If you ask anyone in my family what is the best part of Thanksgiving, without a doubt the answer will be Grandma’s stuffing. So, when I moved away from Ohio to North Carolina and didn’t come home for the first Thanksgiving ever, I was on the phone with Grandma begging her to give me instructions on how to make it. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving with out it. In the fashion of so many grandmothers out there, she was more than happy to tell me how to make it: you need stale bread, some butter, some onions, some celery, some chicken stock, an egg, and some poultry seasoning and sage. When I asked her how much, she paused and said, “Well just enough for however many people you have coming over. You don’t want the bread to get so wet that it is mushy, but you don’t want it to be too dry either. Oh, and don’t forget to cut a piece of fat from the turkey’s neck to place on top before you bake it” That was all I got. My grandma doesn’t measure anything. So I read some recipes online, and talked with my mom who has helped her make it for years. That first attempt wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t Grandma Gehlert’s, but it was good. Each year it has gotten better, to the point that I think it could pass as hers with my family now.
This year we had Thanksgiving with some friends who are vegan. Thanksgiving is just NOT Thanksgiving in our house without Grandma’s stuffing. Also, it is more than just stuffing: it is love, and happiness, and everything growing up that is good about the holidays with family and friends. I was determined to give this to my friends and family without having to make two dishes. So I set off to convert my Grandma’s stuffing into a vegan dish, and I succeeded.
To get started take a large loaf of french bread and tear or cut it into little pieces. Set them out on a large baking sheet to dry out over night.
When you are ready to make your stuffing, spray the dried pieces with a butter flavored cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt, coarse ground pepper, poultry seasoning, and rubbed sage. Toss the pieces several times to make sure they are well coated.
Place the seasoned bread in a 250° oven. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for 15 more minutes. The bread will be completely dried out, and resemble croutons.
While the bread dries in the oven, chop one small onion, and some celery. Melt a stick of Earth Balance (vegan butter) in a medium sauce pot, and cook the onions and celery until the onions become translucent. Add a couple of cups of vegetable broth to the vegetables and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow to simmer until the bread is ready. Once the bread is ready, pour the broth over the bread crumbs.
Gently mix, until all the bread is coated and place a couple pats of Earth Balance on top. This might look a bit too wet, but the extra moisture helps to compensate for the lack of egg and turkey skin.
Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the top becomes crispy.
Vegan Holiday Stuffing
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Servings: 10
1 large french bread
butter flavored cooking spray
1 Tbs salt
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
2 Tbs poultry seasoning
2 Tbs rubbed sage
1 stick of Earth Balance butter spread, plus 2 extra Tbs
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
Cut or tear bread into small pieces the night before making the stuffing and allow them to dry over night. When you are ready to make the stuffing the next day, place the bread on a large baking dish, generously spray with butter flavored cooking spray, and season with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and sage. Toss well to coat all bread. Place bread in a 250° oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring half way through.
While the bread bakes, chop the onion and celery. Melt the Earth Balance in a large sauce pan and cook the onions and celery until the onions become translucent. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the bread is finished.
Pour the broth over the bread and gently mix until all bread is coated. Place stuffing into a medium-sized baking dish, place a few pats of Earth Balance spread on top, and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the top becomes brown and crunchy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy.