What’s the difference between Stuffing and Dressing ?
- Stuffing is a mixture made to stuff another food, but the only thing getting stuffed with this is my mouth and my belly.
- Dressing is a dish cooked separately as a side dish or as a compliment to the main dish, so technically this is what this really is.
Stuffing Ingredients Notes
- The Bread: make sure to use a whole grain crusty loaf that will hold up to all the veggie and broth. No potato bread, no brioche, nothing flimsy.
- Veggies & Herbs: go all out with leeks, celery, carrot, bell pepper, sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary. Although you can use dry herbs instead of fresh I think you shouldn’t. There is nothing like that fresh herb fragrance permeating your kitchen during the holidays.
- Veggie Stock: use your favorite store bough stock or better yet, make my instant veggie stock featured in the recipe card below. Seriously, you don’t need to ever buy broth again.
Yes you can prep the stuffing / dressing the day before. Toast the bread and cook all the veggies ahead of time but make sure to store them separately until needed. Veggies in the fridge and the bread on the kitchen counter. On Thanksgiving day simply mix everything with the broth and bake in the oven according to recipe instructions.
Don’t Forget to Dry the Bread!
- Toasting – my favorite quick and easy method. Just throw the bread cubes under the broiler for a couple of minutes, toss once and you are done.
- Baking – this is also an option. Bake the bread cubes at low heat between 250”F -300”F for approximately 45 minutes until nice and toasty.
- Air Dry – alternatively you can leave the bread cubes on the kitchen counter overnight to dry out at room temperature. This works fine but definitely not as great as toasting in my opinion.
Stuffing Add Ins & Serving Ideas
Why you’ll love it…
- pure vegetarian a.k.a vegan
- perfectly moist but not soggy
- traditional homemade
- loaded with flavor
- easy to make
- dairy & egg free.
How to Make Classic Bread Stuffing for Thanksgiving & Christmas
- Start with fresh leeks instead of onion and cook them low and slow until caramelized together with celery, carrot and bell peppers. We are after big flavors here and patience is key.
- Use a nice crusty loaf of whole grain bread and make sure to toast or dry it very well before using.
- Go for lots of fragrant fresh herbs: sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary are classics but feel free to use only your very favorites here.
Classic Bread Stuffing
- 1 small loaf crusty whole wheat bread 8-9 cups
- 2 carrots diced or sliced into rounds
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 red bell pepper diced ( or 1 cup diced mushrooms)
- 1 large leek
- 12 sprigs thyme leaves only
- 15 -20 leaves fresh sage chopped
- 8 sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano leaves only
- 1 sprig rosemary leaves only
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (omit on WFPB & Plantricious Diets)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
Make the Veggie Stock:
- In a small bowl whisk together the hot water with the spices until combined well. Season to taste with sea salt.
Prepare the Stuffing:
- Cut the bread into 3/4 inch pieces and spread on a large baking sheet. Preheat your broiler and toast the bread cubes for a couple of minutes until golden brown on top. Carefully give them a quick toss and broil another couple of minutes until desired toastiness is achieved. Set aside to cool off.
- Slice the leek in half lengthwise then chop into small pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with cold water. Give everything a good stir and allow the leeks to sit in the bowl of water for a few minutes. Any dirt and grit will fall to the bottom and the leeks will float on top.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer the washed leeks into the skillet and add a pinch of sea salt. Saute until they start to wilt then add the celery, carrot and diced bell pepper.
- At this point you might need to add a little drop of water or a drizzle of olive oil. Continue sauteeing until the leeks begin to caramelize and the veggies have softened. Season to taste with sea salt and stir in the fresh thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram.
- In a large bowl combine the toasted bread with the vegetables and veggie stock.
- Lightly oil a large baking dish and add the stuffing mixture. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, preferably without touching the food.
- Preheat your oven to 350”F and bake the stuffing for 30 minutes. Remove the cover / lid and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes uncovered until done to your liking.
- Remove stuffing from the oven and drizzle with the olive oil.
- Serve hot with mashed potatoes and gravy.