What We Call Stuffing: Challah, Mushroom, and Celery

By • November 3, 2009 • 117 Comments

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Author Notes: Our holiday entertaining guest list includes a number of vegetarians. I make every effort to have many Thanksgiving standards in a vegetarian form. In this case, I use homemade challah, cut it into cubes, and then let the bread cubes sit out on the counter for a couple of days to get a little stale. I also use only mushroom stems in this stuffing, just as a matter of economy. The caps are sauteed in butter and dusted with cayenne, then set aside for mushroom gravy, another vegetarian option.MrsWheelbarrow

Food52 Review: No one would ever guess that this is a vegetarian stuffing, and why should it matter? It's rich yet light and teeming with fresh herbs -- a wonderful dish for everyone. Most memorable of all is its texture -- the challah soaks up the vegetable broth and melted butter and then puffs up in the oven, creating a stuffing with a thick, crisp top and fluffy, almost pudding-like interior. We baked it in a large cast-iron skillet because we didn't have right casserole dish. The stuffing didn't suffer a bit -- in fact, it looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 12

  • 1 large loaf of challah or brioche
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups cremini mushroom, diced
  • 8-10 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Cut the challah into 1" cubes. Leave the cubes out on a parchment lined sheet pan on the counter to get stale, at least overnight, and preferably 2 days.
  2. Melt 3 oz. of butter in a large heavy saute pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
  4. Press stuffing into a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment, and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface.
Jump to Comments (117)

Tags: can be made ahead, challah, comfort food, family, hearty, Holidays, stuffing, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Comments (117) Questions (2)

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17 days ago ChiFoodLover

I couldn't wait to make this recipe and everyone loved it. It was absolutely DELICIOUS and will always be part of our meal. Thank you!

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17 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

How wonderful! Thank you for telling me!

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21 days ago Diana Davies

Thank you for this recipe, it was delicious!! I made my own challah bread 2 days prior, and added some pork sausage, and it was amazing!

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21 days ago Agnes

fantastic recipe! i made this the night before and it allowed the stuffing to soak in the flavors more.

Stringio

23 days ago Marianna Cohen

Why the parchment paper? Is it critical to outcome?

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23 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The parchment keeps the stuffing moist while it cooks, also helps it get puffy. Removing it at the end crisps the top.

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23 days ago ACK Kitchen

Can I make this up to the point of baking and refridge overnight? Have made this several years in a row to raves, but have yet to make it ahead! Fingers crossed!

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23 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I have never made this up ahead of time. I do cook the onions, celery and mushrooms ahead so all I have to do is stir it together and bake it the next day. If you want to do it a day ahead, I would bake it so it doesn't get soggy.

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23 days ago ACK Kitchen

Thank you for your quick response! Just getting the onions,etc. ready sounds perfect - I will follow your method!!

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20 days ago Rhonda35

I mixed everything together the day before and baked it on Thanksgiving Day - turned out great - soft and moist inside and crispy/crunchy on top. Thanks for the recipe, Mrs. Wheelbarrow!

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26 days ago Samantha

What do you think about adding dried cranberries to this recipe? Would the flavors work together or not? I don't want to ruin it.

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23 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm not a dried fruit in stuffing person, so probably the wrong person to ask. :)

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26 days ago Musebe

Would it possible to make this 1 day in advance and reheat before serving the next day?

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23 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I have never made this up ahead of time. I do cook the onions, celery and mushrooms ahead so all I have to do is stir it together and bake it the next day. If you want to do it a day ahead, I would bake it so it doesn't get soggy.

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26 days ago Nennie B.

Two crazy family members who don't like mushrooms (come on people!) ;)
Can you simply omit or will the recipe be too watery then??

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26 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Nennie - Sure, you can omit them, but why not make two versions? Stir the stuffing together without the shrooms, pack half into a baking dish, add the shrooms and pack the other half in another baking dish?

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26 days ago Nennie B.

Good thinking! Thanks for the reply. Have a great holiday.

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about 1 month ago April Linton

What is a "large" challah or brioche? Weight please? Thanks.

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about 1 month ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

You'll want about 8 cups of bread cubes. I don't know the weight, sorry! I would say two of the Trader Joe's loaves.

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about 1 month ago katie

Not to belabor the bread amount point, but I suppose I will since it feels important. I bought two large, 15 oz Whole Foods challah loaves. When I cut up one I have 15 cups of bread cubes, which is almost twice what you suggest. Just below this comment someone said she halved the original recipe and used one Whole Foods challah loaf and it was the perfect recipe. Yikes! Which is it?

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about 1 month ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Honestly. I've always used my own challah loaves, about 24" long and quite dense and heavy. Please refer to the Not Recipes articLe I posted this week. Maybe this will help? When I make it next, I will measure and adjust the recipe.

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26 days ago April Linton

I made half the recipe with a 16-oz challah and the proportions were just right.

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about 1 month ago toral

I want to half this recipe (will only have one vegetarian at the table this year). How long should I cook it for and at what temp? Thanks!

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about 1 month ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Cook the same amount of time, at the same temperature, but use a smaller 8x8 pan.

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about 1 month ago toral

Thank you! I did exactly that when I made it last night for my friendsgiving dinner. Came out delicious and the smell of all those herbs - amazing!

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about 1 month ago toral

Also, I used one loaf of the Whole Foods challah bread (weights 16 oz) to make half the recipe and it was the perfect ratio.

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12 months ago Tara

Made this over the weekend and while the flavor was great, the stuffing was really, really wet. I'm guessing my "large" loaf of brioche wasn't quite large enough so the bread:broth ratio was off. Will definitely try again with less broth!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Joe Deane

Robyn, I use olive oil with excellent results.

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about 1 year ago Robyn

Can I use olive oil or something other than butter?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Robyn, I understand the desire to reduce the fats in this recipe, but the butter really makes it. Because there is no meat, sausage, oyster or bacon, the stuffing really requires the flavor of butter. Nevertheless, if you want to try it with all or part olive oil, give it a try and please let us know!

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about 1 year ago EmilyC

I made your dressing for the first time this year -- so, so good. I love how simple yet complex it is. And I love how generous you are with the butter -- really makes a difference in the taste! It's going to be my new go-to recipe for the holidays, so thank you!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Emily! This makes me very happy.

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Emily! This makes me so happy! Especially now that we've met in person.

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about 1 year ago Debora Morgan

This is the second year I've been making your recipe and I LOVE it! The best stuffing I've ever had :) I always use shallots for the onions, portabellas for the mushrooms, and sometimes add panchetta. Thanks for sharing!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm thrilled! And love the substitutions and additions. This year, I rehydrated about 1/2 cup of dried porcini and added the liquid and the chopped mushrooms. It was terrific.

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about 1 year ago Gabbie Tanella

I made this stuffing for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was a huge hit! My family was skeptical (the typical yet uninspiring "Stovetop Stuffing" is the only stuffing they've known) but they loved it! I purchased two packaged challah rolls from Whole Foods and used 1.5 of it; I also used half the amount of stock (didn't have vegetable, but used homemade bone broth) and it was nothing short of excellent. While making it, I did notice that there was more butter included than I'm used to, but after I tasting it that idea escaped my mind. I would definitely make this again... maybe with a little less butter but we'll see ;) Thanks for such an awesome recipe; it made my family happy and that makes me happy!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm happy, too! I'm so glad you liked it.

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about 1 year ago Joe Deane

I used olive oil and light chicken stock and stuffed a 15lb bird. Worked very well. Also I used sage for my main herb.

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about 1 year ago RuthF

We loved it as well but I think it would also be delicious with a little less butter.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Joe Deane

I would put the dressing in the turkey without baking the dressing first. Is that correct?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Yes, uncooked stuffing goes inside the turkey.

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about 1 year ago Lani Turner

Can I cook this in a slow cooker (crockpot)? How would I need to change the recipe?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm not sure you would get the nice crispy topping --- I've never made stuffing in a crockpot!

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about 1 year ago allison williams

My local whole foods has challah loaves that are 15 oz each. This feels like very little bread (1 oz per person). I'm guessing I should use more challah, but not sure how to judge how much.. is there an amount of 'wetness' I should go for?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I make my own challah and each loaf is about 2 pounds, so plan on two of the WF challah for one recipe.

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about 1 year ago Joe Deane

Could you stuff a turkey with this if you wanted to?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I see no reason why not.

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about 1 year ago Christy Dunn

Do you use salted or unsalted butter? I'm really looking forward to making this for Thanksgiving this year! Thanks!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I always use unsalted butter.

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about 1 year ago Belle

Thank you for your response. One other question: Do you think I can make this a few days ahead of time and bake on the day of?

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about 1 year ago Cathy Barrow

I make all the components up to three days in advance then pull it together on Thanksgiving.

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about 1 year ago Rhonda35

As long as you aren't putting it in the turkey ahead of time, you're fine. You can assemble it, cover, store in fridge and bake off on Thanksgiving day. (Bring it to room temperature first if you want the timing in the recipe to be accurate.)

Stringio

about 1 year ago Joe Deane

I would put the dressing in the turkey without baking the dressing first. Is that correct?

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about 1 year ago Belle

Hi I am planning to make this for Thanksgiving. Can you tell me what you mean by 1 large loaf of challah? Our bakery has the large round and also the long braided. Which one of these should I buy and also should I have the baker slice it or do you mean cube the challah with its original thickness. Thank you.

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about 1 year ago Cathy Barrow

Either if those loaves should work well, but I would use the long braided for more crust. Get it sliced, then cube the slices... It's easier and saves a step!

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almost 2 years ago Lorey21

I made this stuffing for our family Christmas dinner. I subbed portabella for the cremini mushrooms, but otherwise followed the recipe. It surpassed my expectations & was by far the best stuffing I've ever made.
Thank-you MrsWheelbarrow !

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almost 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thank you, Lorey21. I'm so glad you made and enjoyed the stuffing. We love it, too, and I'll admit to making small batches throughout the year. Happy New Year!

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about 2 years ago JadeTree

Thanksgiving success! This was tender, herbaceous and crisp on top. Yum. Did make some changes. To my surprise, our matriarch does not like mushrooms (?!) so omitted those and added toasted pecans (Southerners, here) and sautéed pears (about five smallish Boscs). It was delicious and very gracious about changes, as you say! Now, I do think I will make it with the mushrooms another day to give it more heft. The pears were meting and sweet and I recommend them, but I have to say that I want to make this completely savory next time, just because. Thank you!

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm thrilled you liked the stuffing, and think the pear/pecan additions sound delicious!

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about 2 years ago sega10028

Hi -- I made this this weekend but it didn't puff up at all. I used brioche instead of challah (read online that they're similar), and dried the cubes for 4 days beforehand. I used about a loaf and a half (the loaves looked just like the braided challah loaves in the US). Used 3 cups of broth as directed, but when I added it, the bread became quite mushy. Any guess as to why it didn't puff? I'm wondering if I had too high a liquid-bread ratio. Besides that, the flavor was perfect. Just trying to figure out how to adjust it for the next time :)

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

My guess is the brioche was not as large as a challah, so the ratio was off. You may need one and a half brioche? Or less broth?

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about 2 years ago Tara Offenberger

Do you think adding some TART apples would be a nice touch?

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Tara, I am not a fan of apples and mushrooms together, so I might do one or the other. But that's just me! This is a great stuffing that takes to adding, subtracting and multiplying ingredients.

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about 2 years ago ChocolateDiva

If you wanted to make ahead perhaps after the 45-55 minutes you could take it out of the oven and finish the final 10-15, which of course would be longer from the frig, the next day. What do you think??

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Worth a try! It's a very forgiving stuffing. I chop the veg the day ahead and find that putting it together is very quick, so I've never bothered making it the day before

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almost 3 years ago Kathy Cooks

This was by far the best stuffing I've ever had and the easiest to cook! Thank you so much for sharing this...I will always be eternally grateful!

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almost 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

So glad! Happy holidays!

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about 3 years ago ATG117

Stuffing was phenomenal, even a few days later. I could not make it home for Thanksgiving, but I sent my mom this recipe when she told me she was looking for one. Finally tasted the leftovers she sent me over the weekend. A definite keeper.

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about 3 years ago jonahgail

BEST STUFFING EVER !!!! This will now be the go-to stuffing for Thanksgiving ! Noone even complained that I didn't stuff the turkey, since this stuffing was so moist ! Thanks !

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about 3 years ago danasaur

Hi!

Just wondering about how much bread you use. I bought two smaller challah loaves from trader joes, a pound each. Do you think one is enough or should I use both?

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about 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'd start with one loaf and be prepared to add about half of the other loaf if it doesn't fill up your pan!

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about 3 years ago ACK Kitchen

Can I prepare this today; fridge it, then bake it up tomorrow pre-turkey?

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about 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I usually saute the vegetables the day before and then assemble the stuffing right before baking. However, that's not to say your method won't work. I am a creature of habit!

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about 4 years ago Midge

Once again, this stuffing was by far the best thing on our Thanksgiving table. Thanks so much MrsW.

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about 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

This is the best stuffing we've ever made. Seriously, Cathy, wow. I used Farmstead's bacon challah bread and subbed leeks for the onion, plus I added some chopped celery leaves and savory to the herb mixture since I had them around. The texture was incredible, and the flavor was out of this world. Mike is already begging me to make it again. Thanks for inspiring our new go-to version!

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about 4 years ago Viviane

Well, I did it in the cast iron skillet after all w/o sausage and it was dynamite. Thank you so much for your help. I finally have a studding recipe that I and guests love so now I can stop looking.

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about 4 years ago TakeThymeToCook

Favorite new recipe. Had to work with potato bread because of limited groceries in store where I live but worked great! Was a little worried when it came out looking pretty wet still, but the butter re-formed and it was a big hit at thanksgiving potluck. Also great leftovers in an omelet. Two thumbs up :)

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about 4 years ago sticksnscones

Your stuffing was the favorite at our Thanksgiving table. Instead of mushrooms I added sauteed leeks, apples and chestnuts....delish. Baking in a cast-iron skillet gave it the crunchy crust it deserved. It will be put in the "favorite" file for stuffing! Thanks for such a great recipe.

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Really glad you liked it. I agree, since A&M made this in a skillet last year, I've done the same. Crispy!

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Everyone really loved your stuffing today, especially the kids! I added an apple and dried apricots in place of the mushrooms as a couple people weren't mushroom lovers. Wonderful recipe, Cathy!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Really glad you liked it, Suzanne. Happy T'giving to you and yours.

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about 4 years ago SugarDumplin'

Made it today...loved it... Thank You!!!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Happy Thanksgiving!

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about 4 years ago cara

Some of my thyme sprigs are 7 + inches and some are only 2 inches--what are we talking here as far as the amount that should og into this dish? Any help would be appreciated as I don't want anyone to od on thyme at the table!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I would guesstimate a healthy tablespoon - maybe a little more.

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about 4 years ago Viviane

OK I am making it on the grill in the cast iron skillet, but I also am going to make some in the slow cooker. If I add turkey sausage can I use turkey or chicken broth instead of vegetable broth.

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

When my mother made this stuffing, she used sausage and turkey broth! I adjusted the recipe to suit my mostly vegetarian husband.

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about 4 years ago Viviane

Why do you think so? Is it the challah bread ? I have seen quite a number of stuffing recipes that indicate a slow cooker can be used and reviews have been stellar!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I love the crusty outsides - maybe the slow cooker would do it? Give it a try and let me know, please. I would love more oven space.

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about 4 years ago Viviane

Do you think it would work if you used a slow cooker aka crockpot instead of baking it in the oven? I have space issues and I wanted to use my crockpot.

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Viviane, I think you need the oven for this, not a slow cooker.

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about 4 years ago cara

You can buy a roaster ($40.00) instead of a slow cooker and that works much more akin to a real oven. I just plan on cooking it in my roaster until the last 15 minutes when it needs crisping . Then I am going to pop it in the oven because the turkey will already be outta there.That's my plan and I am sticking to it! We have space issues as well and the roaster seems to be a good fix for those few days a year when we need a second oven.

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about 4 years ago kathleen_quarino_alexander

add some diced, peeled apples sprinkled with lemon juice, and this is our traditional stuffing.

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about 4 years ago sticksnscones

I'm planning on adding this to the menu for Thanksgiving. I already have a mushroom-heavy menu so was wondering if you have ever made any variations. I was thinking of using chestnuts and apples...
Any thoughts?

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Over the years, I've tried a zillion combinations - apples, pears, dried apricots, prunes, walnuts, pecans, etc. Also some carnivorous versions with sausages, bacon. And oysters once! The chestnut/apple idea sounds delicious.

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm planning on making your stuffing for Thanksgiving this year! Can't wait to try it. Happy Thanksgiving!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Suzanne - I'm so glad! Someday I hope we get to meet. I think we would have a great time cooking together. Happy Thanksigving! Best, Cathy

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about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I also hope we have a chance to meet someday! I would love to cook together. Occasionally we get to DC area. I'll reach out to you the next time we get out there and see if we can connect!

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'll look forward to that!

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about 4 years ago Midge

I'm reminded that I made this for Thanksgiving last year -- to rave reviews -- and plan on it again this year. Can't wait actually.

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about 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Midge, thanks so much. It's going to be on our Thanksgiving table, too. As usual!

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about 5 years ago rachmcc

Made this yesterday for Thanksgiving - loved it! Thanks for the great recipe!

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about 5 years ago healthierkitchen

I made your stuffing yesterday to bring to Thanksgiving dinner and it was a huge success! Absolutely delicious. There wasn't a speck left and I made a double batch. Thanks!

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about 5 years ago QueenOfGreen

Mmm. You know this is going to be good when you're tempted to pick it out of the bowl and eat it before it's even baked! Not long now...

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about 5 years ago Rhonda35

Do you think this could be made ahead, frozen, then baked off the day you want to serve it?

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about 5 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I've never made it that far in advance. I usually chop and saute all the vegetables the day before, and then put the stuffing together on Thanksgiving morning.

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about 5 years ago Renée (RJ Flamingo) Joslyn

This sounds flavorful and fragrant! I'm not vegetarian, but I don't like a lot of "stuff" (e.g., sausage, seafood, etc.) in my stuffing, and this would be perfect.

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about 5 years ago mama iris

nothing bette than challah stuffing - we make enough to stuff the turkey AND bake some leftovers in a skillet.

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about 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Like everyone else here, I LOVE challah. I haven't made it in awhile and this has seriously motivated me to make some. And make this wonderful sounding stuffing!

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about 5 years ago Experimental Culinary Pursuits

As a vegetarian, I am seriously drooling right now! I love the challah - seems to give the traditional bread a sweeter twist, and all the savory herbs and veggie combinations you have is just delectable!

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about 5 years ago mariaraynal

We serve vegetarians at Thanksgiving as well, and this recipe is inspiring. I, too, love the challah and skillet ideas.

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about 5 years ago pauljoseph

I will try to cook this tomorrow.

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about 5 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

This looks fantastic and I love the use of challah. The skillet is a nice touch, too.

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about 5 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm making this in a skillet this year, for sure. Great presentation.

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about 5 years ago menumaniac

Mrs. Wheelbarrow - this is my kind of stuffing. Similar to the wild mushroom and leek recipe that I submitted. I use a sourdough but just might have to try challah next time.

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about 5 years ago WinnieAb

I love stuffing with challah...this looks great!

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

about 5 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The recipe for challah can be found on my blog http://tinyurl.com/yhmabf8...