With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s time to think about those traditional foods that say holiday celebration. Even without a turkey, stuffing (aka dressing) is one of our staples, along with cranberry sauce, yams, greens, gravy and pies. Make Thanksgiving Great (Again).
This one, from the family meal of the 1960s, is full of mushrooms, chestnuts and other delicious flavors which, when eaten with some homemade cranberry sauce, creates nostalgia on the plate. While my ancestors originally added chopped giblets from a turkey, this one is 100% plant-based.
Consider this a starter recipe, meaning you can adjust some of the ingredients if you like. We’ve made it without celery and it’s been fine. Love, love, love mushrooms? Add more. Like pecans? Mix in a handful. Basically, you want a mixture that isn’t too wet or too dry so the measurements are rough guides. The recipe can also be doubled or more to accommodate extra guests.
Serve along your favorite dishes and give thanks!
1 tbsp. vegetable oil (grapeseed, peanut or even olive is fine)
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped mushrooms (any variety – we usually use plain white buttons with some shitakes, etc. if budget allows)
¾ cup chopped celery
2 tbsp. organic vegetable shortening (coconut oil can be substituted but it will affect flavor)
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups cubed day-old bread or stuffing cubes
1 cup crushed organic cornflakes
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tbsp. ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp. dried sage or poultry seasoning
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
½ to 1 cup vegetable broth (can use solid cubes or liquid soup base)
1 tbsp. non-dairy buttery spread (optional) or organic vegetable oil for baking dish
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Step One: Cook the Veggies In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and add the onions and celery, cooking on low-medium heat until soft (but not browned). Transfer to a large bowl. Add mushrooms to pan and cook down (there should be some juices in the pan) and transfer to the bowl with the onions and celery.
Step Two: Combine the Flour and Shortening Using a pastry cutter, two butter knives or your fingers, combine the flour and shortening until mixed well and crumbly. This step can be omitted for those who are looking to go low-fat but it helps make a juicy stuffing. You can also do this in a food processor by pulsing the flour and shortening together quickly to form a crumb-like texture.
Step Three: Mix the Ingredients Add the carrots, bread cubes, corn flakes, herbs and chestnuts to the bowl of cooked vegetables. Mix well. Add the flour/shortening mixture and seasonings. Add ½ cup of the vegetable broth to start to ensure mixture isn’t too dry, adding more as needed. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Step Four: Bake the stuffing Grease a large baking dish and spread stuffing out. Dot the top with buttery spread or olive oil. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350°, remove from oven and using a spatula, mix so that the entire mixture gets brown. If necessary, add more vegetable broth to prevent dryness. Bake another 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered 10 minutes more.
NOTE: To stuff squash or pumpkin, we have found it is best to use cooked squash filled with stuffing that has been pre-cooked then cook at 325 for 25 minutes, uncovered to let flavors blend.
Enjoy with fresh cranberry sauce and gratitude.