I love stuffing. It is my favorite Thanksgiving food, and I’ve made a batch every year for the last six or seven. Until this year, I had yet to find a recipe that wasn’t moderately time consuming or laborious, which I didn’t really mind, because I expect holiday cooking to take some time. This year, though, I’m more focused than I ever have been on Thanksgiving recipes that are festive without being overly time-intensive, and this simple vegan cornbread sage stuffing fits the bill. It’s got all of the flavor of traditional stuffing, but if you make the cornbread a day or two in advance (and even if you don’t), it comes together without a lot of fuss.
I used my simple, whole grain vegan cornbread in the recipe. It’s a good choice because it’s easy to make, and you can prepare it ahead of time even if you’re busy prepping other things. If you’re worried about time next week, you can prepare the cornbread this week, freeze it, and defrost it before using, or you can use a vegan cornbread mix. If you have a bakery or health food store that sells vegan cornbread, go ahead and use that. You’ll need about eight cups of cubed cornbread in total, which is about seven square slices from my recipe (I had two leftover, which Steven and I enjoyed with some leftover soup).
I’ve made stuffing that feature lots of herbs and a whole slew of ingredients (bread, cranberries, squash, brussels sprouts, onions, and more), and I’ve loved those results. But, with the idea of simplicity in mind, I kept the seasonings intentionally sparse in this recipe. Sage is the prominent flavor, along with fresh parsley. The vegetable component is a humble trio of onion, carrot, and celery.
No matter how often I read that the mark of culinary mastery is a capacity for restraint, I tend to worry about simple recipes, questioning whether an extra dash of this or the addition of that would make the meal bolder or stronger. It’s a tendency I really ought to get over, or at least learn to tamp down, because the more I allow simple combinations of ingredients to speak for themselves, the stronger I think my recipes become. I got all of the affirmation I needed when Steven tasted this stuffing and called it his favorite of the many I’ve made.
Simple Vegan Cornbread Sage Stuffing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan buttery spread
- 1 large white or yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 8 cups cubed vegan cornbread about 3/4 of a batch of my whole grain vegan cornbread recipe
- 2 teaspoons dried or rubbed sage more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup loosely packed chopped flat leaf parsley (curly parsley is fine, too)
- Black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Heat the oil in a very large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is tender and clear. Stir in the cornbread, sage, salt, and 1 scant cup vegetable broth. Warm all of the ingredients through, then taste the mixture and add black pepper and extra salt as needed. The cornbread should be moist but not mushy; if you need to add an extra splash of broth, do. Fold in the chopped parsley.
- Transfer the stuffing to an oiled rectangular baking dish (either 8 x 11 or 9 x 13 will work). Pour the remaining broth over the top. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing is just golden. Serve.
I love to use cornbread in stuffing: I enjoy its mild sweetness, and I also love its crisp-tender texture after baking. But I’m guessing that a cubed, rustic bread of your choosing would also work really nicely in this recipe.
If you’re looking to serve this as a centerpiece, or if you’d simply like to add some extra protein to the stuffing, I recommend stirring in some of the tempeh sausage crumbles from this recipe before baking (along with the parsley). Or you can add slices of your favorite vegan sausage; I’m guessing that the Field Roast smoked apple sage sausages would be killer! Simple tempeh bacon or my lemon pepper tempeh cubes would also work well, as would seitan grounds.
Whether you dress it up or down, I hope you enjoy this carby and comforting stuffing sometime soon–and if you’re sharing, I hope your loved ones will enjoy it along with you. I’ll be back on Thursday with another festive meal idea for your holiday table. Till soon,