There are a lot of things I love about Thanksgiving meals – the mashed potatoes, the roasted Brussels sprouts, the apple pie. But there are a few dishes I normally would rather pass on to the next person at the table. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally met a stuffing I actually liked and even wanted to try to replicate myself. Most vegetarian and vegan stuffing dishes I have tasted have been too dry, over-spiced and generally just have tasted like they have been an afterthought to the meal. Granted, there are a lot of people who love the same stuffing that I dislike, so no offense to them.
But I bet there are quite a few of you out there who claim you’ll never like stuffing. Maybe you won’t, but before you throw in the towel completely and say you’re done trying a bite of it at every holiday meal just to be nice, try this stuffing. It’s rich, the spices are prominent yet balanced, and the vegan meat gives it a heartiness that make this become an instant star of all the side dishes. Plus there’s a little bit of sweet added in by way of cranberries and apples. Did I mention I also don’t like cranberries? In this recipe, I like cranberries.
This lovely recipe came to me from a friend who veganized this recipe for us, her only guests who had vegan diets. Thank you N!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
3 3/4 cups white bread, cubed
1 pound vegetarian/vegan sausage, cut into pieces (frozen is fine) (I used one package of Tofurky Kielbasa)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegan butter
3/4 cup celery, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/4 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 tablespoons melted vegan butter
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced parsley
1-2 cups vegetable stock
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut your bread into cubes, and put them on baking sheets on a single layer. Bake in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.
(Note: You do not have to use two different breads. I used only a few slices of a sourdough loaf, which yielded about six cups of cubed bread.)
Gather the ingredients which you will be frying: the vegetarian or vegan sausage, onions, celery, sage, rosemary and thyme.
I chose to cut the Tofurky Kielbasa in half lengthwise, then the two pieces into half lengthwise again, then I chopped them into small pieces.
Chop your onions and celery into smallish pieces.
Fry the vegetarian or vegan sausage and onions in two tablespoons of butter over medium heat till evenly browned, occasionally stirring. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and cook for about two minutes, stirring to blend. Remove from heat.
Chop your apples and parsley, and measure out your cranberries. Make sure the cranberries are not clumped together. You want them to mix evenly throughout the stuffing.
I would recommend that you chop your apples into smaller pieces than I did – this will help the sweet flavor to more evenly distribute.
Place the toasted bread cubes in a large mixing bowl, then pour the vegetarian or vegan sausage mixture on top of the bread. Pour six tablespoons of melted vegan butter over the mixture, then add the apples, cranberries and parsley. Mix well.
Drizzle with about one cup of the broth until thoroughly moist but not soggy. Mix again. Transfer to a baking dish and allow to bake for about 20 minutes.
If you have added more bread cubes than the recipe calls for you may need to add a little more broth to the baking stuffing, however if you have followed the recipe exactly, I would recommend not adding more broth. I did this and wound up with soggy bread on the bottom of the dish.
This is a great stuffing and one I would heartily recommend for your vegetarian or vegan – or even omnivorous – Thanksgiving. And in case you prefer a more traditional stuffing, I’ve got you covered. Check out my post on vegan sausage stuffing with mushroom gravy. It’s still pretty good, but if I were you, I’d go with this one instead.
Samantha Mills blogs at Novel Eats.
To see the original post, with its instructional photographs, click here.
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