There are so many variations of stuffing, and it’s really easy to make a satisfying vegetarian version. I like to keep the stuffing on the side of turkey – there are differing opinions on this, but from a food safety standpoint the it’s much safer to cook the turkey and stuffing separately. The best part is you can bake this on the side while the turkey rests and then everyone can enjoy it!
A measure of a good vegetarian dish is that even meat-eaters will love it. This stuffing gets it’s earthiness from shitake mushrooms, pecans, and fresh herbs. We kept it completely vegan, but not short on flavor. A liberty apple from The Good Life Farm enhances the savory flavors!
The inspiration for this recipe comes from Kenji of The Food Lab, who’s known for well-tested and excellent recipes. His version uses the food processor to mince the mushrooms and pecans, but I just used a sharp knife and a cutting board. A flavorful stock is important and whether you use homemade or storebought, use the mushrooms stems to infuse the stock with mushroom flavor. This recipe includes liquid for the stuffing and gravy, so pour the full amount in a pan, add mushroom stems, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit while you prep the stuffing.
You can cube or tear the bread for the stuffing, I’ve seen a lot of recipes with torn bread so I decided to try it. The theory is that the torn edges make a lot craggy edges for all of the stuffing ingredients to cling to, and the results tasted great! This is also a fun kitchen job for kids to help with.
While the stuffing bakes, make the gravy. Just like the stuffing I kept the gravy completely vegan. The key to making any flavorful sauce is building layers of flavor, so this sauce starts out with shallots and herbs, extra virgin olive oil, and white wine. It’s gets it’s rich savory flavor from miso (added at the end) and tamari. It’s really simple to make an olive oil roux, the olive oil just doesn’t brown like butter would. Take your time and whisk everything together until it’s smooth. The results are a savory sauce that even two meateaters loved in the test kitchen!
Vegetarian Mushroom Stuffing with Miso Gravy
1 lb sourdough bread
8 oz shitake mushrooms
6 celery stalks
2 – 3 sprigs sage
2 – 3 sprigs parsley
1/2 cup pecans
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced herbs (like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme)
1 tablespoon tamari
1 -2 tablespoons miso paste
fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Toast the bread. Tear the bread into bite-size pieces, about 1/2 inch thick. Placeon a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and big pinch of salt. Spread into an even layer and toast in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until crisp and starting to brown. Let cool and place back in the bowl.
Mince the vegetables. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Separate the mushroom stems from the mushrooms and reserve. Mince the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and pecans. Mince the celery stalks, and some of the leaves if you like them. Remove the herbs from the leaves and mince.
Make mushroom stock. Place all of the vegetable stock in a saucepan, add the mushroom stems and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let sit while you prep the stuffing.
Cook the vegetables. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and cook the onions over medium heat until they’re soft and starting to turn golden. Add the mushrooms and sage and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms start to darken. Add the celery and pecans and cook for 5 minutes more, then add the tamari and stir to combine.
Mix the ingredients together. Cut the apple in half, scoop out the core, and add the apples to the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the bowl (or if your pan is oven proof, right in the pan you cooked the vegetables in) with the bread chunks. Add the 2 cups of the stock to the bowl and toss the mixture until all of the stock is absorbed.
*reserve 2 cups of the mushroom stock for gravy
Bake the stuffing. Transfer the stuffing mixture back to a lightly greased baking dish or keep it in the oven-proof pan. Cover with foil or a lid and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.
Vegan Miso Gravy
In a small sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and herbs and cook for about 4 minutes until the shallots are softened. Stir in the flour and keep stirring and toasting the flour for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the white wine, the flour mixture will be thick and pasty. Whisk in the stock 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture will be a little chunky at first, but as you whisk and cook it will smooth and thicken. Simmer the gravy on the stove for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. When the gravy is thickened and smooth, turn off the heat and add the tamari and 1 tablespoon of miso. Taste and more miso to taste as desired. Season with lots of fresh black pepper and serve.