Here we go, everyone. Some call it stuffing. Or dressing. Some make it with cornbread while others make it with artisanal homemade loaves. Rosemary, dried cranberries, sausage, you name it. This is not that stuffing. This is what, by my family’s definition, is the most classic stuffing. And that involves bread cubes in a bag. Yes, you heard me correctly. The bread cubes in a bag still, in my mind, make the most timeless, traditional vegan stuffing.
I am sure there are some of you out there who are thinking, “But Mel! You taught us how to make a sourdough starter! Surely, you would make your own fresh, artisanal bread to create your traditional holiday stuffing!” And to you, I say: eh. The idea of making a fresh loaf of bread for the sole purpose of drying it out and putting it in stuffing? No thank you. That said, I would toss some in if I had it as leftovers. In my mind, there is something so sacrilegious about creating a loaf of bread for the sole purpose of letting it go stale for bread.
This past Thanksgiving, my mother and I had this conversation multiple times. She kept telling me, “but you can dry out the bread IN the oven! You don’t have to WAIT for it to go stale!” And she would be correct but to me…I don’t know. There is just something…off about the concept. Again, I don’t know. But the way I get around this is using what I was raised eating: Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Cubes.
Note: This is not sponsored by Pepperidge Farm. But, like, if you want to @ me, Pepperidge Farm, I would not be upset.
The Stuffing Is The Point Of Thanksgiving. There, I Said It.
For me, Thanksgiving has always been about the sides. Even before my vegan days, I was never really about the turkey. It has always been but a vessel for the most important part of the table: the side dishes. The stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the stuffed mushrooms, and gravy! Turkey who? Move over, meat-based entrees. Cut a slice of this and have it as your main! Do it, you won’t. Or, you will. Rather, you should.
This recipe is what I grew up with. Similar to those who swear that canned cranberry sauce, complete with its ridges and jello-like texture, is their Thanksgiving ride-or-die, I will go to my grave thinking this stuffing is the best out there. This article from Bon Appetit sums up my feelings pretty perfectly. Basic veggies and bread cubes topped with herbs and gorgeous melted butter.
Mixed with Slathered in cranberry sauce.
Putting It Together: Traditional Vegan Stuffing
The only thing that makes my family’s traditional stuffing recipe vegan is a swap out of the butter and the broth. That’s it! I love when a dish can be veganized with just a few minor tweaks because it can make a table much more inviting to those who might be skeptical of veganism and fully plant-based foods. And really, isn’t that what the holidays are about? Bringing people together?
Stuffing: Step By Step
Start your traditional vegan stuffing with the key ingredients:
- Cubed bread (again, mine are the store bought ones from Pepperidge Farm. Each back contains ~4 cups of bread cubes)
- Fresh sage
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh parsley
- Vegetable Broth
- Vegan butter
First things first: chop your celery and onions to the size you prefer. I medium dice my celery and onions because I do not like the chunks of vegetables to be too large, but this is entirely up to the chef.
Finely chop your herbs.
In a medium-sized saucepan, sauté your celery and onion until the onion is shiny and translucent. Only use a tablespoon or two of butter and set the rest from the recipe aside! You’ll need it later.
Then, mix all of your ingredients except the remaining vegan butter into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
Lastly, before baking, take your butter and plats of it all over the top of your stuffing.
The butter is crucial because it will melt into the bread cubes and help ensure that nothing dries out.
Next, cover the baking dish with tin foil and then bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. If you want the top to become crispier, remove the tin foil for the last few minutes of baking.
There you have it!
Finally, top the stuffing with extra herbs for garnish if you feel like it. It is something I do, but is by no means required for this to be delicious!
Classic Vegan Holiday Stuffing
- 9×13" glass baking dish
- large mixing bowl
- medium saute pan
- 1 bag (~ 4 cups) Pepperidge Farm herbed & cubed stuffing mix
- 2 stalks (~ 1 ½ cups) celery stalks medium dice
- 1 whole (~1 ½-2 cups) onion medium dice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 8-10 tablespoons nondairy butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- In a pan over medium heat, sauté the onion and celery in two tablespoons of butter until the onion is shiny and translucent.
- Transfer the onion and celery to a large mixing bowl with all the remaining ingredients, except the remaining non-dairy butter.
- Spread the mixture evenly across a 9×13 glass baking dish.
- Slice the remaining butter into pats and dot the top of the stuffing, ensuring that the butter is evenly distributed over the top of the bread cubes. This will help the stuffing retain moisture during baking.
- Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
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