It took me a couple of Thanksgivings to perfect this recipe. Take time to adjust the flavorings to suit your family. This recipe is for one 10”×13”×2” casserole dish of dressing. To double the recipe, use two individual dishes since mixing a large batch tends to make the dressing mushy, losing the fluffy texture the dressing should have after cooking. You can cook the cornbread and crumble it the day before you plan to use it to save time the next day. Day-old cornbread also becomes dryer and coarser in texture which adds to the dressing. Plan on preparing one recipe of cornbread per baking dish of dressing.
Serve with Vegetable Gravy. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly oiled 10”×13” baking dish or pan. In a medium-sized skillet, warm oil on medium heat. Sauté celery and onions until tender crisp. Remove from heat. Set aside. Mix cornbread, crumbled bread and crumbled saltines in a large bowl. Add bread mixture to oiled baking dish. Pour the celery and onion mixture, along with the oil, over the cornbread mixture. Toss in 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon of sage, salt and pepper. Pour 1 cup of the vegetable broth and stir ingredients together with a fork, but do not over- stir. A light fluffy texture is desired, not a mushy or densely packed one, so remaining broth should be added one tablespoon at a time to avoid over- saturating the dressing. Taste as you go to make certain you have enough salt, sage, and poultry seasoning to meet your taste requirements. Let dressing rest for a few minutes then taste again. When you are satisfied with the taste and consistency, slightly even out the dressing in the pan but do not pack it down, keep it fluffy, then dab four or five small chunks of vegan butter around on the top which will give a golden crunch to the top of the dressing. Cover and place in oven for 25 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Apple cider vinegar is milder and sweeter than most vinegar. Good cider vinegar is slightly cloudy, like fresh cider and has a fruity, apple flavor.
When you know you are going to make dressing the next day, cut up and refrigerate onions and celery in plastic bags, bake the cornbread, and dry out the fresh bread in a covered bowl on the counter the day before. It is far less stressful to have everything ready to go.