Okay, one last Thanksgiving post before the big day! I couldn’t let this year get away from me without making some stuffing (yeah, my yankee blood still calls it “stuffing” and not “dressing” like the rest of the south). One of the things that makes stuffing so delicious are the meat drippings that get soaked up into the bread. Knowing that, I decided to challenge myself and make a vegetarian stuffing that was still stuff-your-face good. Because there is always at least one vegetarian at every Thanksgiving gathering and I like to be inclusive when possible. I named this one “Savory Vegetable Stuffing” because it doesn’t have any of the usual sweet notes, like apples or dried cranberries, and it’s chock-full of colorful vegetables.
I admit this dish is a little labor intensive, but it’s oh so worth the effort. If you’re making an entire Thanksgiving meal yourself, this might be too time consuming. But say you were tasked with bringing one dish this year and you have all the time in the world to put towards crafting one superb dish. This is that dish. 👌 You can even do most of the prep at home and then do the final bake once you get to your gathering (providing there is room in the oven, anyway).
So let’s do this.
Savory Vegetable Stuffing
Savory Vegetable Stuffing
- 8 oz mushrooms $1.99
- 4 stalks celery $0.75
- 3 carrots $0.22
- 1 yellow onion $0.25
- 4 cloves garlic $0.32
- 1/4 bunch parsley $0.20
- 6 Tbsp salted butter, divided $0.66
- 1 tsp dried sage $0.10
- 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.02
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts $1.38
- 1 large loaf French bread (stale*) $1.29
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth $0.21
Begin by preparing the vegetables. Wash and slice the mushrooms, wash and dice the celery, peel and shred the carrots (use a large-holed cheese grater), dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the parsley.
Add 3 Tbsp of the butter to a large pot along with the sliced mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released all of their moisture and have begun to caramelize and brown on the edges (about 5-7 minutes).
Add the garlic, onion, sage, thyme, some freshly cracked pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt to the pot. Continue to sauté the onions are soft and transparent (about 3-5 minutes), add the celery and continue to sauté for a few minutes more. Finally, add the shredded carrots and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes, or just until the carrots begin to soften.
While sautéing the vegetables, add the chopped walnuts to a dry skillet. Cook and stir the walnut pieces over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or just until they begin to give off a nutty aroma. Remove them from the heat immediately.
Finally, add the toasted walnuts, the remaining 3 Tbsp butter, and a handful of fresh parsley to the pot. Stir until the butter has fully melted. Taste the vegetable mixture and add a touch more salt if needed. It should be well seasoned.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the stale bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the cubes to the pot with the sautéed vegetables and herbs. Stir well to coat the bread in the butter. Finally, pour in the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well each time before adding more. The bread will not be completely saturated, but will absorb more moisture as the stuffing bakes.
Coat the inside of a 3-quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add the stuffing mixture to the casserole dish, spread it out evenly, and compress it down slightly. Cover the dish with foil. Bake the stuffing in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Garnish with any remaining chopped parsley just before serving.
*I suggest buying the loaf of French bread 1-2 days prior to making this recipe so that it can become fully stale. If it is not stale before beginning the recipe, you can slice the bread, place it on a baking sheet, and put it in the oven as the oven preheats.
Step by Step Photos
Start by prepping all of your vegetables (unless you’re a skilled multi-tasker, then you can prep them item by item as you add them to the pot to sauté). Dice one yellow onion, mince 4 cloves garlic, finely dice 4 stalks celery, shred 2 carrots using a large-holed cheese grater, slice 8oz. mushrooms, and roughly chop 1/4 bunch parsley.
Add 3 Tbsp butter and the sliced mushrooms to a large pot. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released all their moisture and the edges begin to brown and caramelize.
Add the minced garlic, diced onion, 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper and about 1/4 tsp salt to the pot. Continue to sauté until the onions are mostly soft and transparent.
Add the diced celery and sauté a few minutes more, then add the shredded carrots and sauté for just a couple minutes more.
While the vegetables are sautéing, toast 1/2 cup walnut pieces in a dry skillet. Stir and cook them over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or just until you start to smell a very nutty aroma. Remove them from the heat right away to prevent them from burning.
Finally, stir the remaining 3 Tbsp butter, the toasted walnuts, and a handful of the chopped parsley into the pot with the vegetables until the butter has melted. Taste the vegetable mixture and add more salt if needed. It should be well seasoned. Turn the heat off under the pot and begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF.
If your bread is not fully stale (as mine was not), you can slice the bread, place it on a baking sheet, and put it in the oven as the oven preheats. Let the bread cool before you cut it into cubes (more moisture evaporates as it cools). I used one large French loaf for this recipe, which yielded about 10 cups bread cubes. Cut the cubes into 1/2-inch cubes.
Stir the bread cubes into the pot with the vegetables, butter, and herbs. Stir well so that the bread absorbs some of that yummy butter.
Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth to the pot, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well each time before adding more. The bread cubes may break down and crumble a bit as you stir, but that’s okay. The bread will not be fully saturated after all the broth is added. It will absorb even more moisture as it bakes.
Coat the inside of a 3-quart casserole dish (about a 9×13-inch) with non-stick spray, then pour the stuffing mixture into the dish. Spread it out evenly, then pat it down slightly. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
Garnish with any remaining chopped parsley just before serving. This recipe makes about 8 cups of Savory Vegetable Stuffing.
Aaaand I’m probably going to end up eating this all myself. #oops