Having first gone vegetarian back at the age of thirteen, I’ve spent many-a-holiday dining on salad. People tend to panic a bit when feeding vegans and vegetarians, and I always feel bad. Salad avoids having to make people go out of their way, and I know that when you’re unfamiliar with meatless and dairy-free cooking it can be pretty intimidating.
As a blogger I get lots of questions from readers on how to accommodate their guests’ dietary needs. I usually point them to a few recipes and make suggestions for easy ingredient swaps. That was before I got my hands on a copy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. This book is jam-packed with recipes for every holiday occasion. I expected the book include just recipes for the end-of-year holidays, but it actually covers everything from the Superbowl to Chinese New Year to Cinco de Mayo.
I chose to make the traditional stuffing because I always miss out on stuffing. So many times I’ve had a host that was thoughtful enough to cook some stuffing outside of the turkey, only to find out it was made with chicken broth. This stuffing is totally vegan — no chicken broth here! But it’s flavorful and savory enough that I don’t think anyone would know the difference.
So far I’ve also tried the creamy whipped potatoes from the book, and they were fantastic too — the first vegan mashed potato recipe I’ve tried that actually tastes like my mom’s fluffy mashed potatoes.
This savory stuffing tastes just like traditional versions of the dish that you probably grew up eating, but it's completely vegan.
The best bread for this stuffing is a nice, big loaf of country white bread that you dice yourself. Sliced sandwich bread tends to be sliced too thin. It’s also best if the bread is a few days old and relatively dry. If it seems fresh and springy, toast the bread cubes for 5 minutes in a 325°F oven before proceeding with the recipe.
½ cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
½ cup thinly sliced peeled carrot
2 teaspoons salt, plus a pinch
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
12 cups country white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Tip)
1 ½ to 2 cups vegetable broth
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
Preheat a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil, then sauté the onion, celery, and carrot with a pinch of salt until the carrot is softened and the onion is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion powder, sage, thyme, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss to thoroughly coat. Add the vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well in between additions of broth. The bread should be moist but not soggy, so make sure everything is not completely soaked through.
Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cubes are nicely browned, about 10 minutes more. Let cool a bit before serving.