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The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe

This easy vegetarian stuffing recipe features all of the classic flavors of your favorite stuffing recipe, but in a vegetarian version everyone around your holiday dinner table will love.

Coming up on my first Thanksgiving after becoming a vegetarian, I remember fielding loads of questions about whether or not I’d eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

Honestly, I had to laugh! I mean, no guys, vegetarians don’t eat turkey. Besides, doesn’t everyone agree that the sides are the best part of the Thanksgiving feast anyway?!

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

Traditionally my mom always hosted Thanksgiving and because she’s awesome, she’d always makes sure I had plenty to eat, including adapting her incredible homemade stuffing recipe to suit my “please don’t pour melted turkey all over my stuffing” needs.

What has resulted after nearly 15 years of tweaking is this – the world’s best vegetarian stuffing recipe. It has all the requisite flavors of sage and celery, but you know, with none of the melted turkey bits.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

I assure you, this recipe is masterful and full of a mother’s careful attention to flavor. Luckily for all of us, she make careful notes the last time she made it so I can share it with all of you.

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, you will go crazy over this stuffing. Cross my heart.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

What Is in Vegetarian Stuffing?

To make this vegetarian stuffing recipe, you will need:

  • Vegetable stock – Make sure to use vegetable stock for this recipe, store bought or homemade. Using chicken, beef or any other meat-based stock will alter this recipe to no longer be vegetarian.
  • Melted butter – I prefer using salted butter, but unsalted will also work for this recipe.
  • Granny Smith apple – Granny Smith apple adds a touch of the sweet tartness that stuffing needs.
  • Celery – Celery is a classic stuffing ingredient so don’t skip it!
  • Onion – I generally use white, yellow or sweet onions. They’ll all work well.
  • Black pepper – Season the stuffing mixture well with your favorite black pepper.
  • Salt – I like using a coarse ground sea salt for this recipe, but any kosher salt or sea salt will do.
  • Celery seed – Boost the celery flavor with the addition of celery seed.
  • Ground sage – Sage is one of those traditional seasonings that adds so much to stuffing.
  • Poultry seasoning – The name is a bit misleading here as this is a seasoning blend that adds a bunch of flavor, but is actually vegetarian. 
  • Eggs – Eggs help to bind the stuffing mixture together and also provide moisture so it’s not too dried out.
  • Raisins – This can be an area of debate, but I think dried fruit like raisins add so much flavor to stuffing.
  • Dried cranberries – See above. Dried cranberries are seriously delicious in this stuffing recipe.
  • Bread – My mom has always used a mixture of whole wheat and Italian bread. It’s ok if it’s stale or a little dried out.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

How to Make Vegetarian Stuffing

If we’re being super technical, it’s a bit misleading to call this recipe “stuffing” since it’s never stuffed into anything but a baking dish or lidded casserole dish.

In other words, don’t stuff your bird with this stuffing or you’ve missed the whole point, ya know?

To that end, start by preheating your oven to 350° F and then prepare a large casserole dish by greasing it lightly with nonstick cooking spray. You can make this recipe work with whatever size dish you happen to have.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

Combine all ingredients except for the veggie stock and butter in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix well.

Once combined, pour the veggie stock and butter over top and use your hands to mix well again.

The resulting mixture will be very moist and somewhat sticky. That’s when you know it’s perfect!The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

Spoon it into your casserole dish and bake, covered, for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

When the stuffing is down it will be lightly golden brown on the top and around the edges.

If you don’t have a covered casserole dish, a glass baking dish covered with aluminum foil will also work. You may need to adjust baking times if your dish is more shallow.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

What Kind of Bread Do You Use for Vegetarian Stuffing?

At the end of the day, you can basically use whatever bread you can get your hands on, or whatever bread is going stale in your house to make this vegetarian stuffing recipe.

My mom always uses a combination of whole wheat and Italian breads, because she prefers the texture it gives the stuffing. You could also use sourdough or plain white sandwich bread.

This recipe calls for 1/2 loaf of sourdough bread and 1/2 loaf of whole wheat bread, referencing standard sandwich bread sized loaves.

When you rip it into chunks it should roughly equal about 6 cups very loosely packed. It’s ok if you have a bit more than that!

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

What Kind of Stock Do You Use in Vegetarian Stuffing?

You’ll need to use vegetable stock when making vegetarian stuffing in order to make it truly vegetarian. Many brands carry delicious veggie stocks that work great for stuffing.

My mom traditionally makes homemade vegetable stock that she then uses to make stuffing. I’ve included her recipe and notes below if you’d like to go that route.

Either way will be super delicious!

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

How to Make Homemade Vegetable Stock

To make homemade vegetable stock, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 large celery stalk plus 3 celery stalk tops
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 – 10 whole black peppercorns
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sage leaves
  • ½ gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon parsley

Steps for making homemade vegetable broth:

  1. Cut all of the veggies into large chunks and place in the bottom of a stock pot.
  2. Top with approximately ½ gallon of water.
  3. Add herbs and spices and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, simmering for 1 – 2 hours.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain off the herbs, spices and veggies, preserving the liquid.

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe | Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing recipes, entertaining tips, party ideas and more from @cydconverse

What to Serve with Homemade Vegetarian Stuffing

Here are a few more of my favorite vegetarian side dishes and desserts, all of which perfectly complement my mom’s vegetarian stuffing recipe: 

Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe

Vegetarian Stuffing

Vegetarian Stuffing

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This easy vegetarian stuffing recipe features all of the classic flavors of your favorite stuffing recipe, but in a vegetarian version everyone around your holiday dinner table will love.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons ground sage
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ loaf of whole wheat bread, torn into chunks
  • ½ loaf of Italian bread, torn into chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare a large casserole dish by greasing it lightly with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Combine all ingredients except for the veggie stock and butter in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix well.
  3. Once combined, pour the veggie stock and butter over top and use your hands to mix well again. The resulting mixture will be very moist and somewhat sticky.
  4. Spoon it into your casserole dish and bake, covered, for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes until lightly golden brown on the top and around the edges.

Notes

If you don’t have a covered casserole dish, a glass baking dish covered with aluminum foil will also work.

You may need to adjust baking times if your dish is more shallow.

`

[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Katie

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Can this be made ahead and baked later or will it be too soggy?

Cyd Converse

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hey Katie! I actually think it would be fine, but I’m prepping mine now and how I do it is to do all the chopping of the veggies in bread the night before and then store them in ziploc bags overnight. Then tomorrow I’ll add the veggie stock and eggs, mix it all together and bake. I hope this helps!

Beth

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

This looks so delicious and perfect for my family! I can't wait to make this tomorrow! So excited!

Cyd Converse

Friday 27th of November 2020

Thanks so much, Beth! Happy Thanksgiving!

wilhelmina

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

I agree, sides are totally the best part of the meal! This stuffing is amazing!

Cyd Converse

Friday 27th of November 2020

The very best! Thanks, Wilhelmina!

Liz

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hello! I am planning to make this stuffing this week for Thanksgiving. My first time ever making stuffing! Curious if you have a measurement for the bread pieces, either by weight or even cups. I am finding that Italian and wheat can come in all shapes and I want to make sure I use the correct amount. Would also take any tips to make this in advance or earlier in the day. Thanks!

Cyd Converse

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hey Liz! Thanks so much for your question - this post is a few years old so I actually just went back and updated it with clearer instructions and more details. I hope this helps! The loaves referenced would be standard sandwich bread sized loaves. You'll want roughly 6 (or slightly more) cups when loosely packed.

Olivia Laos

Friday 20th of November 2020

How many people does this stuffing serve?

Cyd Converse

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hi Olivia! Thank you for your question. Since this post is a few years old I actually went back and updated it and reformatted it with more information and details. I hope that helps! It should serve 6 to 8 depending on how large of a serving your crowd prefers.