The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe (2024)

This easy vegetarian stuffing recipe features all of the classic flavors of your favorite stuffing recipe, but in a vegetarian version everyone around your holiday dinner table will love.

Coming up on my first Thanksgiving after becoming a vegetarian, I remember fielding loads of questions about whether or not I’d eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

Honestly, I had to laugh! I mean, no guys, vegetarians don’t eat turkey. Besides, doesn’t everyone agree that the sides are the best part of the Thanksgiving feast anyway?!

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe (1)

Traditionally my mom always hosted Thanksgiving and because she’s awesome, she’d always makes sure I had plenty to eat, including adapting her incredible homemade stuffing recipe to suit my “please don’t pour melted turkey all over my stuffing” needs.

What has resulted after nearly 15 years of tweaking is this – the world’s best vegetarian stuffing recipe. It has all the requisite flavors of sage and celery, but you know, with none of the melted turkey bits.

I assure you, this recipe is masterful and full of a mother’s careful attention to flavor. Luckily for all of us, she make careful notes the last time she made it so I can share it with all of you.

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, you will go crazy over this stuffing. Cross my heart.

What Is in Vegetarian Stuffing?

To make this vegetarian stuffing recipe, you will need:

  • Vegetable stock – Make sure to use vegetable stock for this recipe, store bought or homemade. Using chicken, beef or any other meat-based stock will alter this recipe to no longer be vegetarian.
  • Melted butter – I prefer using salted butter, but unsalted will also work for this recipe.
  • Granny Smith apple – Granny Smith apple adds a touch of the sweet tartness that stuffing needs.
  • Celery – Celery is a classic stuffing ingredient so don’t skip it!
  • Onion – I generally use white, yellow or sweet onions. They’ll all work well.
  • Black pepper – Season the stuffing mixture well with your favorite black pepper.
  • Salt – I like using a coarse ground sea salt for this recipe, but any kosher salt or sea salt will do.
  • Celery seed – Boost the celery flavor with the addition of celery seed.
  • Ground sage – Sage is one of those traditional seasonings that adds so much to stuffing.
  • Poultry seasoning – The name is a bit misleading here as this is a seasoning blend that adds a bunch of flavor, but is actually vegetarian.
  • Eggs – Eggs help to bind the stuffing mixture together and also provide moisture so it’s not too dried out.
  • Raisins – This can be an area of debate, but I think dried fruit like raisins add so much flavor to stuffing.
  • Dried cranberries – See above. Dried cranberries are seriously delicious in this stuffing recipe.
  • Bread – My mom has always used a mixture of whole wheat and Italian bread. It’s ok if it’s stale or a little dried out.

How to Make Vegetarian Stuffing

If we’re being super technical, it’s a bit misleading to call this recipe “stuffing” since it’s never stuffed into anything but a baking dish or lidded casserole dish.

In other words, don’t stuff your bird with this stuffing or you’ve missed the whole point, ya know?

To that end, start by preheating your oven to 350° F and then prepare a large casserole dish by greasing it lightly with nonstick cooking spray. You can make this recipe work with whatever size dish you happen to have.

Combine all ingredients except for the veggie stock and butter in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix well.

Once combined, pour the veggie stock and butter over top and use your hands to mix well again.

The resulting mixture will be very moist and somewhat sticky. That’s when you know it’s perfect!

Spoon it into your casserole dish and bake, covered, for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

When the stuffing is down it will be lightly golden brown on the top and around the edges.

If you don’t have a covered casserole dish, a glass baking dish covered with aluminum foil will also work. You may need to adjust baking times if your dish is more shallow.

What Kind of Bread Do You Use for Vegetarian Stuffing?

At the end of the day, you can basically use whatever bread you can get your hands on, or whatever bread is going stale in your house to make this vegetarian stuffing recipe.

My mom always uses a combination of whole wheat and Italian breads, because she prefers the texture it gives the stuffing. You could also use sourdough or plain white sandwich bread.

This recipe calls for 1/2 loaf of sourdough bread and 1/2 loaf of whole wheat bread, referencing standard sandwich bread sized loaves.

When you rip it into chunks it should roughly equal about 6 cups very loosely packed. It’s ok if you have a bit more than that!

What Kind of Stock Do You Use in Vegetarian Stuffing?

You’ll need to use vegetable stock when making vegetarian stuffing in order to make it truly vegetarian. Many brands carry delicious veggie stocks that work great for stuffing.

My mom traditionally makes homemade vegetable stock that she then uses to make stuffing. I’ve included her recipe and notes below if you’d like to go that route.

Either way will be super delicious!

How to Make Homemade Vegetable Stock

To make homemade vegetable stock, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 large celery stalk plus 3 celery stalk tops
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 – 10 whole black peppercorns
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sage leaves
  • ½ gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon parsley

Steps for making homemade vegetable broth:

  1. Cut all of the veggies into large chunks and place in the bottom of a stock pot.
  2. Top with approximately ½ gallon of water.
  3. Add herbs and spices and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, simmering for 1 – 2 hours.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain off the herbs, spices and veggies, preserving the liquid.

What to Serve with Homemade Vegetarian Stuffing

Here are a few more of my favorite vegetarian side dishes and desserts, all of which perfectly complement my mom’s vegetarian stuffing recipe:

  • Scalloped sweet potatoes
  • Mini green bean casserole puffs
  • Mulled apple cider
  • Butternut squash goat cheese crostini
  • Hazelnut cake with apple buttercream
  • Salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake parfaits

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe (11)

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe (12)

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This easy vegetarian stuffing recipe features all of the classic flavors of your favorite stuffing recipe, but in a vegetarian version everyone around your holiday dinner table will love.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons ground sage
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ loaf of whole wheat bread, torn into chunks
  • ½ loaf of Italian bread, torn into chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare a large casserole dish by greasing it lightly with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Combine all ingredients except for the veggie stock and butter in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix well.
  3. Oncecombined, pour the veggie stock and butter over top and use your hands to mix well again. The resulting mixture will be very moist and somewhat sticky.
  4. Spoon it into your casserole dish and bake, covered, for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Remove thelid and bake for an additional 15 minutes until lightly golden brown on the top and around the edges.

Notes

If you don’t have a covered casserole dish, a glass baking dish covered with aluminumfoil will also work.

You may need to adjust baking times if your dish is more shallow.

`

[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe (2024)

FAQs

Is there a vegetarian stuffing mix? ›

Made from specially baked stuffing bread, and then dusted with just the right touch of herbs and spices. It is the ideal complement to your entrées.

What can I add to stuffing for more flavor? ›

Fruit, especially dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, figs and apricots can seriously improve a dreary box of stuffing. That bit of sweetness plays beautifully with other flavors on the table. I've found that fresh fruits like apples and pears are stellar as well.

What is vegetarian stuffing made of? ›

Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add the butter, onions and sage and fry gently for five minutes until softened. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the softened onions and mix to combine. Add the egg and season with salt and black pepper. Mix well then form into golf-ball sized balls and place on a roasting tray.

What does adding egg to stuffing do? ›

Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs help hold the dressing together and add moisture.

Which boxed stuffing is vegetarian? ›

If you're with us on that notion, check out our list of the best store-bought vegan stuffing brands for Thanksgiving 2023.
  • Pepperidge Farm. Multiple Options. ...
  • 365 by Whole Foods Market. Multiple Options. ...
  • Mrs. Cubbison's. ...
  • Olivia's Stuffing. Multiple Options. ...
  • Sprouts Farmers Market. ...
  • Chef's Cupboard by Aldi. ...
  • Stove Top. ...
  • Ener-G Foods.

Why is stuffing not vegetarian? ›

Most stuffing uses Egg and/or butter to bind the ingredients together, and consequently it is not suitable for vegans - though it is suitable for vegetarians.

Is stock or broth better for stuffing? ›

Homemade stock is the best, but if you don't have homemade, a good store bought stock will work as well. If you use a store bought stock, try to buy one with no/low sodium. I personally have started using bone broth in my stuffing and LOVE it.

Should you stir stuffing? ›

The bread in the stuffing absorbs moisture, but if it's dry (as it should be, see above), it takes some time for the liquid to settle in. I suggest adding a little at a time, say 1 cup of broth for every 4 cups of dry mix. Give it a good stir, then let it sit for a minute. The stuffing should be moist but not wet.

What makes stuffing unhealthy? ›

Stuffing is not strictly a healthy food, because it is typically high in calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbohydrates. 1 But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, All foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation.

Is stuffing better with or without eggs? ›

It's a matter of preference, but adding a beaten egg to your stuffing mixture acts as a binder and keeps the bread moist.

Is boxed turkey stuffing vegetarian? ›

Traditional stuffing recipes usually call for chicken broth. Cue the violins, herbivores; standard stuffing is not a vegetarian Thanksgiving dish. Even boxed versions may contain hidden animal-based ingredients, emphasizing the importance of carefully reading the labels before purchasing instant stuffing.

What is British stuffing made of? ›

Stuffing consists of a mixture of savoury ingredients such as breadcrumbs, herbs, fruit, nuts, sausagemeat and onion which are bound together with egg or liquid to form a semi-solid mixture. It is usually cooked with roast meat such as chicken, pork or lamb and is served as an accompaniment to the sliced, cooked meat.

What can you use as a binder instead of eggs in stuffing? ›

16 egg substitutes
  1. Mashed banana. Mashed banana can act as a binding agent when baking or making pancake batter. ...
  2. Applesauce. Applesauce can also act as a binding agent. ...
  3. Fruit puree. Fruit puree will help bind a recipe in a similar way to applesauce. ...
  4. Avocado. ...
  5. Gelatin. ...
  6. Xanthan gum. ...
  7. Vegetable oil and baking powder. ...
  8. Margarine.
Mar 30, 2021

Is it OK to make stuffing a day ahead of time? ›

No matter where you fall, getting a head start on what can be prepared before the big day is essential. One question that always crops up: Can you make stuffing ahead of time? The short answer to whether you can making stuffing ahead of time is yes.

What can I substitute for eggs in stuffing? ›

Best Egg Substitutes
  • Flaxseed Meal. Flaxseeds have an earthy, nutty flavor and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Chia Seeds. ...
  • Mashed Banana. ...
  • Applesauce. ...
  • Silken Tofu. ...
  • Aquafaba. ...
  • Starches. ...
  • Vinegar + Baking Powder.

Is stove top cornbread stuffing mix vegetarian? ›

This product contains 2 ingredients that are not vegetarian and 2 ingredients that may not be vegetarian.

Is Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing mix vegan? ›

Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing contains no animal products, but be careful because a lot of their other flavors do contain chicken and/or chicken broth. And the Cornbread Stuffing Mix at Trader Joe's is also vegan.

Is stove top herb stuffing vegetarian? ›

This product contains 2 ingredients that are not vegetarian and 3 ingredients that may not be vegetarian. Which diet do you follow?

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