Thursday, 26 November 2015

Stuffing with kale and tofu bacon: a token Thanksgiving dish

It took me a long time to understand Thanksgiving.  Until I started blogging, I thought it was just like our Christmas.  Now I know it is at a different time of year, celebrating the harvest rather than religion, and the food is different.  While there is turkey like my childhood Christmases, the side dishes and dessert are totally different.  And the stuffing is cooked with chunks of bread, not breadcrumbs and it is not cooked in the bird.  Which makes it more attractive for a vegetarian.

[Update: Perhaps I haven't learnt as much about Thanksgiving as I thought.  Lorraine has pointed out in the comments that she sees Americans stuffing the bird so maybe there is more stuffing in birds than I though - I am no expert and possibly see more stuffing dishes outside the bird on veg blogs but I still love the idea!]

I finally tried an American-style stuffing recipe.  It has sat in my drafts for too long.  I promised myself I would post it in time for Thanksgiving and now suddenly Thanksgiving is here.  So here it is.

I had been working up to making stuffing for a while now.  One of the great appeals of stuffing is that it is an opportunity to use up all those dried ends of sourdough loaves in the freezer. 

I have been bookmarking stuffing recipes with interesting add-ins for a while.  Chestnuts, cornbread, apples, dried cranberries and nuts of all kinds.  It seems that I am not alone in getting more familiar with Thanksgiving.  I recently saw a Thanksgiving recipe in a local supermarket magazine.  This cornbread stuffing with kale, bacon and pecans had the sort of flavours I liked.

I also sort of followed a Vegetarian Times recipe which said I should tip in the stock and the bread should soak it up.  Mine did not soak up.  I don't know if there was too much stock or that my bread was too stale and too many crusts.

The day that I baked this stuffing was a busy one so I made dinner ahead of time.  It looked great when it came out but was a bit wet for me.  I am confused about if this was in the moist or the soggy category.  It was nice but I have never had this sort of stuffing before and am still not sure how it is meant to taste.  When I reheated it the next night I put it under the grill (broiler) to crisp up and served it with vegies which I preferred.  

Possibly my main problem with the stuffing is that it is more like a bread pudding than the stuffing I grew up with.  I loved my mum's stuffing because, let's face it, it was better than the meat.  Always.  So I would prefer a nut roast to this stuffing because nut roasts traditionally use breadcrumbs rather than bread chunks which is far more like my mum's stuffing.  However I am willing to concede that if surrounded by lots of great side dishes and cooked as it should be (if I got it wrong) than I could love this stuffing. And I am sure it would work on a Christmas dinner table as much as on a Thanksgiving spread.

But I know that stuffing is far more of a tradition in some American houses.  So to those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope your stuffing is moist but not soggy (apparently that is right) and that you enjoy good food with good company.

I am sending this to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays, Jacqueline for Meatless Mondays and Shaheen for Eat Your Greens.

Some possible Thanksgiving recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Apple cider brussels sprouts (v)
Baked brie with cranberry sauce and walnuts (gf)
Carrot, walnut and cranberry salad (gf, v)
Cottage cheese and walnut nutloaf (v)
Cranberry and chestnut stuffing balls (v)
Cranberry nut rolls
Gravy (gf, v)
Parsnip, cranberry and chestnut roast
Pumpkin stuffed with hominy and tomatillo stew (gf, v)
Smoky maple sweet potato mash (gf, v) 

Stuffing with kale and tofu bacon
Adapted from Vegetarian Times and Coles
Serves 4-6 as a main or more as a side dish

400g sourdough bread, cubed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup tofu bacon, fried
1-3 tsp neutral oil like rice brace
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Half bunch tuscan kale, finely sliced
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. sage leaves, finely chopped (I used dried)
1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock (or less)

Place bread cubes on a large oven tray and bake at 180 C for about 8-10 minutes until dried out.  (Mine took a little longer possibly because it came straight out of the freezer.) Place the chopped walnuts on the oven tray for about 5 minutes or until toasted.  Fray tofu bacon on the stovetop in about 1-3 tsp neutral oil until crisp.Set aside.

Heat olive oil or butter in large frypan and fry onion, celery and garlic for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.  Add kale and fry another 10-15 minutes.  or until kale is wilted and a little crisp around the edges.  Stir in the herbs for 1 minutes.

Mix bread, walnuts, tofu bacon and vegetables with stock in a large bowl until stock soaks in (but mine didn't so perhaps less would be better).  Check and adjust seasoning.

Tip into a large oven tray and bake for 40-60 minutes or until crisp on top.

On the Stereo:
Life: Inspiral Carpets


  1. They don't stuff the stuffing in the bird? I've seen a lot of recipes that do that. But yes it is a different celebration from Christmas really. We celebrated it because it was a good reason to learn about it but also to eat with friends.

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I have made an updated note in the post that maybe I don't know thanksgiving that well. I would be interested to try a thanksgiving meal one year but it is just a crazy time of year

  2. I love this! I think it's really clever cooking the stuffing separately - and that looks GREAT!!!!

    1. Thanks Lucy - cooking stuffing separately is great for various dietary requirements

  3. I thought they did put the stuffing in the bird and that like Christmas, it's a Christian celebration stemming from the biblical idea of 'giving thanks'. I also didn't know they leave the bread in chunks rather than turning it into breadcrumbs! But then, I've never experienced a Thanksgiving but I do hope to, one day. My sister and her family were fortunate to spend Thanksgiving in NY this year. They were staying with friends upstate and Em's job was to cook the turkey - which she did Aussie style with breadcrumbs and putting the stuffing into the cavity! xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - I am now wondering if I just follow too many vegetarian/vegan blogs and have a skewed view of Thanksgiving after a few comments - good to hear your sister's experience

  4. This sounds good. I don't usually bother with stuffing - too lazy!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I keep meaning to make stuffed nut roasts but am a bit lazy too :-)

  5. I didn't grow up with Thanksgiving (not sure why, even though I'm in North America!!), but once I got together with the HH, we started our own tradition. I, too, thought that stuffing went into the bird--? I even made a vegan stuffed roast with the stuffing in the roast! Either way, stuffing used to be and still is my favorite part. This one looks great, too! So I think you now need to come over to Canada so you can celebrate Thanksgiving like we do (and here in Canada, it happens in October--so the weather is much nicer, really). ;)

    1. Thanks Ricki - isn't that funny you didn't do thanksgiving as I keep thinking every American celebrates it - I guess tofurkey is stuffed! I just love all the stuffing recipes I see that are out of the bird! I'd love to come to canada for thanksgiving (or any time) but it is unlikely in the near future :-(

  6. Wow, this sounds really tasty. I happen to have some sourdough bread right now too. Perfect fall food =)

    1. Thanks Kimmy - I've already started building up my sourdough stash again :-)

    2. This is being featured on HVF (no surprise there!). Thank you so much for sharing it. I am pinning this =)

  7. This looks really delicious Johanna! I've never tried stuffing so I have no idea whether it's supposed to be moist/soggy either haha but I would definitely eat this anyway - I can almost smell it through your photos! I'm going to put this on my list of possible meals for Christmas day :)

  8. I am impressed with your Thanksgiving organisation. I also think this looks lovely - I still don't really 'get' Thanksgiving but would happily eat this in honour of it!

  9. I know very little about Thanks Giving, I learn a little from American friends but have never experienced it myself.

  10. I always think stuffing is the best bit of a 'turkey' meal, so the idea of cooking it separately makes good sense....... and makes a great meal on its own. Loving the walnuts in here. I would be more than happy to happy to wolf a large plateful!


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