The Best Vegan Stuffing

By Alexandra Caspero on November 12, 2021
A classic Thanksgiving stuffing, made vegan.
8-10 Servings

The BEST Vegan Stuffing! Made with homemade tempeh sausage, sautéed vegetables and sourdough bread. This stuffing is a must make for Thanksgiving and the holidays. 

If you call something the best, it has gotta be the best, right?

Well, this is the best vegan stuffing out there. Maybe the best stuffing ever? I don’t know. You be the judge.

I’ve basically taken my mom’s stuffing recipe and swapped in homemade tempeh sausage crumbles for Italian sausage. Promise me you will try these sausage crumbles, even if it’s not in this stuffing.

Ingredients for Tempeh Sausage

The secret in making the best vegan stuffing is using homemade tempeh sausage crumbles. These crumbles completely make the stuffing, so don’t skip them. 

Isa first taught my how to make them and I’ve been adding them to countless recipes ever since: pizza, pasta, egg bakes, tofu breakfast tacos– you get the drift. Adding in fennel seeds and sage make this plant-based sausage taste more like Italian sausage and less like tempeh. 

In addition to tempeh, you’ll need:

  • Spices that you likely already have in your pantry, dried basil, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes and spices that you may need to purchase, like dried fennel and sage.
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • Soy sauce
  • Maple syrup

How to make Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

Trust me that once you learn how to make these sausage crumbles, you’ll want to put them in everything. First, you’ll steam tempeh crumbles with a little water in a skillet, then add in the spices and fresh garlic cloves. 

Next, add in the soy sauce, maple syrup and oil and let cook for 5-8 minutes until browned and crispy.

The BEST Vegan Stuffing!

What Ingredients do I need to make Plant-Based Stuffing? 

Once you make the tempeh sausage crumbles, you’ll need traditional stuffing ingredients like:

  • Sourdough bread
  • Aromatics, like onion, celery stalks and carrots 
  • Dry white whine. If you don’t want to cook with alcohol, more vegetable broth will work 
  • More dried sage and dried thyme
  • Fresh Parsley 
  • Veggie broth or vegetable stock, either store bought or homemade 

How to Make the Best Vegan Stuffing

Sauté the Aromatics

First, begin by sautéing the holy trinity of carrots, onion and celery in glorious butter. Well, vegan butter. I’m obsessed with Earth Balance and use it in just about everything, but any butter will work. I prefer EB because it’s a dairy-free, non-hydrogenated margarine which means you get the non-dairy factor without any added trans-fats. Please use butter or vegan butter here; coconut oil or olive oil just doesn’t have the same taste.

Add Flavor with Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and Fresh Herbs 

Then, we fold in the tempeh sausage crumbles and lots of toasted sourdough bread. Day-old bread isn’t enough, the bread should be very dry and crouton like. To ensure that each piece is toasted enough, cube it and then bake in the oven until dried.

Next, fresh herbs are a must, so I included a heavy hand of sage, thyme and parsley. Don’t substitute dried as it won’t work the same way. Plus, it’s Thanksgiving and I think it’s OK to spend a few dollars on yummy fresh herbs; use any extras in cocktails, pasta or freeze for later.

For optimal texture, let the bread soak in the broth before baking

Lastly, add the vegetable broth and let sit to ensure that the bread soaks up everything before baking. Start slowly, you can always add more if needed. I like to begin with two cups of broth, then add a tablespoon or two at a time until perfect. The bread should be lightly moist, but not wet. If it’s too wet, it will bake into a soupy mess. It’ll still be delicious, but stuffing should be moist, not wet.

Bake in a prepared casserole dish

​Finally, add everything into a lightly greased casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for40 minutes. To finish, remove the foil and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy on top.

The BEST Vegan Stuffing!

Which bread is best?

I prefer either a sourdough loaf of french bread for this vegan stuffing recipe. You can also use a whole grain bread if you prefer. The type of bread doesn’t matter as much as making sure the bread is dried out enough to soak up the filling. If your bread is too soft, then texture of this stuffing won’t be the same. 

Can you use gluten-free bread?

To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce in the tempeh sausage crumbles recipe and use a good gluten-free bread. Most gluten-free bread doesn’t get as crusty as regular bread, but it will still work.  

Hope you love this vegan stuffing recipe as much as we do! Since we typically do a mostly plant-based Thanksgiving, I find that classic side dishes like stuffing are so easy to make vegan. With a little vegan butter, good vegetable broth, crispy tempeh sausage and lots of fresh herbs, I promise this stuffing recipe will become a must-make in your house every year.

More Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

If you’re looking for more vegan thanksgiving recipes, consider my 

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the best vegan stuffing

The Best Vegan Stuffing

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, thanksgiving, stuffing, sidedish
  • Method: oven, stovetop
  • Cuisine: vegan, thanksgiving, american

Description

Looking for the best vegan stuffing? This is it! Homemade tempeh sausage crumbles folded into a classic stuffing with sourdough bread, carrots, celery, onion, thyme and sage. Vegan.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, thanksgiving, stuffing, sidedish
  • Method: oven, stovetop
  • Cuisine: vegan, thanksgiving, american
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, thanksgiving, stuffing, sidedish
  • Method: oven, stovetop
  • Cuisine: vegan, thanksgiving, american
Scale

Ingredients

Tempeh Sausage

  • 16 ounces tempeh (from two 8 ounce packages)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage (I love Penzey Spices Rubbed Sage, can also use fresh if you don’t have dried)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Sourdough Stuffing

  • 1/2 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan (I used Earth Balance baking sticks; or regular butter for non-vegan version. Don’t substitute oil, you want the flavor of butter)
  • 1 lb. sourdough bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon salt (Earth Balance is salty, so if you use an unsalted butter, you’ll want more salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. First, heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Next, crumble the tempeh using a box grater or finely chop using a knife. Then, add to the skillet along with 1/4 cup water. Let steam until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  3. Next, add in the spices and garlic and toast for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the soy sauce, maple syrup and oil and let cook for 5-8 minutes until browned and crispy. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly butter a large (9×13″) baking dish and set aside.
  5. Then, cube bread and place in a single layer on a baking sheet (will likely need two baking sheets) and toast until dried out but not overly browned, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven.
  6. While bread is cooking, heat the butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender but not browned, about 15 minutes.
  7. Then, add the wine and scrape any browned bits that have occurred after cooking the vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until wine is mostly evaporated, about 3-4 minutes. Next, toss in sage, thyme and parsley.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  9. Then, add bread, tempeh sausage and vegetable mixture in a large bowl and add 2 cups of stock, toss well to combine. You want the bread mixture to absorb all of the broth and be “wet” but not have any visible broth in the bowl. Add the salt and pepper.
  10. Slowly add the rest of the broth, tossing every 1/4 or so until all combined. Let sit for 10 minutes until all broth is absorbed. Season, adding more salt/pepper if needed.
  11. Finally, transfer stuffing to prepared dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil, increase temperature to 425 degrees F. and bake another 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.

Notes

You can make this ahead of time for easy prep. Make as directed the day before, then cover with foil and chill in the fridge until ready to bake.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This post was first published in 2018 and updated in 2021. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Skn
      December 31, 2021 AT 3:45 pm

      Fantastic stuffing used packed tempeh bacon and worked fine

      1. Alex
        January 3, 2022 AT 7:44 am

        So glad you liked it! Thanks!

    2. Rin
      November 24, 2021 AT 6:10 pm

      I’ve made this a few years in a row and it is always the BEST. All my friends and family are in love with it and request it from me. Thank you so much!! 🙂

    3. Olivia
      November 24, 2021 AT 12:12 pm

      Amazing! I am not a vegan, but made it for Thanksgiving for my sister in law who is vegan and it’s better than any other stuffing I’ve had! I did not have to add any salt at the end as it was salty enough without.

      1. Alex
        November 24, 2021 AT 12:23 pm

        So glad to hear, thanks Olivia!

    4. Allie Buttarazzi
      November 22, 2021 AT 3:19 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I’m going to sub my homemade GF sourdough to make this Gfree, but I suspect the GF sourdough is denser and heavier than regular sourdough. How much is 1lb of regular sourdough? Is it about 1 normal sized loaf? (I’m so excited for this stuffing! It’s my first fully plant-based Thanksgiving)
      Thanks!
      Allie

      1. Alex
        November 23, 2021 AT 11:13 am

        Hi Allie, yes it’s one “normal” size loaf. As long as your loaf is a similar size, it should work!

    5. Jessi Doshier
      November 29, 2020 AT 12:02 pm

      This stuffing recipe is THE BOMB! I made it for my first vegan thanksgiving and my guests couldn’t get enough of it! My store was out of tempeh so I ended up using some other random vegan meat and it still turned out amazing. I was truly pleasantly surprised when my good friend kept raving about this stuffing because she always tells it how it is and if she doesn’t like something, you bet she’s making it known! Super happy this didn’t disappoint, thanks for the great recipe 🙂

      1. Alex
        November 30, 2020 AT 8:55 am

        So glad to hear, thanks Jessi!

    6. Dylan
      November 25, 2020 AT 4:39 pm

      Hi! Just wondering how I should heat up after putting it in the fridge the night before?

      1. Alex
        November 25, 2020 AT 6:00 pm

        Hi Dylan– heat exactly as directed in the recipe. Pull it out of the fridge with foil, then cook for ~35-40 minutes at 400F. Remove foil, increase temperature to 425 degrees F. and bake another 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.

    7. Mari Telios
      November 25, 2020 AT 8:29 am

      Where can I find the nutrition information on this recipe?

    8. Noni
      November 18, 2020 AT 5:12 pm

      Make vegan cornbread and add to the stuffing along with dried cranberries and chopped toasted pecans. So yummy

    9. Victoria
      November 16, 2020 AT 9:46 am

      I made this recipe for a Friendsgiving this past weekend. It was my first time making homemade stuffing and was worth the effort. Great flavor and perfectly moist without being mushy! This will be the only recipe I’ll use from now on. Animal products weren’t missed in the slightest.

      1. Alex
        November 16, 2020 AT 5:36 pm

        So glad to hear, thank you!

    10. Dani
      November 1, 2020 AT 8:09 am

      As November rolls around again, I’m starting my Thanksgiving menu. This is the first recipe that went on the list. This stuffing is the absolute best, it really is. I may make a double batch this year – its the only leftover I really wanted to eat the next day. I could not get enough. Great job.