As we all settle into to the last weekend before the holidays officially take hold of our lives, many of us are planning our holiday menus. One thing is for sure, this Herbed Apple Stuffing will be on my table next week. It's the side dish I look forward to most this time of year. It is super simple and versatile, meaning, the recipe allows you to mix in your favorite ingredients. It also can be made vegan or vegetarian. This stuffing is the perfect blend of earthy flavors from fresh herbs and aromatics combined with the sweet and tangy taste of baked apples. It's the perfect compliment to any holiday meal.
Herbed Apple Stuffing Ingredients
Before we begin, I have to ask... do you call it dressing or stuffing? It's a popular debate and seems to depend on where you are from (the north or south) and the cooking method you use (in the pan or inside the turkey). Just to be clear, this recipe is made in a pan and I call it stuffing. Here's what you'll need to make this recipe:
- One to two day old bread- for this recipe I used two day old bakery made sourdough bread. But you can use any rustic bread you choose as long as you can cut it into thick chunks.
- Apples- I use Granny Smith or Golden Delicious for this recipe but any type of apple will work.
- Onions and Celery- stuffing just won't taste the same without these key ingredients.
- Butter- yes, you need a good amount of it so don't be alarmed. It creates a rich creamy flavor for the veggies and bread to soak in. It's a holiday so enjoy!
- Fresh Herbs- fresh rosemary, thyme and sage are my favorite herbs to use in stuffing and will not only make your house smell amazing, they're essential flavor elements.
- Low Sodium Vegetable Broth- this is the liquid that will bind the bread together and keep it from drying out. You can also use low sodium chicken broth if you prefer. I use low sodium because I like to be in control of the amount of salt I add to my dishes.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper- make sure to season lightly with salt as you cook. Proper seasoning intensifies flavors in the cooking process.
How To Make Herbed Apple Stuffing
- Start with one to two day old bread and cut into one to two inch cubes. It's up to you if you want the crust left on. I think leaving it on not only gives the stuffing more texture, but also looks really pretty in the dish!
- In a large oven safe pan, heat and melt the butter. Then sauté the onions, celery and herbs and season it up!
- Add the bread cubes and broth then combine it all together. **At this point you can either bake it right away or cover the stuffing and refrigerate it for up to 48 hrs.
- If refrigerating, let the stuffing come to room temperature first, then bake at 375 degrees F until golden brown, adding more broth if needed to keep it moist.
- Top with extra fresh herbs if desired.
I have made this stuffing many ways and all are delicious! Here are some suggestions for adding in other vegetables or even plant-based sausage if you prefer. These can be cooked separately then added in with the bread cubes prior to baking.
- roasted butternut squash
- vegan sausage crumbles
- dried cranberries
- roasted Brussels sprouts
- sautéed mushroom
- sautéed leeks
Herbed Apple Stuffing
- 6 tablespoon vegan or regular butter
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary) leaves and stems removed stems then chopped
- 2 cups Granny Smith or Golden Delicious Apples skin removed and diced
- 10-12 cups day old rustic bread cut into one to two inch cubes
- 2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ coarse salt
- ¼ tsp fresh pepper
- Heat an oven safe pan on medium high heat and melt the butter.
- Add the onions, celery and half the salt and sauté until softened about 5 minutes then add the apples and sauté for another 5 minutes until apples have softened.
- Add the herbs and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant and combined.
- Add in the bread cubes and enough broth to moisten well. Stuffing should be moist but not fully immersed in liquid. Toss stuffing together with the remaining salt and the pepper (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 48 hrs).
- If refrigerated, allow stuffing to come to room temperature. This may require leaving out for about an hour prior to baking. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the edges of bread cubes begin to crisp slightly and bread becomes golden brown. If stuffing seems too dry, add some warmed broth to moisten. Serve with additional fresh herbs if desired.