Parsnip & Cornbread Stuffing

I cannot lie.  

I've presented you with the recipe for this tastiful, vegan cornbread already.  I've even given you this very recipe in phenomenal gluten-free form.

Cast-Iron Cornbread

Cast-Iron Cornbread

Still, as I was making these recipes, I couldn't help but think how amazing it would be to combine the cornbread with the stuffing.  

Roasted Root Vegetable Stuffing

Roasted Root Vegetable Stuffing

You should scarcely be able to blame me for this.  The lightly sweet cornbread makes practically, like, a musical symphony with the roasted parsnips and carrots.  I mean, if you could translate taste to music, that is.  Because you can't get much better harmony than this.

Besides, if you were in the middle of making that first gluten-free stuffing and all of a sudden you had this crazed urge to switch gears and try another one, all you would have to do is use half of each bread recipe, and split the ingredients from the rest of the stuffing between them.  Bam.  Two kinds of stuffing in one go.  More people happy at the table.

I thought you could use a little more simplicity amidst holiday chaos.  You're welcome.

Alright, that sounds like I'm taking too much credit for doing so little!  It was an easy recipe to switch up.  But I can't lie... it makes me happy.  

Speaking of happy... Happy Thanksgiving!

Parsnip + Corn-Bread Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 recipe Cast-Iron Cornbread
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
4 large celery ribs, ends removed and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 1 1/2 - 2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. each: salt, pepper 
1 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. dried herbed poultry seasoning (typically includes parsley, sage, rosemary, marjoram) OR if you have fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and/or marjoram, include about 1 T. of each, finely chopped
1 c. low-sodium vegetarian "chicken" stock (or chicken stock)
2 T. cornstarch or tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
1 T. butter

Directions:

You can make the bread ahead of time a day or two (store, covered in the refrigerator) or right before you want to make the stuffing.

If you want to make it all on the same day, while the bread is baking, chop the carrots and parsnips and placed on a cooking-sprayed baking sheet.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F. for about 45-50 minutes.  When they are almost completely done, remove from the oven and set aside while you finish the prep.

Allow the bread to cool completely so it doesn't fall apart when cutting into cubes.  This is a somewhat crumbly bread, but totally worth the extra care to turn it into a chunky stuffing!
Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray and carefully transfer the bread cubes to the pans.

Spread the cubes out evenly so they can each receive even heat.

Place the sheets under the broiler, on the second rack space down from the top, and bake 60 - 90 seconds, until lightly browned and toasty.  Watch - don't walk away!  Flip the cubes over (carefully) and broil again for the same amount of time on the other side.

Saute chopped celery, garlic, and onion together over medium heat using an even coat of cooking spray.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes, until lightly softened.  While they cook, add the seasonings.  When done, transfer to a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Because this bread can be crumbly, we won't mix everything together with a spoon - we'll do this casserole-style and layer the ingredients!  Lay down half the toasted bread cubes in the bottom of a large, buttered, casserole dish.  Next, layer the roasted carrots and parsnips + the sauteed veggies.  Repeat to finish off all the ingredients.

Start the gravy by whisking the cornstarch into the cold or room temperature broth.  I recommend adding some more of the seasonings to this, as well.  Melt the butter in the pan you just used over medium-low heat.  Once it is melted, whisk in the broth mixture and heat just until slightly thickened.  

Pour the gravy as evenly as you can over the top of the casserole.  We want to make the stuffing moist but not soggy in any one spot.

Bake the stuffing, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Serve with additional gravy, if you like!

PS. I would definitely use the butter in the gravy for the baked stuffing, to keep it moist, but if you want to make a lighter gravy to go on top, try substituting the butter with a vegetable puree like pumpkin! (I've done this and was a fan!)

Makes about 12 servings

Nutrition per serving: 190 calories; 9 g fat (2 g saturated); 23 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 6 g protein (Bonus: 133% DV vitamin A)