Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Two Ways- Stuffed + Unstuffed (Cornbread Stuffing)
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Two Ways- Stuffed + Unstuffed (Cornbread Stuffing)

Maple Roasted Goodness - And Cornbread Stuffing...

While we're all adjusting to turning the clocks back (excuse me while I yawn), I thought I'd reprise two Thanksgiving friendly recipes today. Both recipes are redolent with old fashioned autumnal goodness. Warm and subtle spices. Maple. Apple. It doesn't get any comfy-cozier.

First up is an easy, favorite side dish of mine- maple roasted acorn squash (and it's vegan, therefore perfect for those of you sharing your humble meal with vegetarian and dairy-free guests). The second dish is one of my oldest tried and true recipes.

It is from my very first Thanksgiving as a married woman, in fact.

We won't discuss how long ago that was, Darling, but I will admit it was way back with Husband Number #1 (it being first and all). I was anxious to do it up with style on my first Thanksgiving (as any blushing bride would be) and had the sudden inspiration to use cornbread and apples as a stuffing instead of the traditional- and familial on both sides- bagged white bread and sage dressing. And then I added curry.

Maybe that's when they began to notice I wasn't exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Pilgrim-esque kind of girl.

I'm not at all certain Husband #1 cared for it.

Husband #2 is a huge cornbread fan. And a curry fan.


Easy. Vegan. Acorn squash yum.
Easy. Vegan. Acorn squash yum.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

Recipe posted November 2008 by Karina Allrich.

Looking for an elegant winter side dish for the holidays? Shhh. I'll let you in on a secret. This is one of the easiest vegetable sides you could make. And it looks so pretty on the plate. Pick deep green same-sized acorn squash.


Half a medium acorn squash per person
Olive oil
Maple syrup
Sea salt
Vegan buttery spread


Crank the oven to 400ºF.

Carefully slice the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Clean out the seeds with a spoon. Place the squash in a broiler or roasting pan. If any of the squash is tippy, slice a thin piece off the bottom to make it sit still.

Pour some water into the pan- you'll need a good inch or two (this helps keep the squash from scorching/sticking to the pan).

Drizzle the squash with fruity olive oil and some pure maple syrup until it collects in the hollow. Season with sea salt. Add a pat of vegan butter in the middle.

Place the pan into the preheated oven.

Roast the squash until it is fork tender. Easy, right? And delicious.

Serve as is.


Pour off the maple syrup into a measuring cup and save it. Stuff the squash with my cornbread dressing; pour the maple syrup on top and re-bake it till heated through (my Cornbread Stuffing with Curried Apple & Cranberries follows). Voila! A vegan holiday entree.

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Stuffed acorn squash with gluten free cornbread stuffing- vegan
Cornbread stuffed squash makes a lovely vegan dish for Thanksgiving.

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing Recipe with Curried Apples and Cranberries

Recipe posted November 2008 by Karina Allrich.

If you're not a fan of cornbread or need to be corn-free, don't fret. This recipe works with any rustic textured gluten-free bread, cubed and lightly toasted. I've made this recipe vegan- without eggs or dairy- but if you prefer a more traditional recipe, see omnivore-friendly notes below.


1 pan of gluten-free cornbread (or a dozen corn muffins)*
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste- or use melted vegan butter, if you prefer
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced sweet or purple onion
2 large crisp apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
1-2 teaspoons mild gluten-free curry powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh chopped cranberries (or dried)
1 cup light GF vegetable broth- more, as needed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


Start by making a pan of your favorite gluten-free vegan cornbread. Here's one of my recipes for a delicious cornbread (you can leave out the green chiles in this recipe, if you like; or keep them in for an unexpected New Mexican flavor spike). Plan on making an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cornbread two to three days ahead; cut it up into 5 or 6 squares and freeze. You could also make corn muffins, if you prefer.

Before making your stuffing, allow the cornbread to thaw a little bit. Cut the squares into cubes before it's totally defrosted. This makes for easier slicing and it will crumble much less.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Toast the cornbread cubes on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on them so they don't get too browned. When they're nicely toasted remove the baking sheet from the oven, set aside and allow the cubes to cool.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep skillet, stir in the thyme, curry and cinnamon; add the celery, onion and apples; cook until softened. Remove the skillet from the burner and set aside to cool a bit.

Add in the chopped cranberries.

Stir in the toasted cornbread. Mix well. Add a little more olive oil, and the broth, pouring in a little at a time and gently stirring to combine. Add the maple syrup. Stir. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Some folks like a very soft dressing- if you are one of these, feel free to add more broth.

  • Use for stuffing roasted acorn squash (see above for roasting squash).
  • Dear Reader, if you happen to be a turkey loving omnivore- grab your spoon and stuff away.
  • Or bake the stuffing as a side dish in a casserole.

For the casserole- spoon the stuffing into a baking dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees F till heated through- about 20 to 25 minutes (note: it will take a bit longer to heat through if you made the stuffing ahead of time and chilled it).

Serve as a side dish for vegetarian fare.

How many will it feed? Depending upon the size of your squash- and appetites- 6 to 8. Recipe can be doubled.

GFG Notes:

My favorite gluten-free cornbread* recipe is here.
My reason for the curry? Gluten-free mild curry powder is often my secret ingredient and adds a mysterious little something extra to traditional recipes. Before you decide to leave it out, try it. You just might start making it your secret ingredient.

Agave lovers- if you prefer the taste of agave, use agave instead of the maple syrup. I happen to like the maple taste, but if you don't (or you need to keep maple off the menu) use agave or omit. Non-vegans could also use honey.

Omnivores- if you'd like a more traditional approach to this recipe, use melted butter instead of the olive oil, use chicken broth, and add a beaten organic egg to the stuffing when you add in the broth.

Wonderful with roast chicken, duck, ham, or turkey.

This stuffing is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and shellfish-free. Gotta love that.

Recipe Source:

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More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes:

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  1. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I was thinking of something like this earlier today watching the food network's Thanksgiving specials. PERFECT, thank you!!! :)

  2. What an exciting and different stuffing! I love it - and may just get to make it if all the family glitches allow T'giving to actually happen. Great spices! Thanks so much!

  3. How different! I love it. I was drooling at the maple acorn squash *sigh*... I might have to go to the market again. YUMMY! This is PERFECT - Thanks!

  4. The cornbread stuffing is exactly what I've been looking for -- something that stands on its own without a turkey to surround it!

  5. This looks wonderful! I'm a big fan of acorn squash. As a matter of fact, I just posted a recipe for a maple roasted acorn squash about 15 minutes ago. Lol! Great minds think alike!

  6. This looks *amazing*. As have been on a thanksgiving food kick, I am going to make this recipe this week. I happen to have a batch of your sweet potato cornbread baking as we speak--will freeze half in anticipation of maple roasted acorn squash and cornbread stuffing with curried apple & cranberries. Woo!

  7. Just completely fabulous! I love the idea of adding a tiny touch of curry too.

  8. Nostalgic recipes are always the best - love the recipes, as always!!

  9. Got to love the maple syrup, one of the best ingredients ever!! I just posted my maple syrup using recipe too...this time of year cries out for it I guess!!

    These look yummy, I love squash, funny how I never put maple syrup on it though....

  10. Michelle19:42

    Sounds delicious. One you think this stuffing would work if I made it a day ahead? If so, should I just refrigerate it and then bake it the "day of"?

  11. That looks absolutely fantastically stunningly delicious. :)

  12. Karina these look delicious! This will be my first Thanksgiving outside the US in a while and looking at the post is making me sad... I may just have to go all out and cook up a Thanksgiving feast on this side of the pond (using the above recipe, of course) :)

    Your recipes are always fabulous, thank you so much for sharing them :)

  13. This is the ultimate fall recipe, Karina. Maple syrup, squash, apples, and cranberries all in one dish? Oh, my.

  14. Looks simply delicious. I love curry, I love maple syrup - the two together sound heavenly!

    BTW, I received the gift card today - thank you again!!

  15. What a fabulous recipe - can't wait to try this! The idea of curry, maple syrup, apples, squash...and cornbread, all fantastic things. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in London, but who needs an excuse to cook such delectable food? Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  16. Wow.. that looks so nice and sounds amazing. Love your recipes.

  17. Thanks for adding some link love too. I hope you and your family have a beautiful Thanksgiving.

  18. Karina, I just discovered your blog and I am ridiculously thankful I did! I have suffered from debilitating migraines for over a year and was just diagnosed this week with allergies to wheat, soy, dairy, beef, and a few others. I've been feeling like my world has been turned upside down and seeing that there really is a way to eat well and enjoy food with food allergies is a blessing. Thank you!

  19. Just what I was looking for! Can't wait to try this one out, Karina!

  20. Thanks everyone! xox

    As for making this recipe a day ahead. The texture would be mushy if you made the whole stuffing recipe ahead of time.

    For best texture I would make the cornbread a day or two ahead of time; slice, wrap and freeze it; cut into cubes the day of- while it is still cold- and toast on a bread sheet. And then I would assemble it the day of.


  21. Can't wait to see what you whip up in your new kitchen!

  22. Oh my, I love the idea of stuffing the squash with the stuffing! Or just eating the stuffing...heck, I love all of it! Yum!

  23. Acorn squash is my favorite fall option and I'll eat endless amounts of it. These are some great recipes, especially the corn bread. I have 5 acorn squashes sitting on my kitchen counter right now awaiting to be cooked, may have to try your recipes out.

    Thanks Karina!

    Bill M.

  24. Curry is my favorite secret ingredient too! LOVE it! Have you tried McCormick Red Curry? I picked it accidentally once and have been hooked every since! It's not true curry powder, but it is absolutely delicious! Yum!

  25. Anonymous19:02

    Hi Karina,

    I was wondering if, in general, coconut milk could be substituted in this recipe or the other lovely recipes that use coconut milk. I unfortunately have a coconut sensitivity, especially when it comes to the milk.

    Thank you!

  26. SeattleD17:19

    Karina, I made the Maple Roasted Acorn Squash last night as a practice run. My GF son and his GF lady friend are coming for Thanksgiving and I wanted to have something delicious to serve. I shared it with neighbors and friends (who are not GF) and they LOVED it! It will definitely be on the menu come T-day. Thanks for the "yumminess"!

  27. Lovely stuff, Karina, and being a northern dweller, maple syrup has been a key ingredient in my kitchen for many years (tucked into everything from gluten-free scones to BBQ sauce).

    We(the Lanark Highlands that is) make some of the best maple syrup around. Maple syrup and roast squash is a marriage made in heaven and a long time favorite.

  28. Anonymous08:29

    I made this dish for dinner last night (Thanksgiving 2009) - what a hit. Everyone loved the cornbread gluten-free stuffing better than the regular stuffing. The presentation with the acorn squash was great. Favorite ingredients - maple syrup and curry. Thanks!

  29. Anonymous17:06

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes!

    How many cups of bread cubes does this recipe use?

    :-) Angie

  30. Thanks, everyone- for your kind comments. Love back atcha. xox

    Angie- As for cups... I didn't measure by cups. As I mentioned in the recipe, I baked an 8-inch cornbread (round or square pan will work) and cut it up. That's roughly eight servings- give or take.


  31. Anke03:47

    This looks gorgeous, makes me want to dig right into it :-)

    But: FRESH cranberries? Without cooking them first? Or did you mean dried? Or am I missing something here?

  32. I love the maple syrup and pinch of curry, great idea. Yumm...

  33. The squash looks great! I loove MAPLE.

  34. I adore your recipes, gorgeous photography and the way you write. I'm inspired every time I visit this blog. I made your Quinoa Breakfast Brownies and they were a huge hit - even among the non GF and those hesitant about eating a grain they couldn't pronounce. :)

  35. Let me tell you, this was absolutely amazing!! Made this stuffing for my vegan and gluten free Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and this was a hit! Favorite from everyone with proof from the lack of leftovers. I'm thinking of making another batch tomorrow to have at the house just for myself!

  36. Anonymous18:36

    Is there a particular brand of gluten free curry powder that you use? Also, how would I tell if its mild (or should I be looking for garam masala?) I would hate to make this dish only to make myself sick from the curry powder!

  37. Anonymous21:59

    Awesome dish!!! Everyone loved it, including myself!

  38. Do you know about how many cups of cornbread stuffing you need for this?

  39. Thank you, Everyone! Smooches. xox

    As for curry- many are gluten-free- check for wheat on the label- and call the spice company. use mild curry if you don't want it too hot.

    This recipe calls for one 8-inch pan of cornbread. I imagine that might be roughly 4 cups?

  40. Hi Karina, Thanks for your blog, so inspirational. I made a gluten-free spinach, stilton and thyme pie yesterday with a walnut crust and the pastry worked well. Unfortunately, it got eaten so quickly I have no photo evidence of it!

  41. I've made maple glazed/roasted acorn squash before and LOVED it. But similar to you, my husband did not seem to. I've never gone to the trouble of making it since... hmmm.

    He is, however, a BIG fan of both curry and cornbread, as well!

    This dish is pretested in multiple dimensions in my book and I can't wait to take maple acorn for another spin! With confidence!

    Thanks, Karina! : )


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