This Best Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is full of mouth-watering flavors and textures that will please both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. This surprisingly tasty oven-baked dish is made with French bread, dried cranberries, onion, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, AND apples for an unforgettable addition to your holiday, Christmas or Thanksgiving table!
Planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Also try my Farro, Mushroom, and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash, Harvest Stuffed Butternut Squash, Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, Cranberry Orange Relish, or Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes.
Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe
This Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is a tried and true family favorite. This delightful and expected stuffing is one of the recipes that I make for my family every year. It's nothing like boring stuffing that comes out of a package or box, it is filled to the brim with flavors, colors, and textures including bright carrots, apples, sage, and dried cranberries. You'll also find savory favorites like crusty French bread, onions, celery, and garlic.
This dish truly comes from the heart and I promise it will not only be the BEST Vegetarian Stuffing you've tried but it will end up being your favorite even over turkey ones. This easily can work as a side dish for the turkey eaters at your meal and a main dish for the vegetarians. This side dish Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is actually my true Thanksgiving food love. Serve it for any holiday including Thanksgiving, Easter or even Christmas dinner.
This fluffy, savory, flavor-filled MEATLESS stuffing is the star of my meal. It's not just a simple boxed stuffing but packed with goodies to make it stand out like cranberries, apples, celery, garlic, carrots, onions, thyme, and FRESH sage. It's all oven-roasted to golden perfection. It looks pretty and tastes even better.
Who needs turkey broth when you have ALL of this?
Why You'll Love this Vegetarian Stuffing recipe...
- This Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is bright and unexpected! It has lots of flavors, texture, and color... unlike many boring brown stuffing recipes.
- It's hearty enough to serve as a main course for vegetarians but works as a great side dish for turkey eaters.
- You can do all the chopping and prep work for this recipe the day before, leaving cooking and assembling for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- This recipe is a bit more labor-intensive than many of my recipes, but it is worth it! It's a really special dish to serve at the holiday.
- You can make some swaps and make this gluten-free or vegan stuffing. See my notes below in variations to do it.
- The dried cranberries really POP! The sweetness from the cranberries and apples really makes this different.
- This vegetarian stuffing is a recipe that is trusted and has been made again and again.
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make this Vegetarian Stuffing recipe, but keep scrolling for the full recipe amounts.
- French bread loaf: Make sure you use dry, stale bread. Dried bread is crucial for stuffing to have texture and flavor. If you use freshly baked bread it will result in a soggy dressing. Don't use sandwich bread, but go to the bakery and get a nice loaf of French or sourdough bread. I find two-day-old bread is best.
- Dried cranberries: Cranberries add a chewy texture and a sweet-tart flavor to the stuffing. You can't go wrong with these.
- Fresh sage: Use fresh sage for the best flavor. The fresh sage adds color and texture to the dish.
- Sweet onion: Adds a nice, mildly sweet flavor. You can also use yellow or white onion.
- Carrots and Celery: Finely chop the carrots and stalks of celery for the best texture. I love the way the carrots add a pop of color.
- Poultry seasoning: A tasty blend of herbs that helps to enhance the flavor of the dressing. Add it to your Amazon cart here. It's a blend of sage, thyme and onion.
- Apple: Apples are a fun twist that helps to lighten up the dish that can often feel heavy. The sweetness is so nice! Use your favorite apple. I like to use Honeycrisp.
- Garlic: No stuffing is complete without a little bit of garlic mixed in!
- Vegetable broth: Finish it off with some vegetable broth to keep the stuffing moist. The vegetable broth instead of turkey broth keeps this recipe vegetarian.
- Butter: I don't skimp here and go for a stick of salted butter. I'm all about healthy cooking most days, but I'm totally okay with this dish being a bit indulgent. Even with the butter though a single serving of this dish is only 200 calories. I'll include notes below on how to swap the butter out and make this vegan.
- Salt and pepper
This is an overview of the instructions to make this Vegetarian Stuffing recipe, but the full detailed printable recipe is below in the recipe card. Curious about how to make vegetarian stuffing from scratch? Here's how with my step-by-step photos.
Step One: Prepare the Bread
- Chop up your ingredients and produce including celery, apples, garlic, onions, and carrots. Chop the fresh sage too. Cube the stale bread into ½-inch cubes. You can do this step a day ahead of time. Store the bread on the counter and the chopped vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Place bread cubes in a casserole dish or baking dish and sprinkle with sage and dried cranberries.
Step Two: Saute the Vegetables
- In a very large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted add the onion, celery, and carrot. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper and the poultry seasoning to the melted butter and vegetable mixture.
- When the onions become translucent add the garlic and apples. Season with another healthy pinch of salt and pepper.
- After the apples have cooked for about 2 minutes, add the vegetable broth. Season with the rest of the salt and pepper, to taste. Saute for 2 more minutes.
Step Three: Finish the Vegetarian Stuffing
- Very carefully pour the mixture into the casserole dish, over the bread. Do it gently and make sure that the vegetable mixture and liquid get to the entire casserole dish. Gently move around the bread to allow the broth to soak all the pieces. Be careful not to smash or break up too much of the bread, but you do want all of the bread to be soaked in the liquid. When you pour the butter, clergy, carrot, and onion mixture over the bread make sure to drizzle it evenly.
- Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Check during the baking that it's not drying out in any corners and if it is add a touch more vegetable broth.
- Garnish with fresh chopped sage.
I love this Vegetarian Stuffing recipe as written, but here are some fun variations.
- Mix up the Veggies: Mushrooms would be a great addition to this! You could trade them out for the apples and leave out the cranberries for less sweetness in the dish. Walnuts or pecans would also be good.
- Make it for a Crowd: You can double this vegetarian stuffing recipe for a crowd by using a jumbo casserole dish.
- Gluten-Free Stuffing: You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free bread or gluten-free bread cubes.
- Vegan Stuffing: To make this vegan, use vegan butter sticks like these.
- Make it Healthier: If you want to use less butter, either regular or vegan, just use ¼ cup (half a stick) of butter to saute your vegetables. You will need to still add an extra ¼ cup of vegetable broth at the end to make sure you have enough liquid.
- Shortcuts: Buy already chopped vegetables and bread to save time.
Storage & Leftovers
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe because it will come out of the freezer soggy.
Can vegetarians eat stuffing?
It depends! Often Thanksgiving stuffing or holiday dressing is made with turkey broth, the turkey itself, or even cooked in the bird. It is really simple to make stuffing suitable for vegetarians and vegans though by switching the turkey broth to vegetable broth and using a recipe like this. This recipe is the perfect vegetarian stuffing recipe for people who don't eat meat. To make it for vegans just follow the instructions below.
Is this stuffing suitable for vegans?
To make this stuffing vegan, saute the veggies in vegan butter instead of butter.
Can you make the stuffing ahead of time and reheat it?
If you are making it fresh on Thanksgiving day save time by pre-chopping all of your vegetables except for the apple which will turn brown. I chop the celery, onions, carrots, garlic, sage, and bread ahead of time and store it in ziplock bags in the fridge. That way it will take a fraction of the time to actually make on Thanksgiving day when you are trying to make other dishes.
You could also do most of the prep work by putting the bread, cranberries, and sage in a dish ahead of time. Just make the butter mixture right before you want to cook it.
You could also make the entire recipe and reheat it for dinner. It tastes great as leftovers as the flavors combine well after resting in the fridge.
This Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe is a Family Favorite!
My Vegetarian Stuffing recipe is a true family favorite! I've made this recipe countless times and it's out of this world. This combination of sweet and savory stuffing is out of this world and whether you are vegetarian or not, this dish will be the star of your Thanksgiving or holiday table. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If you are planning your Thanksgiving dinner, make sure to head over to my 50+ Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes to try and then my Tips for Hosting the Best Stress-Free Thanksgiving Ever.
More Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sides
- The Best Sweet Potato Casserole
- Crock Pot No Boil Macaroni and Cheese
- Cranberry, Farro, and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
- Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries
- Lentil, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad
- Oven Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts
- Crock Pot Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Crock Pot Honey Cinnamon Glazed Carrots
- Fluffy Pumpkin Cornbread
Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe
- 1 stick salted butter, ½ cup
- 1 french bread loaf, approx. 16 ounces day old French bread, cut in ½ in cubes
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup fresh sage, chopped and divided
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (approx. 1 ½ cups)
- 1 carrot, finely chopped (approx. ½ cup)
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 large apple, chopped (approx.. 1 ½ cups)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray an 9X12 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Put half the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle 1 tablespoons of sage and half of the dried cranberries on top. Put the rest of the bread in the dish and add another tablespoon of sage and the rest of the cranberries.
- In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted add the onion, celery and carrot. Season with a healthy pinch of the salt and pepper and the poultry seasoning.
- When the onions become translucent add apples. Season with another healthy pinch of salt and pepper. After the apples have cooked for about 2 minutes, add the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add the vegetable broth to the mixture. Season with the rest of the salt and pepper, to taste. Add the rest of the chopped sage.
- Allow the mixture to sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, over the bread. Gently move around the bread to allow the broth to soak all the pieces. Be careful not to smash or break up too much of the bread.
- Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Check for dry spots once or twice during cooking, adding a touch more vegetable broth to the bread if it's drying out.
- Garnish with fresh sage.