Vegetarian Stuffing

$7.54 recipe / $0.94 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.94 from 15 votes
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Stuffing, or “dressing” if you live in the south, is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner. But usually it’s made with the rich drippings from the roasted turkey, which means it’s off limits for vegetarians. But worry not! We’ve crafted a Vegetarian Stuffing recipe that is every bit as flavorful with its toasty cubes of bread, colorful vegetables, an aromatic blend of herbs, and a rich vegetable broth. This vegetarian stuffing is absolutely to die for and might just become your new staple Thanksgiving dinner recipe!

Overhead view of a casserole dish full of vegetarian stuffing.

See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Stuffing

Here’s all you’ll need to make an incredibly flavorful homemade vegetarian stuffing:

  • Vegetables: Vegetables add flavor, color, and texture to this stuffing. We use a mix of mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic for this stuffing recipe.
  • Butter: Butter keeps the stuffing deliciously rich and moist.
  • Herbs: Savory herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, and pepper give this vegetarian stuffing a cozy flavor.
  • French bread: A crusty loaf of French bread provides body to the stuffing and a vehicle for all of that delicious flavor to soak into.
  • Broth: Broth helps the flavors permeate throughout the stuffing and softens the bread into the moist and rich stuffing texture.

Vegan Stuffing Instructions

This vegetarian stuffing can be easily made into a vegan stuffing Simply substitute the butter in this recipe for a store-bought vegan butter and you’re good to go!

Stuffing Flavor Variations

The best part about this vegetarian stuffing is that it is versatile. You can add so many different ingredients to change the flavor. Here are a few fun flavor variation ideas:

  • Try adding diced apples, cranberries, or butternut squash to the mix of vegetables.
  • Swap out the French bread for something like day-old cornbread, croissants, or brioche.
  • Use a different flavor broth. Try a vegetarian “chicken” flavor, mushroom broth, or even a miso broth.
  • Try adding different herbs and spices like, poultry seasoning, turmeric, Cajun seasoning, or even curry powder.

Make Ahead Instructions

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can get pretty hectic, so I always try to do as much prep ahead of time as possible. You can prep this Vegetarian Stuffing up to two days in advance. Simply prepare the recipe below but stop after combining the sautéed vegetables and bread. Refrigerate the bread and vegetable mixture until the day of. Before baking, add the broth and stir well to combine. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and bake as usual.

Overhead view of vegetarian stuffing in the casserole dish with a wooden spoon.
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Vegetarian Stuffing

4.94 from 15 votes
This Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is full of toasty bread cubes, colorful vegetables, flavorful herbs, and a rich vegetable broth.
Overhead view of vegetarian stuffing in the casserole dish with a wooden spoon.
Servings 8 1 cup each
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 5 minutes
Total 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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.

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Notes

*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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 316.41kcalCarbohydrates: 38.33gProtein: 8.89gFat: 14.41gSodium: 710.19mgFiber: 3.55g
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Overhead view of a bowl full of vegetarian stuffing with a fork on the side.

Seriously though, I need to make this year-round. This stuff is too good to save for Thanksgiving!

How to Make Homemade Vegetarian Stuffing – Step by Step Photos

Fresh Vegetables for the Stuffing on a cutting board

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.

Browned Mushrooms in a large soup pot

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.

Sweat Onions and Herbs with mushrooms in the pot

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.

Sauté Celery and Carrots in the pot with the mushrooms and onions

Add the diced celery and sauté a few minutes more, then add the shredded carrots and sauté for just a couple minutes more.

Toast Walnuts in a dry skillet

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.

Add More Butter and Walnuts to the pot with the vegetables

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.

Dry Out Bread by toasting slices in the oven on a baking sheet

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.

Add Bread Cubes to the pot with the vegetables and walnuts

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 Broth to the pot with bread, vegetables, and walnuts

Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth to the pot, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well each time before adding more (I use Better Than Bouillon). 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.

Stuffing in the casserole dish, Ready to Bake

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.

Close up side view of a ceramic casserole dish full of vegetarian stuffing.

Garnish the homemade Vegetarian Stuffing with any remaining chopped parsley just before serving. This recipe makes about 8 cups of stuffing.

Aaaand I’m probably going to end up eating this Savory Vegetarian Stuffing all myself. #oops

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Comments

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  1. I agree with you Beth, and yet, I am a born and raised Southerner! Stuffing is rice from my New Orleans Grandmother’s recipe. Dressing? You put that on your salad! LOL!!!

  2. I used corn bread instead of French bread or any other kind of bread. Corn bread adds a slight sweet taste. and because so many people in my family are allergic to nuts, I had to leave out all the nuts-no matter it was still amazing.

  3. Can I prepare this recipe a day or two ahead of time and then bake before serving?

    1. I would make the veggie mix and, day of, add the bread and bake. You can also try adding the bread and prepping it in a casserole dish and then baking it the day of. I’m unsure how much the bread would deteriorate in a day or two. But if it’s just overnight, it should hold up. XOXO -Monti

    1. You can try it, but the texture will change when you thaw it. I recommend making the veggie mix and freezing that. Thaw it, and then day of add the bread and bake. Or you can add the bread and plate it the night before, refrigerate it, and then bake the day of. But the bread will change in texture dramatically if left in the mix for too long. XOXO -Monti

  4. I just made this and it is so yummy ! my son and his family are vegetarian so this works for all !

  5. Oh my goodness – great recipe! I prefer more defined bread pieces in my stuffing so I opted for baguette style sourdough for texture and flavor. Used Better than Bouillon Mushroom base for the broth and a post bake gravy. This was our main course so I doubled the recipe and added extra walnuts. Both the 9 x 13 and the 8 x 11 dish were scraped clean before the night was up (we’ve got four teenagers at home). This is our new base stuffing recipe and I look forward to using it for various dishes. Effort involved? Yes. Delicious? Yes! 

  6. I made this to accompany Easter dinner. I wanted the vegetarian section of the family to be able to eat it. We were fighting over the stuffing before it even made it into the oven. It’s delicious. 

  7. Can’t wait to make this next week! I was thinking of adding vegetarian sausage. I will probably sauté the sausage before adding it in right before it goes in the oven. Do you think I need to add more liquid if I do this and do you this would work?

    1. Nope, you shouldn’t need to add any extra liquid if you add sausage, as the sausage won’t absorb any moisture. :)