Stuffing has never been my favorite.

Now that doesn’t mean I skipped over it altogether. No, you see, I’m kind of a glutton and grew up with this unhealthy idea that I had to eat some of everything because I didn’t want any of the food to feel left out.

Oink.

Fortunately, I’m getting over that and don’t feel bad skipping a few dishes. But it’s really only so I can leave room for seconds (and sometimes thirds) of my favorites. But now I’ve got a little problem. Stuffing is back in the mix of gotta-have-it. This stuffing was simply irresistible, and it’s not just because it was the closest side dish to my seat (hey, I can’t help it if that serving spoon kept scooping extra bites onto my plate…) Now I’m really not sure what to cut off my plate!

It might have to do with the bits of gritty toasted cornbread, which hold their texture much better than any “stove top” concoction. Or the sweet, tart apples and chewy plump figs that serve as the perfect contrast to spicy chorizo. Is this a sweet stuffing? or a spicy one? I can’t decide… must try another bite. The pleasant crunch of toasty sliced almonds… yep, that was certainly a part of it. But I most definitely loved this stuffing for the fact that it is a double pumpkin stuffing. Pumpkin in the cornbread, and pumpkin mixed into the whole big concoction before baking. Yes, that’s totally key.

I know you’ve got recipes to ponder and lists to make and groceries to shop for, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet. So I’ll just finish with this: if you’re looking for a crowd pleasing stuffing that’s a little different from the norm (and, if you’ve got a few gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian eaters at your table) this just might be your ticket.

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Double Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing with Figs, Apple, Chrorizo and Almonds

Yield: 12 servings

A sweet and spicy cornbread stuffing full of the flavors and textures of fall.

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Stuffing
1 batch pumpkin cornbread
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh sage
6oz soy chorizo sausage, crumbled (or other sausage, cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
3 tablespoons melted butter or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for vegetarian version)
1 large egg

Directions:

Cornbread Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray a 9" round pie dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, quinoa flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together egg, honey, almond milk, cider vinegar, and pumpkin puree.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Stuffing Directions

Preheat oven to 250ºF.

Cut the cornbread into 3/4" cubes and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly firm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the celery and onions for 5 minutes. Add the apples, saute another 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and sage, and saute for one more minute. Turn off heat.

Increase oven temperature to 375ºF. Mist a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.

Add the cornbread cubes and vegetable mixture to cool down a bit, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chorizo, figs, and almonds.

Whisk together the melted butter, pumpkin, broth and egg. Season with black pepper. Pour over the cornbread mixture and gently stir until all ingredients are moistened and well-combined. Turn into the greased baking dish and spread in an even layer.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot. (May be prepared ahead of time and reheated.)

Adapted from Cook It Allergy Free.