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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recipe! Vegan Stuffing

When it comes to food taste and preference, everyone is different. Some vegetarians and vegans prefer to eat meat substitutes, others don't. But regardless of how you or your loved ones feel about the main dish, even if you dig into a real bird on holiday occasions, it never hurts to have the healthiest side-dish options possible.

Avoiding the grease of traditional stuffing not only leaves you more calories to spend on other things, but it also better for your health. But the trouble with stuffing cooked outside the bird is, more often than not, an issue of flavor. So how do you make a flavorful dish that's still healthy, a pleasing texture and a compliment to the rest of the menu?

I would say that the trick for this stuffing is cooking the various elements individually, combining them, and letting the flavors meld together. Just like a delicious soup, you'll get more flavor from this method than just combining the whole shebang and letting it simmer. It might take a little longer, but the results are absolutely delicious, and healthier than your average stuffing-from-a-box or in-a-bird.

So create, eat, and enjoy!

Vegan Stuffing

1 lb whole wheat bread, cubed
4 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1/2 t each salt and pepper
2-3 c vegetable stock

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and toast bread on a cookie sheet. Once lightly browned, set cubes aside in a large bowl.

2. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. While oven cools, cook vegetables and spices in 2 T olive oil until all ingredients are soft. Add veggies and spices to bread crumbs along with remaining 1 T olive oil. Stir until everything is well mixed.

3. Add two cups of vegetable stock slowly, stirring until everything is absorbed. If stuffing is dry, add more until desired texture is reached. Stuffing should not be soggy.

4. Transfer to a greased baking dish, cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes. If a crunchy topping is desired, uncover dish and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

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