Gluten-Free and Paleo/AIP Holiday Stuffing Recipes

By Natalie R. Toney M.F.A, C.H., Healthy Planet Food Editor

What is a holiday meal without a savory dressing or stuffing to compliment the main course and delectable sides? For those who suffer from gluten intolerance, Celiac, Crohn’s, other autoimmune conditions, and dietary considerations, it’s often been par for the course. Here, I offer two gluten-free variations, including a roasted cauliflower bake for those following a Paleo/AIP protocol that is just as flavorful and reminiscent of traditional stuffing. (If you have mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes this year and worry the table might be cauliflower laden, don’t fret-try mashed plantains for a delicious alternative!). The Gluten-Free Bread Dressing, and Roasted Cauliflower Stuffing, are infused with saporous herbs and ingredients rich with the warmth and comfort of the holiday season, yet they can be enjoyed with a meal any time of year!

Tips: Use a food processor to cut your veggies! Pre-tear bread the day before to save time and better consistency. For non-vegetarians/vegans, using chicken broth instead of vegetable broth and adding a bit of melted butter will add more flavor. (Butter really does make it better in this case.) Some chicken broths are not gluten-free; check the label! When adding whisked eggs and stock, it is best to add a little, then stir a bit, add a little more, stir gently, and so on to avoid over-saturating one area or the whole mixture. If cooking a turkey, do not use “cauliflower” as stuffing inside; it will likely become a mess. The GF bread should hold up fine as a true “stuffing” yet is optimally cooked separately as a “dressing“ (I am using the terms “stuffing” and “dressing” interchangeably for both recipes, however).

Gluten Free Herb Stuffing/Dressing (Loaf Bread and/or Cornbread)

  • 1 loaf (approx.14 slices) gluten-free bread toasted — cut or torn into large cubes (if making homemade gluten-free bread, leave loaf out overnight first) 
  • 1 med-lg. yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Cups celery (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 eggs or dairy-free egg equivalent
  • 1/4 cup butter or dairy-free butter 
  • 1 1/2 Cup Veggie broth (for a little drier, reduce to 3/4-1 C.)
  • 1 tsp Kosher or Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 2 tsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  •   2 tsp dried parsley
  • Fresh parsley optional
  • Avocado or Olive oil to grease the casserole dish

*For cornbread stuffing, you can make homemade gluten-free cornbread a couple of days ahead of time and let it dry overnight, (if not dry enough, lightly toast it on a baking sheet, then cut it into 1” cubes to have ready-make stuffing/dressing day of). Add 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch to vegetable stock and whisk together to keep cornbread from becoming mushy. You can also do half gluten-free cornbread, half gluten-free white bread stuffing combination for the best of both worlds and a fun, flavorful twist! If doing so, be sure to keep cornstarch in the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat butter or dairy-free substitute in a large pan over med-high heat, and cook in the onion, celery, and garlic while frequently stirring until tender and golden (about 5-8 min). Mix poultry seasoning, dried thyme, parsley, ground sage, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Pour whisked eggs and seasonings over bread pieces in a large bowl and stir until well coated. Pour vegetable broth over the bread mixture and gently stir again. Add celery, onions, garlic, and butter while gently stirring again. Additional ingredients include apples, dried cranberries (careful of sunflower oil), pecans, cashews, walnuts, figs, mushrooms, shredded carrots/ zucchini, or any other favorites can be delicately mixed in at this time. Pour stuffing into a well-greased casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan. Let sit for about 10 min. Bake for approx. 45 min. on the middle rack, checking at 20 min as ovens vary (30 min covered, remaining 15min uncovered or until well browned). Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

This yields approximately 8 servings.

Roasted Cauliflower Stuffing

  • 1 head cauliflower (large) – Cut into small-med florets (the larger the pieces, the crispier the dressing will be)
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup celery chopped thinly
  • 1 med. yellow onion
  • 1 tsp. Kosher or Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black pepper 
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. Poultry seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. rosemary 
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • Butter or dairy-free butter substitute for sauté.
  • Avocado oil or Olive oil to toss veggies in, and grease pan with.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating, lightly sauté onions and celery in butter or butter substitute in a pan until just tender and barely golden. Remove from heat. Combine cauliflower, onion, and celery with the remaining butter from the sauté pan; combine garlic and vegetable broth in a large bowl and stir. Toss with seasonings, salt, pepper, and chosen oil until well and evenly coated.

Line a shallow 1” baking pan with foil or parchment paper or heavily grease with oil. Spread the contents of the bowl in a single layer in the pan. Roast uncovered, on the middle rack, for about 15 min (check at 10 min-ovens vary) until cauliflower is starting to brown. Give a quick stir and add ingredients such as pecans, walnuts, cashews, figs, shredded carrots and/or zucchini, mushrooms, dried cranberries (be careful of sunflower oil!), chopped apples, or simply let the cauliflower be the star of the show! Roast another 10 minutes or so, until the onions caramelize and the cauliflower is well browned. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

Yields 8-10 servings.