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The best vegan stuffing (GF optional) is moist inside and crispy on top, hearty, wholesome, satisfying, and flavorful – perfect for impressing the entire family over the holidays!

completed The Best Vegan Stuffing against a white surface

Simple Vegan Stuffing with Plant-Based Sausage and Apples

When it comes to the holidays, I’ll admit that I struggle to think of a favorite dish. However, I have a long list of must-haves for my table, with this easy vegan stuffing on top! For anyone serving a crowd, I’ve already shared my favorite mushroom stuffing, but now it’s time for the best standard vegan stuffing (aka vegan dressing, filling, etc.)

Whereas traditional stuffing often contains meaty broth, butter, eggs, and sometimes meat, this vegan/vegetarian stuffing recipe is 100% meat-free. Luckily, it’s still just as hearty, satisfying, ‘buttery’, and delicious. It truly is the ultimate comfort food.

I packed this Thanksgiving vegetarian stuffing with flavor, combining a simple sourdough bread and vegetable broth base with plenty of fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and (optional) vegan sausage for a crowd-pleasing blend of sweet and savory. Best of all, it relies on just a handful of simple ingredients, including some day-old bread.

You can even prepare this in advance and/or freeze the leftovers for a fuss-free Thanksgiving or Christmas dish ready to serve alongside all your Holiday faves and watch it disappear in minutes!

The Ingredients

I made this vegan sausage stuffing with simple-to-find ingredients, primarily pantry staples and optional extras like vegan sausage.

ingredients for The Best Vegan Stuffing measured out against a white surface
  • Bread: I made delicious sourdough stuffing by using sourdough baguettes for the added depth of flavor. However, other sturdy bread, like a whole grain loaf, also works.

What is The Best Bread For Stuffing?

Use a sturdy loaf of bread for the best consistency and flavor in this vegetarians Thanksgiving stuffing. I use sourdough for its sturdiness and flavor. However, you could also use a bread combination, like white bread and sourdough, or even regular bread and cornbread for a mixture of flavors. For vegan gluten-free stuffing, use sturdy gluten-free bread.

  • Vegan butter: I love the richness and flavor of vegan butter. However, olive oil or coconut oil would also work.
  • Celery: If you aren’t a fan of celery, use a leek instead.
  • Onion: I recommend using yellow onion, though white onions or shallots also work.
  • Herbs: I use a traditional herb combination for this plant-based stuffing, including fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley.
  • Vegetable broth: Use regular or reduced-sodium broth and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Depending on how salty the broth is, you’ll want to season the sourdough stuffing with salt & black pepper to taste.

  • Apple: It’s best to use a tart apple for vegan sausage stuffing. I use Granny Smith.
  • Vegan sausage: (optional) Using vegan sausage (chopped or crumbled based on the type) is technically optional, but the savory flavor balances the sweet and tart apple and cranberries perfectly. Instead of vegan sausage, tempeh sausage crumbles would also work.
  • Cranberries: Dried cranberries pair wonderfully with the apple and vegan sausage to provide this vegan Thanksgiving dressing with sweet, tangy, savory flavors.

What Else Could I Add to this Vegan Stuffing?

Enjoy the base recipe as written, or experiment with any optional add-ins below to find the best vegetarian stuffing recipe (and vegan!) for you and your guests.

  • Garlic: Finely minced garlic (or garlic powder in a pinch) is never a bad idea.
  • Carrots: Finely chopped or shredded carrots add color and extra flavor.
  • Leek: Finely sliced leek is packed with flavor and is a delicious addition to this Thanksgiving vegetarian stuffing. You could also use it as a milder onion substitute.
  • Kale: Finely chopped and sautéed. It will add color, texture, and nutrients.
  • Pecans: Sprinkle chopped pecans into the vegan Thanksgiving stuffing in the last few minutes of baking so they don’t burn. For a nut-free version, use shelled pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
  • Fennel: A small amount of fennel will taste delicious with the apple and vegan sausage.
  • Mushrooms: Sliced or crumbled sauteed mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, etc.) will add a tender, savory, umami-rich addition to the vegan stuffing recipe.
  • Chestnuts: For extra texture. I like to use canned chestnuts, finely chopped.
  • Red pepper flakes: To add some spice to the vegan sausage stuffing, feel free to add a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes.
  • Nutmeg: Just a pinch for depth.

How to Make Vegan Stuffing for Thanksgiving?

Spend just 15 minutes prepping this vegan sourdough stuffing before it’s ready to pop in the oven to bake until perfectly moist inside and crispy on the outside.

  • 1) First, dice the baguettes and spread them across large baking pans to dry out overnight.
diced sourdough baguette spread out on a baking tray
  • 2) The next day, preheat the oven to 350F/175C, then bake the bread for 8-10 minutes before removing it from the oven and setting it aside.
  • 3) Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and apple and slice the celery. Then, heat the vegan butter in a large skillet and add the chopped ingredients and vegan sausage (if using). Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
process of veggies and vegan sausage being added to pan
  • 4) Then, stir in the sage, rosemary, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute before transferring the mixture to a 9×13-inch casserole dish along with the bread.
  • 5) Stir in the parsley and cranberries, drizzle over the broth, and mix well.

The mixture should be moist but not overly soggy. If it’s too dry, add more broth. If it’s too wet, add more bread.

  • 6) Finally, cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

For a crispier/darker top, broil the sourdough stuffing right at the end.

FAQs

Is stuffing vegan?

Traditional stuffing may include meat-based broth, dairy butter, and sometimes meat. However, this easy sourdough stuffing is 100% free from animal products without missing out on taste or texture.

How to make gluten-free vegan stuffing?

Making this recipe gluten-free is as simple as using gluten-free bread and vegan sausage.

Can I use dried herbs?

Yes, but adjust the amount. I’d recommend using ½ the amount of dried herbs.

Can I substitute the vegan sausage?

If you want a plant-based protein but want to avoid processed ingredients, canned lentils could be the best option. It results in super hearty and nutrient-dense plant-based stuffing. Alternatively, mushrooms cooked down with some sage will brown and become tender for a slightly lighter dish.

How to dry out bread for stuffing?

This vegan stuffing recipe is perfect for using that day or two-old bread starting to dry out but not yet stale. If it’s not already dry, follow the recipe for how I dry it out in time.

Can I make stuffing in a crock pot?

While the consistency won’t be the same (the top won’t be crispy), it should work. Start by sauteing the ingredients in a pan as written. But rather than transferring everything to an oven dish, press it into the bottom of your slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours.

As a bonus, you can also keep the sourdough stuffing warm in a crockpot for several hours (whether or not you initially made it in it).

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Adjust the amount of liquid: Too little, and the stuffing will be dry. Too much, and it won’t crisp up on the outside. You need it so the mixture holds its shape when molded, and the bread is moist but does not leak excess liquid (including when squeezed). Adjust the amount of broth (or bread) accordingly.
  • To save time: You may be able to purchase pre-chopped onion/celery.
  • Don’t use overly stale bread: The key to the best vegan stuffing is dry bread rather than super stale bread, so day old works fine, but if it’s actually stale, the texture won’t be right.
completed The Best Vegan Stuffing against a white surface

Storage Recommendations

Store: Allow the vegan/vegetarian stuffing to cool and store it, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Allow it to cool and store in a Ziplock/Stasher for up to 4 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheat: Transfer the vegan stuffing to an oven-safe dish and bake at 350F/175C until warm (15-20 minutes). For smaller portions, you can reheat it, covered, using a microwave at 50% power. You may need to add an extra splash of broth to keep the vegetarian stuffing from drying out.

Can I Make Vegan Stuffing Ahead?

While I think this vegan dressing is best warm from the oven, it’s make-ahead and freezer friendly. There are several ways to do so.

Prep ahead: Chop all the veggies a day in advance and store them in A Ziplock/Stasher bag or even go as far as sautéing them 1-2 days in advance.

Fully assembled: You can assemble and freeze the unbaked stuffing. Then simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and bake. Alternatively, bake it entirely, freeze it (as written in the section above), and then thaw and reheat.

If you’re purposefully baking it ahead, you might want to underbake it by a few minutes to avoid overbaking it when reheating.

Serving Suggestions

This vegan sausage stuffing is a must-have on your Thanksgiving and Christmas table, perfect for serving alongside your favorite sides like

More Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

If you try this simple vegan stuffing recipe, I’d love to know what you think in the comments below. I’d also really appreciate a recipe card rating!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

The Best Vegan Stuffing

4.97 from 57 votes
Prep: 8 hours 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
The best vegan stuffing (GF optional) is moist inside and crispy on top, hearty, wholesome, satisfying, and flavorful – perfect for impressing the entire family over the holidays!

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ sourdough baguettes, diced
  • cup of vegan butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large granny smith apple, diced
  • 2 links of your favorite vegan sausage (diced)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of chopped fresh sage
  • 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
  • cup minced fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cups of vegetable broth

Instructions 

  • In a large half sheet baking pan, spread out the diced baguette and allow to dry out overnight.
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegan butter. Add the onion, celery, apple, and vegan sausage (if using), and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in sage, rosemary, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish along with the bread.
  • Stir in parsley, and cranberries, and drizzle the vegetable broth. Mix well.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Notes

  • Adjust the amount of liquid: Too little, and the stuffing will be dry. Too much, and it won’t crisp up on the outside. You need it so the mixture holds its shape when molded, and the bread is moist but does not leak excess liquid (including when squeezed). Adjust the amount of broth (or bread) accordingly.
  • To save time: You may be able to purchase pre-chopped onion/celery.
  • Don’t use overly stale bread: The key to the best vegan stuffing is dry bread rather than super stale bread, so day old works fine, but if it’s actually stale, the texture won’t be right.

Nutrition

Calories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 7gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 2gSodium: 754mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 4gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 524IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 95mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: christmas, cranberries, dairy free, holidays, meat free, simple recipes, stuffing recipes, thanksgiving, vegan holidays, vegan stuffing, vegan thanksgiving stuffing, vegetarian stuffing
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

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Comments

  1. I love having a vegan option as I continue to adjust to a forced vegan diet due to a tick bite (hecking alpha-gal syndrome)!

  2. 5 stars
    i love this plant based stuffing recipe great alternative for family members who need a plant based alternative