This vegan stuffing isn’t missing any meaty flavor, thanks to two kinds of mushrooms, cheesy nutritional yeast, and briny ground nori. Between the chewy shiitakes and jagged croutons, there’s tons of textural interest. Use best-quality extra-virgin olive oil here and don’t skimp—it’s key to bringing out all those savory flavors. I prefer a crusty loaf for this stuffing, for its fluffy-meets-hardy contrast. Try something like sourdough, country loaf, or miche.
My stuffing formula is simple: First, make crisp croutons out of any bread by cutting it up, tossing it with seasonings, and baking until dry and crunchy (just like that stuff in the box!). This adds a base layer of flavor and allows the bread to drink up even more tasty broth. You can make the croutons up to 1 week in advance, so come Turkey Day you have less to worry about.
Next, add fast-cooking or par-cooked mix-ins. Much like a strata or frittata, the mix-ins will just be warmed through in the stuffing. Dense veggies (like raw potato or squash) and raw meats (like ground beef or sausage) won’t have time to cook through. Instead try quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, corn, or shredded Brussels sprouts, or precooked ingredients like hunks of mortadella and wilted onions.
Finally, bring on the moisture with a flavorful chicken broth, vegetable stock, dashi, or milk. You want to add enough to hydrate every crouton without leaving a soggy puddle behind. Following these steps, you’ll never need a stuffing/dressing recipe again, but here’s one for you to try anyway. (And okay, here’s one more: my Cornbread Stuffing, but Make It Taco.) —Sohla El-Waylly
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 2 hours 15 minutes
- Serves 8 to 10
large sheets roasted nori
loaf (20 ounces) crusty bread, torn into 1 to 1 ½-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
neutral oil (like safflower or grapeseed), divided
kosher salt, divided, plus more
3 1/2 ounces
(3 cups) whole dried shiitake mushrooms
cremini or button mushrooms, washed, stems trimmed, and quartered
Freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and chopped
scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
Good extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
- Heat oven to 325°F. Tear the nori into pieces and blitz in a spice grinder or blender until mostly fine, like nutritional yeast flakes.
- Spread the bread onto a sheet tray, drizzle with 4 tablespoons of oil, and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast, half of the ground nori, ½ teaspoon salt, and toss to evenly coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Bake, tossing once during cooking, until toasty and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes. Once the bread is out of the oven, increase oven temperature to 375°F.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the shiitakes, 8 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the shiitakes are tender and the liquid is flavorful, about 30 minutes.
- Strain the shiitake broth into a 4-cup measuring cup. Once the shiitakes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the creminis and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrunken and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (If at any point there’s too much browning on the bottom of the skillet, add a splash of water and scrape it up with a wooden spoon.)
- Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook until the mushrooms are deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ½ cup of shiitake broth to the pan and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the croutons to a big bowl and scrape the cooked cremini mixture on top. Add the sliced shiitakes, the remaining ground nori, and toss everything to combine. Add enough shiitake broth to make the bread moist but not soggy (you may not use it all—but if you need more, add water as needed). Toss to combine and taste the mixture, add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the mixture to a 3- to 4-quart casserole dish.
- Bake until steamy and brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Serve warm or hot. Just before serving, sprinkle with the scallions and drizzle olive oil on top.