I typically buy them at Whole Foods, where they're made from a nice variety of artisan breads. If you'd like to make your own, choose a good crusty bread (or several) that you enjoy, cut into ¾-inch cubes, and distribute between two rimmed sheet pans without crowding. Bake for about an hour in the center of a 200°F oven, until the cubes are dry all the way through. You can do this up to a few days in advance if you like.
  3. Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn't have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.
  4. Cut the onion and celery nice and small so it almost melts into the mix.
  5. Walnuts and pecans work equally well in this recipe.
  6. My favorite vegetable broth by far is this one. It makes all the difference.
  7. I love to use fresh sage and thyme in this recipe, but you can substitute two teaspoons each of dried if necessary.
  8. You've got a couple of good options for prepping this dish ahead of time. The first one, which I prefer, is to assemble the whole pan of stuffing up to 24 hours in advance, but hold off on baking it until just before you're ready to eat. As long as it's tightly covered in a nice cold fridge, this is a great approach. You can bake the stuffing straight from the fridge, adding a few extra minutes for it to cook through. Or you can bring it to room temperature on the counter about an hour before baking and pop it in the oven for the 45 minutes indicated in the recipe. The second option is to bake the stuffing ahead of time and then reheat it before serving. This is totally fine, too. Pull cooked stuffing out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so. Cover your pan tightly and pop it into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Ideally you'd do this at about 350°F, but since Thanksgiving's ALWAYS got multiple dishes in the oven, you can really reheat it at just about any temperature your oven's set to.
  9. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

Meaty version

If you'd prefer to incorporate sausage, here's what to do. Reduce the butter by half. Buy a pound of good-quality sweet Italian or sage-flavored sausage and add it to the frying pan while you're sautéing the onions and celery. There's no need to make any additional changes.
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, which would make a pretty terrific holiday gift for almost anyone who likes to cook.

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcal, Carbohydrates: 55.4g, Protein: 10.7g, Fat: 23.1g, Fiber: 3.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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4 Comments

    1. Hi Kay, I haven’t done it with this recipe, but I think you’ve got a couple of options. I make a great vegan stuffing with regular bread cubes where I just add a little more stock and don’t use a binding agent at all. To replace the two eggs, you could use an additional 1/2 cup of stock. Or you could try flax eggs — I’d use two tablespoons ground flax seed dissolved in six tablespoons water and left to sit for five minutes before using. I think you’ll get really good results either way. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Janet! Sure thing. As long as you like the taste of the plant-based butter you’re using, it should be just fine.