This recipe for baked vegan stuffing with balsamic shallots tastes as good as traditional stuffing! It combines torn sourdough bread pieces, fragrant herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary, umami-rich miso, vegetable stock, shallots, tangy balsamic vinegar, celery, olive oil, and garlic. Sourdough bread is key for this plant-based take on the classic Thanksgiving dish. It provides a hefty texture and depth of flavour that makes this stuffing so satisfying. The resulting texture is perfectly moist throughout with a crave-able, toasted, and crunchy top.
I go mostly classic with this vegan stuffing for Thanksgiving. Sage, thyme, rosemary, and garlic all play their role in this baked delight. But I go in with a few extras that really make it pop! First, I add some nutritional yeast for some extra savoury dimension. I also sauté and reduce sliced shallots with balsamic vinegar. They become tart, a bit sweet, and just lift everything else up in this much-loved side dish. I combine miso with our vegetable stock to really bump up the umami qualities as well.
Using sourdough bread is essential for adding an extra dimension of savoury, deep, and tangy flavour to this vegan stuffing. I used a whole grain sourdough from a local bakery. I buy my loaf a few days in advance–stale bread is preferable! The night before the big dinner, I tear the bread up into bite-sized pieces and let it dry out on a baking sheet at room temperature. Dry bread soaks up the liquid and seasoning so much better!
More vegan stuffing tips!
- The most key thing with stuffing is having the right moisture level. You want the finished product to be toasty/crunchy on top, and a bit moist in the middle–but not soggy! When you’re mixing up the stuffing in the pot (before adding to the baking dish), the bread should be just moist enough without any puddles of stock in the bottom of the pan. I list 2-3 cups of stock, but 2 is usually the right amount for the bread that I use.
- I like the irregular look and jagged edges of torn bread, but feel free to cube yours with a serrated knife if you find this easier.
- I really do prefer fresh herbs in this dish. With that said, you can use dried herbs in place of the thyme, sage, and rosemary. Just use half the amount listed in the recipe.
- I admit, it’s hard to make this dish look glamorous! But I have a few food styling tips if you want to make it pretty for guests. I reserved some of the sautéed celery and shallots and sprinkled them on top before baking. I also save some whole sage leaves and celery heart leaves to place on the finished vegan stuffing.
I don’t find eggs to be totally necessary in stuffing. In my recipe, we rely on vegetable stock and olive oil for moisture as well as some ground flaxseed for binding power. Also, as you’re tearing the bread pieces, save all the little crumbs and sweep them into the pan. Once they rehydrate, they help to bind the mixture too.
Need some more vegan sides to go with your holiday spread? Check out my olive oil mashed potatoes, vegan sweet potato casserole with crunchy rosemary walnuts, creamy mushroom gravy, and roasted brussels sprouts with smoky almond bits.
Vegan Stuffing with Balsamic Shallots & Sourdough Bread
- 1 lb (454 grams) sourdough bread, torn into bit-sized pieces (about 10 cups pieces total)
- 1 tablespoon light miso
- 2-3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus extra)
- 2 sticks celery, small dice (¾ cup diced celery)
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 large shallots, peeled and sliced (1 ½ cups sliced shallots total)
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Using sourdough bread is essential for adding an extra dimension of savoury, deep flavour to this vegan stuffing. I used a whole grain sourdough from a local bakery.
- I prefer the irregular look and jagged edges of torn bread, but feel free to cube yours with a knife if you like!
- I really do prefer fresh herbs in this dish! With that said, you can use dried herbs in place of the thyme, sage, and rosemary. Just use half the amount listed.
- Finely chopped celery heart leaves are extra pretty on top of the finished stuffing, in addition to the parsley.
- Don’t forget to raise the temperature from 350 to 400 when you take the foil off! We want a crispy top.
- The most key thing with stuffing is having the right moisture level. You want the finished product to be toasty/crunchy on top, and a bit moist in the middle–but not soggy! When you’re mixing up the stuffing in the pot (before adding to the baking dish), the bread should be just moist enough without any puddling stock in the pan. I list 2-3 cups of stock, but 2 is usually the right amount for the bread that I use.
The night before, dry out the bread:
- Place the torn pieces of bread on a baking sheet and leave them out to dry at room temperature for 12-24 hours. You can also dry the bread in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes (no browning!).
Make the stuffing:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout, add the miso. Pour a bit of vegetable stock (2-3 tablespoons) on top, and use a fork/small whisk to break up/dissolve the miso into the stock. Then, add the ground flaxseed and about 2 cups of vegetable stock. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Set a 12-inch deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the celery and garlic and stir. Sauté until celery is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, sage, rosemary, and nutritional yeast and sauté for another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the celery mixture to a bowl and return the skillet to the stove.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and swirl it around. Add the sliced shallots and stir. Sauté until shallots are golden, soft, and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. If they’re browning too quickly, lower the heat. After the 10 minutes, pour in the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vinegar is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat off.
- Add the celery mixture back into the skillet along with the dried out bread. Give it a quick stir. Pour in the vegetable stock, miso and flax mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Let the bread absorb the stock for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the stuffing mixture to your baking dish and spread it out (do not pack it down). If the stuffing looks and feels dry at this point, pour a bit more vegetable stock over top. Cover the stuffing dish tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the foil and raise the oven heat to 400°F. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top before sliding back into the oven. Bake until the top is well-browned and crusty, about 20 more minutes. Serve the vegan stuffing hot with chopped parsley on top.