A south Louisiana staple holiday dish, this gluten free Cajun crawfish cornbread dressing rivals its gluten-laden counterparts in terms of flavor, texture, and ‘oomph.’ A moist, gluten free skillet cornbread forms the base of the dressing. Then, the crawfish, veggies, and handful of Cajun seasonings inject each tender cornbread crumble with a distinctive flavor that sends your culinary soul straight down to the bayou. Yep and double yum…
When It’s Time to Be Thankful, It’s Time for Crawfish
Before it was cool to be a south Louisianian, people used to laugh at us for enjoying ‘mudbugs’ as a delicacy. Yep. In fact, I’ve had tourists in downtown New Orleans take pictures of me eating boiled crawfish on more than one occasion.
They photographed me not only because I was eating the crawfish, but because I can peel them ninja-quick. Seriously. I’ve known how to peel crawfish since before I could ride a bike. Maybe even before I could sing my ABC’s. And probably even before I could cross the neighborhood street by myself.
Crawfish boils are a big part of our culture, where tons of people crowd around (suddenly) little bitty picnic tables, and have a boiled crawfish eating free-for-all.
So, to get your fill of crawfish at a boil, you have to peel and eat them super quick. Otherwise, those who know how to peel crawfish quickly will beat you to the ones you’ve been eyeing on the table. And then you have to fill up on boiled potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and onions cause you were just too slow a crawfish peeler. Sorry…
But not for me. Nope. My family taught me how to peel and eat a crawfish almost lightning fast. Hence, the impromptu downtown NOLA tourist photography sessions, and life-long bragging rights…
Nowadays, TV shows such as ‘Swamp People‘ and ‘Duck Dynasty‘ have made it ‘cool’ to harvest and eat the fat of our land. So, I developed this gluten free Cajun cornbread dressing so anyone, anywhere could experience all this south Louisiana deliciousness for themselves.
To me, crawfish epitomizes south Louisiana culture. And this is not only where I live, but where it’s where my heart resides, also. So, this year I’m thankful for all the fat that this land has to give us. This includes crawfish, and how it helps you create a soul-warming gluten free Cajun crawfish cornbread dressing like a local.
First, We Make the Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread
A good Cajun crawfish cornbread dressing requires just the right gluten free cornbread. Although the stores carry some excellent gluten free cornbread mixes, I wanted to make sure that everyone that used my recipe would experience the same results. So, I whipped up a batch of my gluten free skillet cornbread, and let it cool. Then Mark and I stuffed BIG slices of it into our mouths, and I quickly saved the rest for the dressing:
Now We Make the Gluten Free Cajun Cornbread Dressing
While the skillet cornbread is cooling, cook down the ‘trinity’ of onions, green bell peppers, and onions. When the veggies start to sweat, add chopped mushrooms to the mix:
When that mixture cooks down a bit, add a little broth, and a hefty batch of dried south Louisiana seasonings, to the mixture:
Then, stir the crawfish and cornbread crumbles into the seasoning mixture. Finally, pour the crawfish cornbread dressing mixture into a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Then, bake for about one hour, or until the dish is cooked through and golden brown on top:
If you can hold out, let the finished gluten free Cajun crawfish dressing cool a bit before cutting into it. The wait keeps the whole thing moist, and helps you serve prettier pieces to your guests.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve been developing and tweaking this recipe for over 6 gluten free years now, and it’s really near and dear to my heart. I eat it roughly once to twice a year.
One because it reminds me of my late brother Brian, who boiled the best crawfish I’ve ever tasted. Since many of the boiled crawfish seasonings are also in the dressing, eating this gluten free Cajun crawfish cornbread dressing really reminds me of him. I love and miss you dear brother. You live on in my heart…
And two, cause it’s truly just too special to make a common, eat-at-anytime meal. Really, try it yourself…
I hope this gluten free version of authentic Cajun crawfish dressing warms your heart, your soul, and your tummy. Enjoy with the ones who appreciate your food-love the most, and see y’all on the yum side…
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- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4½ cups cornbread, crumbled
- 12 ounces frozen crawfish with fat, thawed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 3 tablespoons jarred pimentos with juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
- Brown the 'trinity' of onion, bell pepper, and celery in the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. When the 'trinity' begins to soften, add the mushrooms. Continue to cook down for about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients to saucepan, taking care to incorporate the crumbled cornbread, crawfish, broth, and seasonings throughout the mixture.
- Pour into greased skillet.
- Bake for 1 hour. Cover the skillet loosely with foil if the top of the gluten free Cajun cornbread dressing gets too dark while baking.
- Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.