Nutrition

An Elevated Vegan Stuffing Recipe That Tastes Like Home

5 min read
Traditional stuffing is an iconic holiday dish beloved for its nostalgic, comforting taste. The catch? It’s not exactly vegan-friendly. We bring you a gloriously elevated, nutrient-packed vegan version that features a lighter finish—not to mention sweetness from dates and a hint of chili heat.
Traditional stuffing is an iconic holiday dish beloved for its nostalgic, comforting taste. The catch? It’s not exactly vegan-friendly. We bring you a gloriously elevated, nutrient-packed vegan version that features a lighter finish—not to mention sweetness from dates and a hint of chili heat.

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Warm, savory, flavorful, comforting… Is there any better way to describe the holiday magic known as stuffing? (Rhetorical question.)

An iconic dish beloved for its rich, nostalgic, quintessentially-festive taste, it’s most often thought of in its traditional iteration—that is, as a seasoned mixture of bread crumbs, veggies, and butter cooked inside the cavity of a turkey. Sounds pretty good, right? That’s what we thought, too.

Then we tasted this version. Cooked up exclusively for us by our resident recipe guru, integrative chef Blaine Arin Tacker (who specializes in luscious vegan fare), we bring you this gloriously elevated, nutrient-packed vegan stuffing that features a lighter finish—without sacrificing the traditional flavors you know and love.

Studded with sweetness from iron-rich dates, deep umami from mushrooms (also a source of vitamin D), and a hint of chili heat, it’s the ultimate upgrade. (1)

Now let’s break some bread together.

Vegan stuffing with mushroom, kale, and dates

Serves: 6

Notes from the chef: “This recipe is far from difficult, but there are several things happening at once—make it easier on yourself by prepping out all of your ingredients before you start cooking (chop the onions, stem the kale, slice the dates, etc). You can also assemble the stuffing the day before and bake it when ready to eat—just add a bit more oven time if it’s going in straight from the refrigerator.”

Traditional stuffing is an iconic holiday dish beloved for its nostalgic, comforting taste. The catch? It’s not exactly vegan-friendly. We bring you a gloriously elevated, nutrient-packed vegan version that features a lighter finish—not to mention sweetness from dates and a hint of chili heat.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound loaf sourdough bread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock/vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted vegan butter
  • 1 large onion, yellow, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
  • 2 large bunches ‘dinosaur’ kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine or sherry
  • 1/2 cup deglet noor dates, sliced into 1/4" small rounds
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds or pecans, roughly chopped
  • Parsley, roughly chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grab a baking sheet and tear the loaf of bread into 1-inch chunks (this creates a more crunchy surface area than cutting with a knife). Spread out the croutons on the baking sheet and drizzle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt, tossing to coat every surface thoroughly. Toast in the oven until golden brown and crunchy on the outside, tossing halfway, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl after they’ve cooled down for a few minutes.
  2. While the croutons are toasting, place chicken or veggie broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add dried mushrooms, stirring to help submerge them. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the stock, pressing as much liquid as possible from the mushrooms, then transfer mushrooms to a cutting board. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the bowl with the croutons. Stir the butter into the mushroom stock to melt, then set stock aside.
  3. Warm a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, sage, thyme, rosemary, chile flakes, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and starting to color, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in 2 more tablespoons of olive oil along with half of the chopped kale. Stir well to coat the greens and help them wilt down. When the greens cook down after a minute or two and you can fit more into the pan, stir in the rest of the chopped kale along with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Add the dry white wine and continue stirring until the kale is softened and wilted, about 2 more minutes (the wine should have reduced by three quarters or so). Transfer the kale and onion mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Remove the sprig of rosemary and stir in dates.
  5. Pour the warm stock-butter mixture over everything in the bowl. Add the crispy toasted nuts and stir well to combine, making sure the bread soaks up the liquid.
  6. Distribute the stuffing mixture into a baking dish and cover with a lid or foil; bake for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and toasted.
  7. Time to dig in!

Recipe Notes

  • If you’re not vegan (or are a traditionalist and can’t subscribe to stuffing without eggs!), add 2 large beaten eggs when mixing everything together. (Just don’t add it straight to the hot liquid or you’ll scramble them).
  • If you can’t find dried mushrooms, feel free to substitute 8 ounces of fresh chopped mushrooms. Instead of soaking them, saute them with the onions in step 3.
  • Deglet Noor dates are used here because they’re a little less sweet and sticky than the more plump Medjool variety, but feel free to use whatever variety you have—or substitute any dried fruits (cranberries, currants, dried apricot, etc.).

Want more Thanksgiving Recipes? Check out our holiday recipe hub.

References:

  1. FoodData Central, USDA.

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