Our classic vegan stuffing is based on the recipe I grew up with and never stopped craving — updated tastefully for modern holidays. This stuffing goes perfectly with a Thanksgiving turkey, if you're into that sort of thing. And if not, it's savory and satisfying on its own. Don't forget to complete the vegetarian Thanksgiving trifecta with The Best Vegetarian Gravy and Perfect Mashed Potatoes. And if you prefer, you can find a vegetarian version and a meaty version of this stuffing below, too.
Vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving
So, here's our thought on the modern Thanksgiving table. Whether you're hosting or bringing a contribution to a gathering, you're very likely to be feeding a crowd with a variety of dietary preferences.
It's not easy to keep it simple. But one thing you can do is to make everything but the turkey vegetarian.
Over the years, some of our most popular Thanksgiving recipes have helped people keep things streamlined over the holidays by offering really delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes bursting with seasonal flavors to feed a crowd.
Classic vegan stuffing is a prime example.
How do you make vegan stuffing from scratch?
This satisfying vegan stuffing recipe has layers of savory seasonal flavors and a great balance of crisp exterior to soft interior. It's a nice, easy recipe — and here's how to make it really shine.
Use good bread cubes
See the section below for a couple good ways of achieving this.
Use a nice, wide baking pan or casserole dish
Use a really good vegetable broth
My favorite vegetable broth by far is this one. It makes all the difference.
Use good-quality bread cubes
Here are two ways to achieve bread cube nirvana.
First, the easy way, which I tend to prefer these days. In early fall, Whole Foods (and surely some other markets as well) starts selling bags of bread cubes that they've made in-house from a nice, balanced variety of their own good-quality breads. To me this is the best of all possible worlds. You don't have to spend time during an already busy week drying my own bread. And you'll end up with a wider variety of bread types than you would otherwise, which makes for an excellent stuffing.
Of course, you can also dry your own bread cubes. If you're going this route, look for a combination of flavorful bread types with a variety of crust ratios and textures — maybe a baguette, some sourdough, and a bit of pumpernickel.
Can I use regular butter?
Sure thing. You can swap in regular butter for the olive oil or vegan butter if you're not concerned with making this recipe vegan. And if you like, read the next section to learn our other protip and turn this recipe into our classic vegetarian stuffing.
How to make this stuffing vegetarian
If your crowd doesn't include vegans, it's super-easy (and super-delicious) to turn this stuffing vegetarian. Simply swap in your favorite unsalted butter instead of using olive oil, and substitute four beaten eggs for one cup of the veggie broth. The eggs create a wonderful, gently custardy element and also add some extra nutrition.
How to make this stuffing meaty
Are you serving die-hard meat eaters? If you want to go in the other direction entirely, our classic stuffing recipe is also great with sausage. Buy a pound of good-quality sweet Italian or sage-flavored sausage and add it to the frying pan while you're sautéing the onions and celery. Then swap in your favorite unsalted butter instead of using olive oil, and substitute four beaten eggs for one cup of the veggie broth.
That's it! No need to make any other changes.
Can you make stuffing ahead of time?
Good question. Sure can! You have two great options here.
The first one, which I prefer, is to assemble the whole pan of stuffing up to 24 hours in advance, but hold off on baking it until just before you're ready to eat. As long as it's tightly covered in a nice cold fridge, this is a great approach. You can bake the stuffing straight from the fridge, adding a few extra minutes for it to cook through. Or you can bring it to room temperature on the counter about an hour before baking and pop it in the oven for the 45 minutes indicated in the recipe.
The second option is to bake the stuffing ahead of time and then reheat it before serving. This is totally fine, too. Pull cooked stuffing out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so. Cover your pan tightly and pop it into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Ideally you'd do this at about 350°F, but since Thanksgiving's ALWAYS got multiple dishes in the oven, you can really reheat it at just about any temperature your oven's set to.
Another GREAT Thanksgiving dish is our Top-Secret Vegan Stuffing recipe. It's similar to this one but also gets a little bit of jazziness from leeks and mushrooms.
- 4 tablespoons (56g) olive oil or vegan butter
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 ribs celery, including leaves, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and finely diced
- 1 cup shelled roasted chestnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 10 cups dried bread cubes
- 4 cups good vegetable broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.
- Warm the olive oil (or melt the vegan butter) over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add onion and celery and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to prevent browning.
- Add apple, chestnuts, thyme, and sage, and continue cooking until apple has softened, about 5 minutes more.
- Place bread cubes into a large mixing bowl and scrape the contents of the frying pan overtop. Pour in the broth. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and a few generous grinds of pepper. Mix gently until everything is well-distributed, then let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the bread cubes absorb the wet ingredients.
- Transfer stuffing to a large baking dish such as an extra-deep 9x13-inch pan or a 5-quart braiser. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until crisp on top and tender inside.
- To make this stuffing vegetarian, you can swap in your favorite unsalted butter for the olive oil, and replace one cup of the broth with four beaten eggs.
- To make this stuffing meaty, sauté a pound of sage-flavored (or regular sweet Italian) sausage along with the onions and celery in the first step. Then swap in your favorite unsalted butter for the olive oil, and replace one cup of the broth with four beaten eggs.
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Imagine Organic No Chicken Broth, Low Sodium, 32 oz, 2 pk
GreenPan Lima 12" Ceramic Non-Stick Covered Frypan
Le Creuset 5-Quart Braiser
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 6.5gCarbohydrates: 22.1gFiber: 1.5gProtein: 5.2g