Gluten-free Stuffing with Vegetarian Sausage

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I, for one, had been looking forward to it for weeks, and I’m pleased to say that the day, along with all the consumed dishes, lived up to my mouth-watering expectations. It’s odd, but I never really cared much for Thanksgiving growing up. Sure, I liked the time off from school, but all of my friends used to get this look in their eye while talking about the upcoming feast that I could only compare with how I looked at cupcakes. But really, it made sense. My family always had a very traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, candied yams, etc. I didn’t eat turkey, didn’t like sweet potatoes (back then, anyway; a sin, I know!), and the foods I did eat—corn, mashed potatoes, and salad—I ate enough the rest of the year. It didn’t seem like something to have such great anticipation for…until recently.

Three years ago, my current roommates (cousin and friend) started a tradition of having Thanksgiving together. None of us were going home or away that year, and my cousin, also a vegetarian (see about me), had the great idea to make dinner together, which would center around (wait for it) macaroni and cheese! It was the beginning of a new outlook on the holiday. Course, back then I had a massive kitchen that the three of us could easily cook in together. Things got a bit more complicated last year when we moved into our shoebox in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. But we improvise (which means cousin and I stare longingly at all the finished dishes while our other roommate, who insisted her dishes would take the least amount of time, finishes her portion).

Each year, our feast has only gotten better. Some dishes have stayed on the menu and been continually perfected. Others we mix up, including the main course. This year, we had the added juggle of needing to ensure dishes stayed gluten-free. My very gracious roommates actually went along with this, and strangely enough, we managed it with very few alterations.

Our menu:
baked brie (the only item that wasn’t gluten-free, only because I’d been too lazy to make a g-free dough, so I ate the melted cheese on the outside)
deviled eggs
truffle mac & cheese (worth every clogged artery; my roommates had a fully-glutened version, so it was a win-win)
Brussels sprouts
sweet potato casserole
cornbread with real corn and creamed corn topped with honey butter
bourbon-glazed carrots
veggie sausage stuffing
pumpkin cheesecake
and, of course, the liquid sides: prosecco, wine, and cider

Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2013Part of my meal

This year, I got it into my head that I really wanted to make a gluten-free stuffing. I’m not sure why. This was another food that I didn’t like growing up. I went through a short phase where I did enjoy it, but I haven’t really had it in years. In the weeks prior to this Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon a few stuffing recipes that inspired me to revist the classic side dish and made me want to prove that you really can enjoy a gluten-free vegetarian version of all of your once-favorite dishes. The following was what I decided to go with, adapted from this British recipe (darn metric system!). While I honestly can’t remember too much of what stuffing normally tasted like, I really enjoyed my version. And almost all of it went the first round, so I guess it was a hit (that or my roommates and guest are just human garbage disposals; we did do quite a number on our overflowing plates). Hope you enjoy!

(Sorry, none of these are my best pictures. I actually didn’t stop to take photos of most of my dishes on Thanksgiving. I was anxious to eat!)

 

 

Gluten-free Stuffing with Vegetarian Sausage

Serves 6
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 20 minutes
Allergy Wheat
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Occasion Thanksgiving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 pinches dried red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 pinches crushed anise seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8oz meatless crumbles (I used wildwood; read labels carefully. Most vegetarian meats have wheat protein.)
  • 3.5 tablespoons butter (Use Earth Balance spread if making it vegan.)
  • 1-3 celery sticks (If larger, use less. I used about 2 smaller ones.)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 8-10 slices gluten free bread (I used a loaf of Udi's, which was 9 slices without the end pieces. If vegan, be careful. I know Udi's has eggs.)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen (and thawed)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (I put mine through the food processor.)
  • 1/2 lemon, zest
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (If vegan, could probably leave this out easily and use more pear puree, or egg replacer.)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and celery and heat for about 6-8 minutes.
chopped onions and celery
Step 2
In a separate frying pan, heat the soy crumbles on low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add all of the dry seasonings and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the mixture to the onions and celery. Stir for a minute or two, and then turn off the heat.
Soy crumbles sausage for gluten-free stuffing
Step 3
Cut bread into small cubes, about the size of croutons. Spread across two baking sheets and place in oven. Toast for a few minutes until lightly brown and slightly crunchy. Keep a close eye on them. (I over baked one batch.) This step is important so your stuffing doesn't end up too soggy later.
Step 4
Peel and core the pears. Cut into pieces and put into food processor. Pulse until pears create a purée. Add the mixture to the sausage mix.
Step 5
Add the cranberries, pecans, egg, and bread crumbs. Mix. Add the zest of 1/2 lemon and mix.
Put mixture into greased 6 cup baking pan (8" x 8" x 2" square pan). Cover with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for 30 more minutes.
Vegetarian sausage, pear, pecan, cranberry gluten-free stuffing

 

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