Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.
Growing up, Thanksgiving meant spending the day lounging around the house in stretchy pants, puttering around the kitchen to take in the comforting smells of sage and meat, and eating until I hated myself. Post-engorging, I’d dive head first into the couch and fall into a carb coma.
Bliss, my friends. Total bliss.
But times have changed.
Despite the fact that my American husband and my Canadian self get to celebrate the holiday twice, it’s without family these days. We live out of state/out of country, so we visit at Christmas instead—which really isn’t too bad. I mean, let’s be real: it’s one less holiday I have to worry about drinking too much wine and saying something I shouldn’t.
For a few years, I was living a pescetarian lifestyle. That meant a Thanksgiving without the traditional stuffed turkey and the meaty gravy creating a pool of regret in my fluffy mashed potatoes. The solution to this? Vegetarian gravy and this bad ass vegetarian stuffing.
Why call it stuffing if it isn’t being stuffed into a bird? Because it’s going to be stuffed into your face.
The fact that this stuffing is vegetarian isn’t the only thing it has going for it; cooking it in a slow cooker means that you can prep it, set it, and forget it. It’s one less thing to worry about in a sea of things to worry about. Let’s face it: cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be anxiety-inducing. Traditionally, it’s one of the most delicious and anticipated meals of the year. Mucking it up will haunt you. FOREVER. The best thing you can do for yourself is lighten the load where you can.
This stuffing is adapted it from Damn Delicious and it’s foolproof. I threw it together last year for our Friendsgiving feast and it was a hit. You don’t have to be a veg-head to appreciate my plant-based twist, but if you prefer meat in your stuffing, I’d definitely recommend giving her recipe a whirl.
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Vegetarian Slow Cooker Stuffing
- 1 package KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls 12-count, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 ribs of celery diced
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 leek thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves
- 2 cups vegetable stock + more as needed
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place into oven and bake until slightly golden and crisp, approx. 5-7 minutes. Remove, set aside and cool.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat.
- Add celery, carrots, leeks, sage and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until tender, approx. 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste and remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the bread mixture, cooked vegetables, dried cranberries, pecan halves, veg stock and melted butter. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer the bread mixture into a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook, on low heat, for 3-4 hours.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.