Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

South Boulder Peak is mountain just outside of Boulder that tops out at 8,549 feet above sea level. Compared to the range of Rockies behind it, it's a baby peak, but it's a peak nonetheless. On Thanksgiving Day we started up it's trail around noon, after a light breakfast. Getting our bodies moving before a really big meal is sort of our thing. 

It was two hours to the summit and two hours down, the descent rocky and slow. By the time we were an hour from the car, it was three, and our light breakfast wore thin. "I could eat a vat of jell-o," Oliver said, though he's not a fan of jell-o, and shortly there after, "Let's make Cornish Hens." That's when I piped in about stuffing. Stuffing!! It's the secret star of the show, right? Stuffing, boxed or homemade, is what everyone goes back to get more of. 

We made it to the car, and that evening we dined like royalty on my mom's cooking. We had salmon and two types of cheese, fresh salad, and even pie. It wasn't meant to be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, just an evening with family. (That's what it's about anyhow, right?) 

Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans
Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Still, that stuffing craving lived on. It wasn't four days later and I was in the kitchen, stuffing Cornish Hens with cornbread dressing. 

When I sat down to write this post, I toyed with the fact that Thanksgiving has already passed, and that it's likely no one in the world is looking for a cornbread stuffing recipe anymore. I thought to myself: But stuffing could be eaten at Christmas (or whatever other winter holiday) right? And yea, the answer is you can eat stuffing whenever you please. It’s great at Christmas (some may even make this a tradition) but also delicious on any old Sunday. The leftovers make for a pretty happy desk lunch, or even breakfast. 

This recipe calls for gluten-free cornbread. I share a link to my go-to gluten-free cornbread recipe below. I asked a crowd of you on Instagram Stories if I should make this recipe grain-free before sharing, but most of you love stuffing as much as I do, and said to share it now! You get me.

This stuffing is pretty simple, but the addition of fresh cranberries gives it a tart burst of flavor and a hint of red color, and toasted pecans add extra crunch. 

For those of you who are looking to make this grain-free, I would encourage you to experiment with using a grain-free (almond flour based) cornbread in this recipe. Report back on how it works! I'll be running my own experiments. A long time ago, I also shared a meat-based stuffing here

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Published December 14, 2017 by
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Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 8x8 inch pan of cool cornbread, this is my favorite cornbread recipe, but feel free to use your favorite recipe (day-old cornbread works well!)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease an 8x8inch baking pan.
  2. Sauté the diced onion and celery with the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Then, scrape onion and celery into a mixing bowl.
  3. Dice cornbread into 1/2-inch or 1-inch cubes, and add to mixing bowl. Then, add cranberries, pecans, and sage. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and broth together until combined. Then, pour the broth mixture into the cornbread mixture. Use a spatula to fold the cornbread mixture until all of the ingredients are equally distributed and the broth is well incorporated.
  5. Scrape stuffing into prepared baking dish, patting down into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, or until stuffing is golden on top. Allow to cool 5 minutes and then serve warm.

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Cranberry Pear Tart

Cranberry Pear Tart

Traditional Thanksgiving isn't in the cards for us this year, which is fine because we're not much for celebrating holidays "the traditional way". Traditional is a funny word isn't it? Opting outside is more of a holiday tradition for us--it's what we normally choose to do when we have plenty of time off from work.

Since actual Turkey Day is typically reserved for adventuring, we eat more Thanksgiving fare before and after the holiday, at potlucks and work parties and Friendsgiving celebrations.

Preparing for Friendsgiving is a whole different beast than preparing for a family holiday: the family usually has at least a semi-planned menu, so you know what you’re supposed to bring.  But Friendsgiving (at least the way we do it) is a lot more casual. Everyone brings what they want, a little slice of what Thanksgiving means to them (or whatever they had time to pick up at the store). Both events usually have plenty (err, too much) food, but at Friendsgiving I find there are always a lot more repeats, like four pumpkin pies and three salads and then only one pot of mash potatoes. You've been to one of those potlucks right? You know what I'm talking about.

Cranberry Pear Tart
Cranberry Pear Tart

I was thinking about this very predicament when I started making this tart. You see, I really wanted pumpkin pie (hello, it's pumpkin pie, who doesn't want a slice?!). But I knew there would already be at least one other pumpkin pie. So I decided to go in a whole new direction: something without pumpkin, or pecans, but still perfect for fall. 

This Cranberry Pear Tart? Ding!

Pears don't get the attention that pumpkin gets this time of year, but they deserve a little time in the limelight. This tart, laced with just a hint of cinnamon, maple syrup, and fresh orange zest, is the perfect offbeat dessert for any Thanksgiving potluck, Friendsgiving or other fall get-together.

Something else to love about this Cranberry Pear Tart: it’s pretty much just fruit in a pie crust (whatever pie crust you like, though I use this crust recipe to make it paleo-friendly) which means that it doesn’t have the same super heavy feeling that pecan or pumpkin pies do. Which means.... you can have a slice of each and the Cranberry Pear Tart will round out the trio! 😉

(Ehem. While we are talking about pecan pie, let's talk about pecan pie! My love.)

Cranberry Pear Tart
Cranberry Pear Tart

The other great thing about the fruit-in-crust situation is that it is reallllllly easy to make this tart. Slice up those pears, pop 'em in your crust, and arrange the cranberries with the maple sauce. Cook. Top with whipped cream. Eat. Lick plate. Done. 

Wishing you all safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving, whatever that means for you! 🤗

Cranberry Pear Tart

Published November 16, 2017 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 60 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of pie crust dough ( Try this Paleo pie crust)
  • 2 large Red Crimson pears - about 1/2 pound (D'Anjou or Bosc would also work)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (for Paleo, sub 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Whipped cream, coconut cream, or ice cream for serving.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch pie pan. Rough pie crust to 1/8 inch thickness using a rolling pin, and fit to pie pan. Trim edges as necessary, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and the corn starch until full combined. Then, whisk in the maple syrup, orange zest, and cinnamon. Add the cranberries and stir so they are coated.
  3. Slice pears in half, and remove core. Then, slice thin (1/8 inch thick) and arrange in prepared pie crust.
  4. Once all pear slices are arranged in crust, arrange cranberries over top, pouring the maple syrup mixture over pears as you go. Use a brush to spread the maple syrup mixture over pears so they are all coated.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until tart is bubbling, crust is golden, and pears are tender. Serve with whipped cream, coconut cream, or ice cream.

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Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Two weeks ago I got a terrible head cold that at first made my throat feel like a solid piece of rock and then morphed into congestion and then just left me aching. When I finally got a solid night of sleep (like a really solid night of sleep--12 hours, or more), I felt like I could think again. Smelling, tasting, and swallowing were still a day away. 

The worst part of a head cold to me is that your body feels totally fine--like you could run a mile- but the minute you try to do anything, you realize it was a terrible, terrible idea. By Friday I felt well enough to hit the climbing gym again, and doing so plastered a fixed smile across my face. I could taste again too, so when I got home I cooked the pumpkin I hadn't found energy to cook earlier in the week. Golden pumpkin with savory Merkén Chile: it was the first thing I smelled all week. 

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

That pumpkin filled my house with the scent of it's caramelizing edges and steaming Merkén chile. They were beautiful, but that smell was what really swept me off my feet. A drizzle of honey was all that was missing. (Doesn't honey make everything better?)

If you can't find Merkén chile don't sweat it: you can use any kind of smoked red chile flake in this recipe. 

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Published October 19, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons merkén chile, or other smoked red chile flake
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey 
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice pumpkin half, remove stem, and seeds. Slice into wedges, about 1-inch thick.
  2. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkins on pan, and brush with avocado oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and merkén. Place in oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin is tender all the way through, and starting to brown on the edges.
  3. Remove from oven, and drizzle lightly with honey. Garnish with minced cilantro.

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