Poblano peppers spice up this sweet & savory homemade cornbread stuffing recipe. Not a fan of spice? Don't worry. It's just as good without them.
What are your family’s Thanksgiving traditions? We always have a turkey, of course, along with green beans, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Oh, and there’s always Jello (and not for dessert… it’s “dinner Jello”). But my favorite part is the stuffing. I’m a huge fan of traditional versions made with crusty bread (see here and here), but this year, I’m changing things up by adding this lightly spicy poblano cornbread stuffing to our Thanksgiving table.
What’s in This Cornbread Stuffing Recipe?
This homemade cornbread stuffing is a delicious mix of classic stuffing ingredients plus a few extras for a spicy twist:
- Onions, celery, carrots & sage are the aromatic base. They add traditional flavor to this unconventional cornbread stuffing recipe.
- Poblano peppers spice it up.
- Scallions, cilantro, and Mexican oregano are my Southwestern accents, playing off the heat of the peppers.
- White wine makes it deliciously tangy.
- Corn kernels add crunch and sweet pops of flavor.
- Melted butter makes it rich & moist.
- Dried currants dot it with sweet, chewy bites.
- Thinly sliced kale adds pretty flecks of green and extra nutrients.
- And maple syrup combines with the peppers to make it delectably sweet & spicy.
Homemade Cornbread Stuffing Tips
I’ve tested this recipe through and through. In my opinion, these three steps lead to the ultimate cornbread dressing success:
- Prep in advance. Thanksgiving day is always hectic around here, and it’s a bit of an extra step to have to make the cornbread. To make things easy, I like to bake it a day or two in advance. (And it’s ok if you sample a piece). In a pinch, store bought cornbread will work too.
- Spice to your level. As always when you’re working with chiles, make sure to start with less and then add more to taste, depending on your preferences and the heat of your peppers. Each pepper has a different heat level, so it’s best to proceed with caution.
- Broil it! I made this recipe as a cornbread dressing, cooking it in a baking dish outside of the turkey. If you go this route, turn on the broiler for the last few minutes that it’s in the oven. This way, it’ll develop a nice golden brown crust on top but stay soft & moist in the middle.
Cornbread Stuffing Recipe Variations
I love this recipe as written – it’s spicy, fresh, and even a little sweet – but feel free to change it up! Here are some suggestions:
- Skip the spice! If you want a traditional cornbread stuffing, omit the poblano and oregano, and substitute parsley for the cilantro. Dried cranberries would be delicious instead of the currants in this variation.
- Make it smoky. Use this cornbread recipe to add smoky flavor to your stuffing. The smokiness comes from chipotles in adobo sauce, which are also spicy. If you go this route, add less poblano so that the spice level isn’t overwhelming. You can always add more to taste.
- Switch the greens. Use another hearty green, like collards, instead of the kale.
- Vary the veggies & herbs. To me, scallions and celery are stuffing essentials, but finely diced butternut squash or sweet potato would be excellent autumn substitutes for the carrot! A teaspoon or two of thyme leaves would also be great here.
Let me know what variations you try!
If you love this cornbread stuffing recipe…
Be sure to try some of my other favorite Thanksgiving side dishes like Brussels sprout salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted beets, stuffed squash, and apple pie.
Poblano Cornbread Stuffing
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup all purpose gluten free blend (or regular all purpose)
- ½ cup almond flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 batch cornbread
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ -1/3 cup chopped poblanos or jalapeños (depending on spice level)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Scant ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup white wine (or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar)
- ½ cup corn (frozen works fine)
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup dried currants
- ½ cup thinly sliced kale
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
- ¼ cup melted butter (or vegan earth balance butter)
- 1½ tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped cilantro (reserve some for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- First, make the cornbread: Whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, olive oil, and maple syrup.
- Using a large spoon, mix both together (do not overmix).
- Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- For the stuffing: In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the carrots, celery, and pinches of salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the poblanos, garlic, sage, and oregano and cook a few minutes more. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the corn, scallions, currants, and kale with some more salt and cook for just another few minutes, until the kale wilts down. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Whisk together almond milk, melted butter, and maple syrup. Set aside.
- Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl, add the cooked veggies from the pan, and toss it all together. Pour the almond milk mixture on top and toss again. Mix in the chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings, keeping in mind that it will taste (a lot) less spicy once it’s baked.
- Pour into a greased 11×9 (or similar) pan and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. You want the inside to remain soft, and the outside just slightly crisped. I turned my broiler on for the last 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust.
Southern vegans that are team cornbread dressing this is the recipe for you!!!! I’ve been making this for Thanksgiving for YEARS (I can’t believe I never commented?!) and it is absolute perfection! I tried for so many years after going vegan to find the perfect cornbread dressing that could taste anywhere near as delicious as my great granny’s recipe and this is it! My non-vegan family devours it and I get to have delicious cornbread dressing in my life again! And gluten free to boot for my niece who has food allergies (I’ve also made it non gluten-free with regular flour in the past and it tastes the same!). I leave out the currents (just my preference) but otherwise follow the recipe as is. Seriously this is SO SO GOOD!
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit!! The vegan cornbread recipe is delicious and held together great for the stuffing. The flavor of all the stuffing ingredients blended so well together!
Hi Cindy, I’m so glad this one was such a hit!
Can this be made the night before? Thanks!
This was delicious!
I made a few modification
– Cooked the vegetables for longer. I love caramelized onions so made sure to caramelize those for like a good 10 minutes
– Instead of white wine vinegar i used a pomegranate vinegar, though any fruity one would work (apple cider vinegar, etc)
– Used cranberries instead of currants!
– i used TJ’s frozen roasted corn which i sauteed before adding to the caramelizing veggie medley!
Guests loved the dish. Definitely a huge success!
Hi! I’ve been vegetarian for about two years now, but I still haven’t found my new traditional Thanksgiving dish. I’ve seen stuffed mini pumkins on the Web and I was wondering if you think they would go well with this spicy stuffing? The pumkins probably need to bake for 45-60 minutes and I’m worried the stuffing would get overdone because not a lot would fit in the mini pumkin (1/4-1/2 cup maybe?). Would you bake this stuffing separately or add it part way through the baking of the pumpkins? Thank you so much!
Without trying it myself, I can’t really say (but let me know how it goes if you give it a go, it sounds like a delicious idea!). Or here are some stuffed squash recipes I really like: http://www.loveandlemons.com/2014/11/20/avocado-quinoa-stuffed-acorn-squash/ and http://www.loveandlemons.com/2013/11/25/stuffed-acorn-squash/
Hey Jeanine, I never said thank you for the suggestions! I’m going to try the millet stuffed acorn squash as my main dish this year with maple glazed carrots and mash potatoes with mushroom gravy as sides! I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks a lot!
mmm, sounds like a great t-giving plan!
I am excited to make this for a belated Thanksgiving. One of my guests has a nut allergy so I was wondering: should I replace the almond milk with rice or dairy milk or would it be better replaced with a veggie broth? Can’t wrap my head around the right answer. Just not sure if the almond milk is supposed to bring a creaminess that I would need to replicate or not. I would love some feedback when it’s convenient. Thank you!
Hi Leslie, (sorry I didn’t reply quicker!), the almond milk isn’t crucial so I’m thinking any of those replacements you mentioned should work just fine. Other milks or extra broth.
It’s Thanksgiving! No apology needed. I am grateful for your quick response! Thank you for the info! Have a great day!
Just looking for your cornbread recipe… the stuffing looks amazing!!!!
We were just going through my husband’s late grandmother’s recipe box and were laughing at all the marshmallow recipes. And Jello recipes. My husband was telling me about how he had to suffer through quite a few of the recipes when he was younger. She was from the Mid-West also:)
aww, that’s sweet. Our family Jello was passed down through my grandmother as well 🙂
This looks absolutely amazing!! I’ve been trying to come up with a vegan and GF stuffing recipe that my non-vegan family members will like too, and this sounds perfect! We’re in TX, so this Southwestern-style recipe is right up my alley; and I love that you used cornbread–genius!
Thanks – I’m hoping my meat eaters will like it too 🙂
Yes! Just what I’m looking for! Traditional with a modern vegan gluten-free twist! Thank you!
Love this spin on regular stuffing. The cornbread and poblanos are a great add-in. I’m not a huge fan of the normal stuffing. This is a version I know I’d love. I’ll definitely give it a try soon 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Spicy poblano stuffing sounds like a fabulous idea! Although I do think I’d have a hard time not just eating the pan of cornbread by itself… 🙂
yea… if it sat around any longer there would have been way less cornbread left for the stuffing. It was a matter of speed really…
I’m pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to stuffing. No nuts, no fruit, etc. I like to keep things simple. But this?? This has to be made. I have a definite thing for cornbread and these flavors, but would have never thought to turn it into a stuffing. I know my husband and our friends would be a huge fan of this, so I might have to switch plans and make it for Thursday!
I have to know what goes into dinner jello, is it savory or sweet? I’ve never heard of that and am so curious!
It’s sweet (like, dessert sweet)… some people put cranberries in red Jello… my family’s recipe had a layer of cream cheese in the middle.
I love cornbread by itself, and this variation looks and sounds amazing.
Yes, that is SO Midwestern!!! I live in Ohio and grew up eating every single Thanksgiving item on your list (except the sweet potato casserole but now my SIL brings it every year 🙂
This looks amazing! I will definitely give it a try.
That is the Thanksgiving of my childhood, along with a big turkey and the football game. Very thankful for not having to endure it any longer!
Being from NZ (Thanksgiving doesn’t exist there) I do appreciate hearing of these tradational family dishes. Even if they make me giggle (I didn’t even know green beans came in a can!). I cant believe only one square of cornbread is missing. I know my husband and I would have to sample one each for sure. Great alternative to a typical stuffing – and the enamelware IS beautiful.
Very beautiful pictures!!