With homemade croutons, celery, onion, carrots, and rosemary, my Vegetarian Stuffing is a plant-based version of a Thanksgiving Classic!
Stuffing is such a simple dish, yet it can be a very difficult Thanksgiving side to get right!
Too often, stuffing is either too dry, too wet, or under seasoned. My Classic Vegetarian Stuffing solves all these problems! This stuffing is perfectly seasoned, and the perfect texture. It’s a great combination of the traditional and untraditional—peas are definitely not a traditional stuffing ingredient, but I think they are a fabulous addition! I hope you’ll give my stuffing a try this Thanksgiving!
As there’s always a bit of wiggle room with a recipe like stuffing, here are a few of my tips to make this the perfect stuffing for your Thanksgiving table:
1. Use a Good, Sturdy Bread
A common mistake with homemade stuffing is using a soft bread. Don’t do it!!!! You need to use a bread that is sturdy and crusty enough to hold up once it’s covered in vegetable broth and veggie juices.
My recommended breads for the perfect stuffing are ciabatta, basically any crusty baguette, even sourdough from your grocery store bakery is excellent! My personal favorite loaf for my stuffing is the Sperlonga Bread at Whole Foods. WOW this bread is amazing! I use it for so much more than stuffing, but it is particularly exceptional in this recipe. If you have a Whole Foods near you, I highly highly recommend using Sperlonga for your stuffing this Thanksgiving!
2. Toast the Bread First!
So you’ve chosen a nice, sturdy loaf of bread for the stuffing. Now help that bread retain even more flavor and texture by lightly toasting it before it’s covered in veggies and broth. It’s a simple step, but makes a world of difference! After cubing it, simply bake the bread for 5 minutes. That’s it! You’ve just made your bread the perfect vehicle for all those veggies, seasonings, and juices!
3. Season the Vegetarian Stuffing WELL!!!
I’m not just talking about salt and pepper, though both are crucial for bringing out the flavors in your stuffing. I’m talking about using herbs to compliment those stuffing veggies!
Rosemary and thyme are such a classic herb combination, and I think they are the perfect Thanksgiving flavors. So I use rosemary and thyme in my stuffing recipe. I basically always say that fresh herbs are better than dry herbs, if you can get them. Sometimes fresh herbs just aren’t available, and that’s when having a stock of good quality dry herbs is so important!
If you don’t have access to fresh rosemary and thyme, they’re too expensive, or you simply don’t feel like chopping up fresh herbs, here is my favorite dried rosemary [aff. link], and here is my favorite dried thyme on Amazon [aff. link].
Simply Organic is my absolute favorite brand for dried herbs. I’ve been using it for years and I’m never disappointed! The quality is amazing, and consistent in every jar. Give Simply Organic a try when you make this stuffing, or the next time you need some good dried rosemary or thyme in a recipe.
Enjoy Some Vegetarian Stuffing!
And those are my tips for amazing stuffing this Thanksgiving! I hope my Classic Vegetarian Stuffing is a hit at your Thanksgiving table this year!
What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal?
Classic Vegetarian Stuffing
For the veggies:
- 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into half moons
- 4 celery stocks, cut into half moons
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (or ½ tsp dried rosemary)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
For the bread:
- 10 cups sturdy bread, cut to about 1 inch cubes (ciabatta or a crusty baguette are good choices. My favorite is the "Sperlonga Bread" at Whole Foods.)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
Cook the veggies
- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter for 30 seconds (or unit the butter melts, if using). Add the carrots and ½ tsp salt. Cook over medium heat for 2 min, then turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Now add the celery and leek to the skillet, followed by an additional ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp olive oil. Toss it all together, then turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add the rosemary and thyme to the skillet, and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat. Veggies are done!
Prepare the bread
- While the veggies cook, cube the bread. Once cubed, spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. (This will lightly toast the bread so it can stand up to the vegetable broth and veggie juices when we mix them with the bread.)
Mix together the bread and veggies
- In a large mixing bowl, add half of the bread cubes, followed by half of the cooked veggies and ½ cup of the frozen peas. Toss a few times with your hands. Now add the remaining half of the bread cubes, followed by the remaining cooked veggies and peas. Sprinkle the last ½ tsp salt over the top. Toss again.
- Now slowly pour 1 cup vegetable broth over the bread/veggie mixture. With your hands and/or a spatula, carefully toss everything in the bowl together. Once the bread has soaked up the vegetable broth, pour the second cup of vegetable broth over the stuffing mixture. Toss again so the bread can soak up the second cup of vegetable broth.
- Once the bread has soaked up the majority of the vegetable broth, transfer the stuffing mixture to an oiled 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
Bake the stuffing
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.
- After 12 minutes, take the baking dish out of the oven. With your spatula, toss the stuffing so that bread cubes that were on the bottom of the baking dish are now on the top. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist about it, just do your best to give some other bread cubes a chance to be at the top of the baking dish.
- Now take the butter cubes and evenly distribute them on top of the stuffing. (Skip this step if keeping the stuffing vegan.)
- Place the stuffing back in the oven, and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Take the stuffing out of the oven. Flip once more and taste for texture. If you used a heartier bread like ciabatta, or if you prefer a softer stuffing, then you don’t need to cook the stuffing any longer, and your stuffing is done and ready to serve!
- If you used a softer bread, or if you prefer your stuffing to be a little crispier, then put it back in the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve this vegetarian stuffing with all your other favorite Thanksgiving sides. I love it with mashed potatoes!