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Healthy Recipes: Southwestern Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing

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Great Gluten-Free Dressing for All

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

At every gathering these days, it seems at least one person has a special dietary requirement. Someone may be vegetarian, allergic to nuts or have a health condition, like diabetes or celiac disease. These dietary restrictions can really stump a hostess, particularly around the holidays.

Persons with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, the elastic protein found in wheat, spelt, rye, barley and oats. A major component in wheat flour, gluten holds breads together and gives all other baked goods structure, including pie crusts, cookies and rolls. In addition, gluten is often an invisible ingredient in processed foods. Ask anyone who must avoid it and you will be astounded at how many products contain gluten, including chicken broth, mayonnaise and pie fillings.

How can you share a bountiful, traditional Thanksgiving with someone who is gluten-intolerant? First, ask them, because they know which brands of broth and other ingredients are safe and good tasting. Second, gluten-free baking from scratch takes practice because you use totally different ingredients that behave quite differently from the familiar ones. You can more easily get gluten-free mixes today. Natural food stores and a growing number of supermarkets have an abundance of them, including Bob’s Red Mill, Gluten-Free Pantry, Pamela’s and other companies you can find on the Internet. With them, you can make pleasing piecrust, cornbread and other holiday treats that everyone will enjoy. My cornbread dressing is a perfect example.

This dressing reheats so well and its robust Southwestern flavor mellows so nicely that I often make it a day ahead. And no one will guess it has a gluten-free secret.

Cornbread Desssing

Southwestern Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 bag Bob’s Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp.) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cup fat-free or lowfat buttermilk

Cajun Seasoning (or use 2 Tbsp. of purchased Cajun seasoning):

  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped poblano chile pepper
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, green and white parts
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold or Golden Delicious apple
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups gluten-free turkey or chicken broth, heated
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled

For the cornbread:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 9-inch square, light-colored baking pan with cooking spray.

In small mixing bowl, beat together eggs and egg white. In large mixing bowl, combine cornbread mix, eggs, butter and buttermilk, using hand mixer on medium speed. When batter is blended, increase speed to high and beat the batter for 30 seconds. Transfer it to prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cornbread is browned around edges. Turn out onto wire rack and cool.

Position oven racks in upper and lower third. Reduce heat to 250 degrees F.

With serrated knife, cut cooled cornbread into 1/2-inch cubes. There will be about 10 cups cubed cornbread. Spread cubed bread in even layer over two light-colored baking sheets and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until cubes are mostly dry and firm and deep gold in color, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool toasted cornbread on baking sheets. There will be about 8 1/2 cups toasted cubed cornbread. Toasted cornbread can be stored in a bowl on the counter, covered with plastic, for 24 hours.

For the Cajun Seasoning:

Combine spices, herbs and powders above to make Cajun Seasoning and set aside.

For the Dressing:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Place toasted cornbread in large mixing bowl. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and poblano pepper and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 8 minutes. Add scallions and apple and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add contents of pan to cornbread. Add Cajun Seasoning and eggs. With rubber spatula or using your hands, mix until dressing is well combined. Add 3 cups of hot broth and mix, adding more broth, if needed, until dressing is evenly moistened but not mushy. Turn into prepared baking dish. Dot top of dressing with 2 tablespoons butter, cut into thin chips. Cover baking dish with foil.

Bake dressing, covered, until hot in center of pan, or 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Let dressing sit for 20 minutes to settle before serving.

Makes 12 servings

Per serving: 300 calories, 13 g total fat (5 saturated fat), 40 g carbohydrate,
10 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 540 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $91 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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