Wait, November already? Yep, here we are, nearing the end of harvest time in Colorado! There is still an abundance of seasonal produce, and with the end of the harvest comes harvest celebrations! Whether you celebrate traditional holidays or you have created your own, or you just really like cozy Fall cooking, here is an old favorite recipe for a side dish that is fantastic alongside any number of main course options. If, like me, you like the plant-based route, think veggie burgers (recipe in my upcoming book) with stuffing and gravy, or stuffing baked into a halved and par-baked buttercup squash topped with French lentils...if you haven't tried Project Umami's amazing tempeh yet, I highly recommend that as a super easy and delicious protein option. Heck, you could even make this into a main course by mixing in generous portions of cooked tempeh, roasted chickpeas, or French lentils and topping with a gravy or sauce.
Use whatever bread you like. but I love this dressing with my sourdough bread because it is so deliciously hearty and satisfying. You can find a series of video instructions on my YouTube channel if you want to try making it for yourself. Find the first episode here. If you have another favorite, any old (literally) bread will do, as I’m quite sure that stuffing/dressing originated as a way to use stale bread.
You'll need to plan a little ahead of time, but this is not a difficult recipe, especially if you have a helper to cube your bread and you have some cooked grains on hand from another meal. This will make enough to serve 10 people as a side dish, probably with leftovers. If you have too many leftovers, you can use stuffing (and most other leftovers) to make a total throwback recipe from early Adaba Foods/Farmers' Market days - Savory Lentil-Veggie Loaf. I baked the stuffing in a 2 1/2 quart Corningware dish filled to the brim.
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
olive oil for sauteeing
five cups cubed bread
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1-2 generous handfuls of fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (will depend on saltiness of bread and broth)
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large leek, sliced and browned, optional for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375F; if you are doing other baking, this stuffing is flexible and will be fine at the oven temperature required for your other dishes, from 325 degrees to 400, but you’ll have to adjust your baking time accordingly and watch for over-browning.
Heat a large saucepan to medium, add olive oil and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions soften and begin to brown. Add celery and cover the pot, then cook until the celery is soft. Add water as necessary to keep vegetables from burning.
Combine the cooked vegetables with the bread cubes, cooked grains, parsley, herbs, salt and pepper.
Mix the oil into the broth and pour the mixture over the stuffing. If you used water, you might add a bit more salt here. Since there are no eggs in this stuffing, give it a taste so you get the seasoning right.
Coat your baking dish with olive oil and spoon your stuffing in, packing it down as necessary to make it fit.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. I like it browned and crispy on top, so I cook it uncovered. If you prefer to keep it soft, cover it during baking. Garnish with browned leeks, if desired.
Whatever you are doing this Fall, I hope it's with plenty of gratitude, kindness, and generosity; I wish you all plenty of abundance to share.
PS - yes, the cookbook is still coming along, nearing the home stretch, I think. I'll keep you posted...🧡