This vegetarian stuffing is the perfect side dish to share with loved ones for a memorable holiday feast or a cozy family dinner.
You’ll love its rustic, hearty, and homey flavors and the combination of soft and crunchy textures. Every bite is a celebration of tradition and comfort.
Our vegetarian stuffing recipe combines crunchy bread with aromatic herbs and a flavorful mirepoix of vegetables. It’s easy to put together and bake in a casserole dish.
Table of Contents
Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet, provided you use gluten-free bread.
You can make this vegetarian and vegan stuffing in a casserole dish, bake it in the oven, and serve it as a delicious savory side dish next to your centerpiece meal.
For example, suppose you are making this for Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, or any other special holiday dinner.
Also, since vegetarian stuffing is made primarily with toasted bread and herbs, we recommend serving it with another side dish, such as roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or a refreshing kale salad.
Nevertheless, you and your guests will love this recipe because it’s flavorful and fulfilling, combines soft and crunchy textures, and has a cozy rustic and aromatic feel that makes you feel like everything will be alright.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
We recommend a combination of white and whole-grain bread for the best and richest flavor. Also, combining two breads makes the stuffing more interesting from a texture perspective.
Avoid sandwich bread as it gets too mushy when mixed with the broth.
Pick something with more crust, like an artisanal loaf, a Tuscan or Italian load, or anything crusty.
You can use fresh bread, which is easier to cut, or day-old bread. The bread must be cut into dice and toasted in the oven or air fryer.
Substitute gluten-free bread to make gluten-free stuffing.
Olive oil, or even better extra virgin olive oil, is what we use to cook the vegetables.
Substitute melted butter, vegan butter, or avocado oil for olive oil.
Tip: extra virgin olive oil is the healthier option.
We recommend yellow or white onion, celery, carrot, and leek, chopped and gently cooked in olive oil until soft.
This combination of veggies adds the most flavor, and although some recipes don’t add carrots and leeks, we surely recommend them.
Italian herbs should be used in stuffing. We combine a rosemary sprig, fresh sage leaves, and dried or fresh thyme.
You can use fresh or dried herbs. If you use fresh, make sure to chop the herbs finely with a knife before you mix them with the vegetables.
Also, you’ll want to add a couple of cloves of garlic. You can mince, chop, grate, or press the garlic. Our advice is to stick to fresh garlic and avoid garlic powder.
Finally, we recommend adding fresh parsley – Italian or flat-leaf is best.
Since this is a vegetarian stuffing recipe, we use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Using vegetable broth is an excellent way to make the recipe vegetarian and vegan-friendly and reduce meat consumption easily and painlessly.
Salt & Pepper
Adjust the amount of sea salt or kosher salt and black pepper to your liking.
Note: We don’t use eggs in this recipe. If you want to, whisk a couple in the vegetable broth.
How to make vegetarian stuffing
US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
1. Toast the bread
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.
Cut the bread into small bite-size pieces with a bread knife, and toast it until it’s dry and crunchy.
You can toast the bread in an air fryer, in 2 batches, at 320°F or 160°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
Or you can arrange it on a baking tray and bake at 350°F or 180°F for about 8 to 10 minutes or until dry. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl.
2. Cook the vegetables
Next, you’ll want to chop onion, carrot, and celery finely. You can do so by hand with a chef’s knife, or you can use a food processor.
For the leek, though, it is best to cut it in half lengthwise first, rinse its layers under water to remove dirt, and then slice it with a knife.
Tip: hand-cut veggies have a more pleasant texture, but if you are short on time, processed vegetables are also fine.
Now, heat the oil (or melt the butter) in a large skillet, add the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and leek, season them with salt and black pepper, and cook them on medium heat for 10 minutes or until they are soft.
Add minced garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme (remember to chop the herbs if they are fresh) and cook for 2 more minutes or until you smell the fragrant aroma of the garlic.
3. Mix the bread and the veggies
Add the vegetables, chopped parsley, and half the vegetable broth to the large bowl with the toasted bread.
Toss until well combined, adding more broth as required, then taste and adjust for salt and black pepper.
The bread should be soft but not completely soaked in the broth.
Tip: If you use a good quality artisanal crusty bread, you’ll need all the broth. If you use white supermarket bread, you’ll need less.
4. Bake the stuffing
Transfer the bread mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish or baking dish (we use a 9×13-inch Pyrex dish).
Bake in the lowest rack of your oven at 350°F or 180°C for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crunchy.
Tip: this shouldn’t happen, but if the top of your stuffing browns too fast, you can cover it with foil but make a couple of holes for the steam to escape.
Vegetarian stuffing is the perfect side dish for larger family meals and holiday dinners. You can put it in the center of the table and let your guests help themselves.
Also, don’t forget to pair it with other festive side dishes, like:
- Sautéed green beans or Air-fried green beans.
- Fennel orange salad or Pear and orange salad.
- Roasted sweet potatoes or Mashed sweet potatoes.
- Shaved Brussels sprout salad or Rainbow Kale salad.
- Roasted carrots or Roasted carrots and potatoes.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts or Roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots.
More Thanksgiving sides
Make a memorable Thanksgiving feast with these colorful side dishes:
- Mashed potatoes or cauliflower mashed potatoes.
- Vegan sweet potato casserole.
- Roasted butternut squash or Roasted Kabocha squash.
- Mushroom gravy or Roasted vegetables.
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
Sandwich Bread vs Crusty Bread: avoid sandwich bread (too mushy) and opt for crusty bread, artisanal bread, or sourdough bread. Mix two bread types, one white and one whole grain, for best results.
Fresh vs Stale Bread: stable bread (even one-day-old bread) is harder to cut into bread cubes, so we don’t recommend it. It’s faster and safer to use fresh bread, cut it into dice with a serrated knife, and toast it in the oven or air fryer until dry.
Storage & Make Ahead
Make ahead: the best way to make stuffing ahead of time is to prepare the ingredients a day or two before your dinner, then assemble and bake them on the day of the dinner. For example, you can toast the bread and cook the veggies up to 3 days before.
We don’t recommend cooking the stuffing the day before because you’ll have to store it in the fridge. The stuffing will get soggy and cold, and reheating it will take about the same time as baking it from scratch, but the result is much worse.
Refrigerator: transfer the stuffing to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, wrap the casserole dish and keep it in the refrigerator.
Freezer: let the stuffing cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw and reheat: defrost in the fridge over several hours. Reheat in the oven if you want to make it crunchy again or in the microwave for a few minutes, but it won’t get crunchy.
Are you looking for a dessert to end your dinner with a bang? Here are some of our favorites. You can make them from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
- 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or oven dish (about 22 x 33 cm), we use a Pyrex oven dish
- 22 ounces crusty bread about 12 cups, diced. Try to use half white and half whole-grain bread.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 1 leek sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon rosemary dried or fresh chopped
- 1 teaspoon sage dried or fresh chopped
- ½ teaspoon thyme dried or fresh chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups vegetable broth more or less depending on your bread
- 3 tablespoons parsley fresh, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.Cut 22 ounces crusty bread into small cubes and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until dry. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 3 stalks celery (all chopped), and 1 leek (cut in half lengthwise and sliced).Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and cook for 10 minutes until soft.Add 4 cloves garlic (minced), 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon sage, ½ teaspoon thyme, and cook 2 more minutes.
- To the bowl with the bread, add the cooked veggies, 3 tablespoons parsley (chopped) and 3 cups vegetable broth.Toss until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled oven dish and bake at 350°F or 180°C for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crisp on top.
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