Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sides: Harvest Stuffing with Mushrooms, Dried Cherries and Fresh Herbs

I find that most stuffing recipes are just bread soaked up by animal fat. And, lately that idea has been putting me off. 
This is the solution to eater better, feeling lighter and still enjoying the holidays. The smells, the fall flavors and everything, just better.  
This is the kind of recipe that would be fun to do with a friend. Or, at least to set aside a nice afternoon to get everything together. It does take a little time. 
It requires a considerable amount of chopping, but when you use fresh ingredients that’s the norm. It’s worth it and fills your kitchen with heavenly smells. 
The best thing is that you can make it one or two days ahead of the party. 
Just cover it well with plastic wrap in the fridge. Then, you can warm it up in the oven the day of the party. This makes it the perfect thing to bring to a party (especially if there are lot of meat eaters there and you want to eat better).
The flavors are amazing in this stuffing. With all the fresh herbs, the apples and dried cherries, you get full satisfaction in each bite. The mushrooms give an earthiness that is way better than meat. 
Enjoy this stuffing full of those fall harvest flavors. Remember to go easy on the sage because it’s a strong herb. Taste and add a little bit at a time just to make sure. ( I made the mistake, getting to happy with sage). You can also leave the sage out and just use more parsley instead.

Harvest Stuffing with Mushrooms, Dried Cherries and Fresh Herbs

Prep time: 30-45 minutes
Cook time: 40-50 minutes
Total time: 1.5-2 hours


  • 12 slices rustic, whole grain bread, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 3 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 t sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 green apples, diced
  • 1 T garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms (about a handful), thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ¾ dried tart cherries (or a little more)
  • ¾ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh Thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 T fresh Sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • 13×9 pan
  • Baking tray
  • Large saute pan
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the pan with butter or spray. 
2. Toast the bread on a baking tray until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside. 
3. Get started on the chopping. It’s best to do everything beforehand, but you can also chop as you start cooking. 
  • First, saute the onions and celery with the olive oil, butter, and salt for 8-10 minutes, or translucent. 
  • Then, add apples, garlic, mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes, or mushrooms start to brown. 
  • Then, add the pecans, cherries, parsley, thyme, and sage. Mix and then taste. Add more salt if needed. Let cool a couple minutes. 
4. Mix the vegetable broth and eggs in a large bowl. Then, add in the sauteed vegetables and the bread. Mix well. 
5. Place everything into the greased baking dish. Add a little more broth if it looks dry. There should be about a ¼” liquid in the bottom. 
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes in the middle rack. Done when a little crisp on the top. 
If serving later, let cool for a couple hours. Then, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. 
chopping celery and onion

finished toasted bread

the bread i like to use

start with sauteeing onions

then, add all vegetables

leave the skin on the apples!

off heat- add herbs, cherries, pecans

notice a little moisture while baking

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