Stuffing is a crowd pleaser for any holiday gathering, and this vegan mushroom and herb stuffing will be a hit on any table. Mushrooms and walnuts add heft to this dairy-free version of a classic.
Stuffing is easily one of my favorites on the holiday table. Think about it – it is basically bread salad. Though I love the classic sausage and herb stuffing, I always try and put a new twist on it. And like many people, I’m trying to consume less meat these days, so I needed to swap out the sausage. In order to keep the integrity of this hearty and carby dish, I used several kinds of mushrooms and some walnuts. The vegan mushroom and herb stuffing is sure to be a hit that vegans and omnivores can enjoy together.
Real talk though, sausage packs a lot of flavor. This is tough to replace. Mushrooms are the quintessential “umami” flavor, so they are a natural to replace any meat. In order to build layers of flavor, I also employed the use of a fortified stock.
I stumbled upon Helen Rosner’s piece on winning Thanksgiving, and included some great advice for holiday survival, but also a recipe for double stock. Though she was making turkey stock, it got my wheels turning. Why not use the same technique for a vegan version?
For this vegan mushroom and herb stuffing recipe, I started with a box of store bought stock. (gasp!) Sauteing mushrooms, onions, and celery build flavor, and the vegetables themselves take the edge off of the unusually sweet taste of a store bought veggies stock can have. My suggestion: make a double batch and freeze the extra.
This mushroom and herb stuffing recipe is also awesome because several components can be made ahead of time. Make the stock two days ahead. Prep the bread the night before. Saute the vegetables on the morning of the holiday. Then, an hour before dinner time, assemble everything, bake it, and allow to cool slightly. I am all about taking the stress out of holiday cooking!
This recipe is also super straightforward. The hardest part is honestly cleaning the leeks. Because of the way leeks grow, bits of dirt and mud can get in between the layers. The best way to wash them is to slice the leek lengthwise, keeping the root in tact. Then rinse the two halves, then slice off the root and slice thinly into little half-moons.
Vegan Mushroom and Herb Stuffing
Stuffing is a crowd pleaser for any holiday gathing, and this vegan mushroom and herb stuffing will be a hit on any table. Mushrooms and walnuts add heft to this dairy-free version of a classic.
What You’ll Need
For the stock:
- 1 quart low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 large onion large diced
- 3 stalks celery roughly chopped
- 8-10 baby bella mushrooms roughly chopped
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the stuffing:
- 1 x-ounce loaf of bread such as sourdough or ciabatta, cut into ½” cubes
- 12 ounces mixed mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1 leek trimmed and thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup walnuts finely chopped
- 2 sprigs sage finely chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to Do
Make the stock:
- In a large stock pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the mushrooms to the pot.
- Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and celery and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened.
- Add the vegetable stock and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer the stock and vegetables for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the stock into a heat-safe container, straining out the vegetables. You should have 3-3 ½ cups of stock. If the stock reduced too much, add a little water to get at least 3 cups. This can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Make the vegan mushroom stuffing:
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Spread the cubed bread onto a sheet tray in an even layer, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are slightly dried out. Set aside, then increase the oven temperature to 375ºF. (This will help the bread absorb the other flavors of the stuffing!)
- While the bread is in the oven, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mixed mushrooms, and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced leeks and an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Saute 3-4 minutes, until the leeks are softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the walnuts and herbs to the pot and stir until everything is well combined. Add the bread, and 2 cups of the vegetable stock and stir until evenly mixed. If the mixture seems a little dry, add some more stock. When in doubt, add a little more stock.
- Transfer the mixture to an oiled 8”x8” square or 9” round baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
Leftover stock can be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months.