Thanksgiving is one of my favorite meals of the year! I love mashed potatoes and gravy. But most of all, I love stuffing. Unfortunately, gravy and stuffing is typically not vegetarian. Except when I make it!
During recent years, my husband and I travel to his sister's house for Thanksgiving where an eclectic group of people feast together. Each person is "known" for bringing a dish every year. My dish is the stuffing. In fact, we don't even have a meat stuffing, and everyone raves about my stuffing (even though I'm the only vegetarian at the meal!).
My stuffing is a take on the traditional stuffing. Often stuffing recipes get creative with wild rice or raisins or nuts or vegetables. Mine is simply seasoned bread. It is perfect. I use a blend of fresh bread and croutons to have a more interesting texture.
This year, I made homemade croutons from a white baguette. To make croutons, cut or tear the bread into small pieces and toss in olive oil. I seasoned my croutons simply with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until lightly browned.
Chop all the vegetables and get them cooking slowly in some butter. You want to make sure the vegetables are soft and have released their flavors to help season the bread.
Tear the fresh bread into 1 inch pieces and toss with the croutons. You'll want to use your largest bowl possible. I like using my Thatsa Bowl from Tupperware.
Stir in the vegetables and melted butter so that they are evenly distributed. Then, make your vegetable broth. I usually don't have enough ambition to make my own vegetable broth, and thus I rely on bullion cubes. Rapunzel bullion have a mild flavor that adds the extra oomph that dishes sometimes need. I like this bullion because it isn't made from ingredients that scare me. Knorr bullion tastes fantastic. It has a bold flavor that wins me over every time. Unfortunately, Knorr is pretty salty and has unpronounceable ingredients, so I try to use it sparingly. For my stuffing, I like to use one Knorr and one Rapunzel bullion cube. Then, I add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning until the flavor is perfect.
Once you have your broth perfect, add it in small increments to the bread mixture until it is densely moist. You don't want it too dry or too wet. It should stick together enough to be able to be molded but not enough so that it just molds into one big piece of soggy bread. You want varying textures.
Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes to make the top nice and crispy.
Enjoy with vegetarian gravy or plain. It heats up wonderfully!
Who says vegetarians don't have anything to eat on Thanksgiving? Yum!
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small loaf wheat bread
2 cups croutons
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and celery are soft, about 15 minutes.
- In your largest bowl, tear the wheat bread into 1 inch sized chunks. Add the croutons and the cooked vegetables. Stir well to combine.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and pour it over the bread mixture. Stir well to distribute evenly.
- Mix the vegetable broth with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust so the broth has a bold flavor that you love.
- Pour about 1 cup of broth over the bread and stir well. Add another cup of broth and stir again. Continue until the bread is very moist, but not dripping. Only use enough broth to make the bread densely moist.
- Spread the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes covered. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered or until the top is crusty and browned. Alternatively, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes to brown the top.