Vegetarian Stuffing with Mushroom, Date and Pecan

I grew up with a different kind of Thanksgiving meal than the one celebrated traditionally here in the USA. Having the Cuban side of my family live in Miami for 10+ years before moving to Costa Rica, Thanksgiving was a welcomed tradition we quickly adopted. The food however, that was not traditional at all. It basically consisted of a full-on Cuban spread of roasted pork or ham, black beans, yuca, a random stuffing, and yes, the turkey.

So when I started making Thanksgiving for my good ol’ American husband it definitely was and has been quite the learning process. Take stuffing for example. Our ideas of the perfect stuffing are so different. I enjoy a crispy on the top stuffing with toasted bread all over and a loose airy texture, he enjoys a fully compact version of mushed up bread and veggies that is so jam packed all the components basically become one. To me, it’s like a bread brick.

I also enjoy sausage, bacon, some kind of nuts, something sweet like apples or crasins in my stuffing. He enjoys celery, onion, bread and spices in his.

In an effort to find balance where both of us will be happy with the stuffing, and most importantly, without sacrificing any flavor, we joined forces and we created this vegetarian stuffing! Teamwork makes the dream work!

This stuffing is packed with flavor. The mushrooms balance the bread perfectly creating a lighter texture without being too loose. The dates basically melt into the vegetables and sweeten the dish in the most delicate way, and the pecans bring a crunch to the stuffing . Even if you like it extra mushy and compact, the dates provide so much texture.

This is how I made this Vegetarian Stuffing with Mushroom, Date and Pecan:

ingredients needed for the Mushroom Date vegetarian stuffing with pecans.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cut the bread in 2 inch cubes. 

bread cut into 2 inch cubes

Tip! I like to use an electric knife to cut through the crusty thicker parts of the bread. It makes the job so much easier. 

Place the bread cubes in a large cooking sheet. Make sure it is spread evenly and not too over crowded. 

Tip! If the bread is over crowded, it will take longer to toast. 

Toast the bread in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent it from burning. 

toasted bread for vegetarian stuffing

Tip! When you check on the bread, make sure to give it a toss to allow the steam to escape. 

Place the pecans on a cooking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. 

pecans toasting in oven

While the bread is toasting, start cleaning the mushrooms. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to get rid of any dirt. Discard the stem and cut into quarters. 

Tip! If there are smaller mushrooms in the container, cut them in half to make them around the same size all around. 

mushrooms quartered and cut in half

Set the mushrooms aside and chop the celery and onion. Set aside. 

Finely chop the garlic and dates, set them aside separately from the celery and onions. 

chopped onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms

In a large skillet, melt the butter and about 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. 

Tip! The extra virgin olive oil prevents the butter from burning quickly.

Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes or until they start getting golden.

Tip! The mushrooms will sweat for a bit before starting to brown.

Once the mushrooms are starting to get golden brown, add the celery and onion.

vegetables sautéing

Cook until the onion has become translucent. 

Add the garlic and the dates and cook for about 1-2 minutes. 

Tip! The dates can clump up, make sure to mix everything well so that they are evenly distributed. 

Remove the mixture from the heat and place in a very large mixing bowl. 

Add the vegetable stock into the pan where the vegetables were just coking. This will warm up the stock. No need to add heat to this. 

Tip! Placing the vegetable stock on the same pan as where the vegetables were cooked, allows the liquid to pick up any bits and pieces left behind. There is so much flavor in all these bits. 

Add the pecans to the vegetable mixture. Mix in well. 

Add half of the toasted bread into the vegetable mixture. Mix in well. Add half of the liquid into the bread and vegetable mixture. Mix well, all the while smooshing and breaking the bread apart so that it can absorb all the moisture from the vegetables and the stock. 

Add the other half of the bread and continue to incorporate into the mixture. Add the left over liquid little by little until you achieve the desired consistency. 

Tip! If you prefer a firmly packed stuffing, add all the liquid and make sure to break the bread apart and mix so much that it all becomes one even mixture of ingredients. If you prefer a stuffing where the bread is not compacted but it’s toasty and dry, then add enough liquid that the mixture is moist all around but it is not mush.

Let’s Get the Stuffing Into a Baking Dish

Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the sides and bottom a baking dish.

Add the entire stuffing mixture into the dish and press down so it is even. Bake in the 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden on the top. 

my vegetarian stuffing in baking dish

Serve warm and enjoy as a side.

stuffing served on a plate

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Stuffing with Mushroom, Date, and Pecans

The perfect balance of sweet and savory and the perfect texture of moist stuffing with sweet dates, savory mushroom, and crunchy pecans with a toasty top. This stuffing will be loved by vegetarian and meat lovers.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseSide Dish
CuisineAmerican, holiday
Keywordmushroom date stuffing, vegetarian stuffing
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Servings8

Equipment

  • Large baking sheet
  • small baking sheet
  • large skillet
  • extra large mixing bowl
  • 9×11 oven proof baking dish

Ingredients

  • 8 cups cubed crusty bread it can be sourdough, ciabatta or baguette.
  • 2 8oz containers of white button mushrooms about 4 cups of quartered mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped celery about 3 large stalks
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion about 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil about 4 tablespoons total (2 for the butter, 2 for coating the baking dish.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Cut the bread in 2 inch cubes. 
  • Place the bread cubes in a large cooking sheet. Make sure it is spread evenly and not too over crowded.  
  • Toast the bread in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent it from burning. 
  • Place the pecans on a cooking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean any dirt.
  • Discard the stem and cut into quarters. 
  •  Set the mushrooms aside and chop the celery and onion. Set aside. 
  • Finely chop the garlic and dates, set them aside separately from the celery and onions. 
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter and about 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes or until they start getting golden.
  • Once the mushrooms are starting to get golden brown, add the celery and onion. Cook until the onion has become translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and the dates and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • The dates can clump up, make sure to mix everything well so that they are evenly distributed.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add the vegetable stock into the pan where the vegetables were just coking. This will warm up the stock. No need to add heat to this. 
  • Add the pecans to the vegetable mixture. Mix in well. 
  • Add half of the toasted bread into the vegetable mixture. Mix in well. 
  • Add half of the liquid into the bread and vegetable mixture. Mix well, all the while smooshing and breaking the bread apart so that it can absorb all the moisture from the vegetables and the stock. 
  • Add the other half of the bread and continue to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Add the left over liquid litter by little until you achieve the desired consistency. 
  • Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the sides and bottom a baking dish.
  • Add the entire stuffing mixture into the dish and press down so it is even. 
  • Bake in the 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden on the top.
  • ENJOY!

Recipe Video Instructions

Notes

If you prefer a firmly packed stuffing, add all the liquid and make sure to break the bread apart and mix so much that it all becomes one even mixture of ingredients.
If you prefer a stuffing where the bread is not compacted but it’s toasty and more dry, then add enough liquid that the mixture is moist all around but it it not mush. 

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