Thanksgiving Meatless Monday: Masa Cornbread and Chili Pepper Stuffing Recipe

Living in a bi-cultural Mexican-American household, my Thanksgiving is full of Latino flavors. This masa cornbread and chili pepper stuffing recipe adds a spicy twist to a traditional favorite.

Although my  husband grew up in México, the influence of his American grandpa meant that his familia celebrated Thanksgiving south-of-the-border every year. They regularly integrate Hispanic flavors into the traditional meal by adapting American recetas and serving traditional Hispanic dishes alongside Thanksgiving classics. Now we continue the tradition in our home.

This recipe uses masa cornbread and spicy chilis for a healthy, meatless, Latino-style stuffing.


Masa Cornbread and Chili Pepper Stuffing Recipe

Masa Cornbread Ingredientes

  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cups milk or soy milk
  • 2 eggs (cooking vegan? substitute ½ cup applesauce and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together masa, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, milk, and eggs until smooth, then stir mixture into dry ingredients until evenly blended.
  4. Transfer batter to a 13 x 9 x 2-inch greased  pan.
  5. Bake cornbread for 15-20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Stuffing Ingredientes

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Anaheim chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 fresh poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 large fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 13 x 9-inch loaf masa cornbread , crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 ½  cup vegetable broth


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add all chilis and saute 15 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin.
  3. Transfer vegetable mixture to a medium bowl and stir in fresh cilantro.
  4. Place cornbread pieces in very large bowl and gently fold in vegetable mixture. Pour broth over stuffing and toss gently. Transfer to greased 15 x 10 x 2- inch baking dish.
  5. Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 30 minutes longer. Let cool, serve, and enjoy!


I love the spicy kick to this stuffing! Not only is this dish delicioso, it’s a healthy choice. Sweet and hot peppers are packed with vitamins and carotenoids which can help your body fight various forms of cancer. Using low fat milk or soy milk in the cornbread and sauteing veggies in olive oil instead of butter keeps this dish low in fat and calories. You’ll want seconds of this side!

Need more Latin flavor on your table? Try these great tips:

5 Ways to Add Latino Sabor to Thanksgiving

  1. Serve popular Latino sides rice, beans, and salsa: My good amiga from Nicaragua always serves rice on her Thanksgiving table and my husband’s familia includes frijoles charros, a Mexican holiday favorite. Salsa goes great with everything; I share my mother-in-law’s recipe in Meatless Monday: My Suegra’s Homemade Summer Salsa.
  2. Tamales are a must: Made with corn flour, filling and delicious tamales fit right in with fall flavors.
  3. Mash yuca instead of potatoes: Bring South America to the table with this root plant native to the Andes. I share a sabroso recipe in Bolivian Independence Day Meatless Monday: Garlic Mashed Yuca Recipe.
  4. Keep plenty of tortillas on hand: My esposo loves day-after-Thanksgiving turkey tacos.
  5. Flan for dessert: Replace the pumpkin pie with pumpkin flan--or serve both! The Wise Latina Club’s Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D. shares a delicious pumpkin flan recipe here

Hispanics make up 17% of the population in America, and that number is projected to increase to 31% by 2060. Experiment this year by inviting a "new guest" to your Thanksgiving meal--a Latino recipe to compliment your traditional dishes.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for culture, traditions, and good food which bring families and friends together all year.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Any Latino recipes at your Thanksgiving feast?