Sunday, November 17, 2013

(Unstuffed) Vegetarian Bread Stuffing:

We're Vegetarians....There's Nothing To Stuff

Thanksgiving is upon us again my friends. It's always been a large part of my life. As much as I love and cherish my time with family this time of year, there is another huge motivator to love on this holiday. Food. Let's face it people. The food is the shining star this time of year. And I say with a devilish smile on face, family is the garnish. The biological side-dish, if you will. I know, I'm gonna catch hell for that one. (insert smiley face here)

Aside from my beloved little blog here, my lovely wife and I own a business that is food based. We cook constantly throughout the week and during the months of November and December, we are at our busiest. Busy like triple-the-business busy. So last year, we decided not to make a Thanksgiving meal for ourselves because we are slammed every day for at least two weeks prior to the holiday. Come the actual holiday, the last we wanted to do was cook. 

So we decided to go to a local casino that has this crazy huge Thanksgiving spread every year. Was I expecting the world? No. I was expecting casino food. But I've been to the buffet before and it wasn't half bad for the price. So we thought, what the hell. It's open, easy, thoughtless and hopefully somewhat decent. We are wrong. 

It was $30 smackers to even walk in the door and that's after an hour wait. The youngest person ahead of us was at least 300 years old. We were drowning amongst a slow motion sea of blue hair. You could literally smell the osteoporosis in the air. I know, I'm gonna catch hell for that one. (insert smiley face here) 

One truly golden moment of the night was, while we were standing in line waiting to get in, we watched this very elderly woman take about 6 pieces of prefab crap cake and, very slowly and very carefully, wrap each piece individually in napkins and place them in her purse. As most of you know, you're not supposed to take food out of an all-you-can-eat buffet. But she was straight-up gangster about it and did it right in front of the employees and managers. They all stopped and looked at her and you could see a few of them start to move toward her to tell her she can't do that but every single one them stopped and just walked away shaking their heads.  

So we finally got to the front of the line, paid our way in, grabbed our plates, and began the initial cruise. If you've ever been to a buffet, it's the preliminary pass you make to survey the food offerings prior to committing to any actual food. Obviously, you have the Thanksgiving fare just because it's that holiday but it's a casino. So that means you also have the Italian section, the Mexican section, and the Asian section. Nothin' like a little refried beans and sushi to go with my cranberry sauce.

Now, I assume that there have been extensive studies regarding the demographics as far as casino Thanksgiving spreads are concerned. Or maybe the dingleberry that planned this menu just didn't care.

I could lay the heartbreak down section by section but it would be pure folly. I'll just say this: After a few passes, it became painfully obvious to me that the only thing on this 150 foot buffet that we could eat was mashed potatoes (without gravy), fruit salad, and prefabricated crap desserts. Let me say it again: $60 dollars (per couple) for mashed potatoes (without gravy), fruit salad, and prefabricated crap desserts. 

Never again. 

This Thanksgiving holiday as well as all future Thanksgivings will be filthy with homemade vegetarian friendly grub. This I say with pure conviction. The first Thanksgiving-centric dish on this blog will be the stuffing. If you were to simply say "Thanksgiving" in my presence, the first thing that comes into my mind is stuffing. It's my favorite of all holiday options. So that's where I'll start....... 

This recipe was adapted from this one.

Tip: The recipe calls for unsalted butter and low sodium broth. If you use the salted kind, you will definitely want to adjust the amount of salt you add at the end. 

Vegetarian Bread Stuffing


  • 1 pound french bread
  • 8 Tbsp butter (preferably unsalted), divided
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 stalks of celery with leaves, halved lengthwise then sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
  • 10 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 13x9 baking dish and set aside.

2. Cut the bread in 3/4 inch cubes. Spread them evenly on 2 baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven until the cubes are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the toasted cubes to a large mixing bowl. 

3. Wash the mushrooms under cool water then dry them over a clean towel. Then cut them into bite-sized pieces. If they are small, halve them and if they are large, quarter them. 

4. In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute over a medium high heat for approximately 8 minutes until they are golden brown. 

5. Add the celery, onion, thyme, and two more tablespoons of butter. Stir frequently until the vegetables have softened, approximately 6 minutes.  

6. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, the sage, and the vegetable broth. Season with the salt and pepper. 

7. Add half the veggie / broth mixture to the bread cubes and gently fold in to evenly distribute the liquid. Then add the remaining veggie / broth mixture and repeat. You want to fold gently so that the cubes don't disintegrate while at the same time making sure the liquid is evenly distributed throughout the bread stuffing.

8. Add the stuffing mixture to your greased baking dish and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes. Once done, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

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