In my eyes, there are a few essential elements of a good Christmas dinner, and stuffing is one of them (even if you’ve not actually got anything to stuff it into…).
A lot of stuffing recipes are made with meat, so it can be tricky to figure out where to start when making a vegetarian stuffing. But don’t be put off – this mushroom and chestnut stuffing is so easy. Seriously, so unbelievably easy.
You literally just need to throw a few ingredients in a food processor, and you’re most of the way there. Sautéed mushrooms and onions, parsley, cooked chestnuts (I used the vacuum-packed kind, but tinned ones would work well too), and some bread to hold everything together – I used wholewheat bread, because I’m virtuous like that.
The mixture will end up fairly thick and dry – it looks a lot like stuffing, to be honest. You just need to transfer it to a baking dish, and throw it in the oven until it crisps up. Don’t worry about smoothing it out on top – those nooks and crannies are the bits that are going to get extra crispy!
The great thing about this stuffing is that it’s not particularly time-sensitive. There’s so much going on when you’re trying to cook a Christmas dinner that it can be tricky to make sure everything’s ready to serve at the exact same moment. This vegetarian stuffing doesn’t cause any problems, as it can be ready whenever you are. It doesn’t really matter if it cooks for 30 minutes or for a full hour, it’ll just be varying degrees of crispy!
The end result is a really, really tasty stuffing. It’s soft and moist inside (the chestnuts are perfect for giving that lovely texture), but really nice and crispy around the edges, and it’s full of flavour. Oh, and it loves gravy too – so make sure you have some on the table! I’ll be sharing a gravy recipe next week, in case you’re not prepared.
And there you have it! Easy peasy vegetarian stuffing.
Mushroom and chestnut vegetarian stuffing
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 300 g mushrooms (~ 10 medium mushrooms)
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 180 g cooked and peeled chestnuts, e.g. tinned or vacuum-packed (~ 1 cup)
- 100 g wholemeal bread (~ 2 inch thick slice of a large loaf)
- Small bunch fresh parsley
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the diced onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and any excess liquid has evaporated.
- Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously, and blitz until the mixture just comes together.
- Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, and bake for around 40 minutes, until crispy on top. Serve warm.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.