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
Test Kitchen Notes
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&M —The Editors
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.
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.
In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
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.
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface.