This herbed leek and mushroom stuffing is full of those cozy holiday flavors: herbs, walnuts, savory aromatics and bites of meaty mushrooms. Simple to prepare, this vegan stuffing is slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside!
As a kid, there is no way you'd find stuffing on my Thanksgiving dinner plate. But as an adult? I always save lots of space for it! While we love making our make ahead apple sage stuffing, this herbed leek and mushroom stuffing is another delicious variation.
With 'meaty' mushrooms, aromatic leeks, nutty walnuts and fresh herbs, this mushroom stuffing recipe is packed full of flavor and is relatively simple to prepare. And good news for my plant-based friends because it also happens to be 100% vegan!
Reasons you’ll ♡ leek and mushroom stuffing
- it's flavorful and full of Thanksgiving flavors: rosemary, thyme, mushrooms and aromatic leeks
- it's 100% vegan and dairy-free
- it feeds a crowd
Wondering how this mushroom stuffing comes together? Watch this 1-minute video to see how easy it is to prep! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
- Mushrooms- I've tested with button and cremini mushrooms. You could add in other varieties including shiitake, and oyster for added flavor.
- Butter- to make this recipe 100% vegan, I used vegan butter (Earth Balance brand). When testing with olive oil, the stuffing was just not as flavorful.
- Broth- use vegetable broth (store bought or homemade).
- Herbs- take the time to use fresh herbs for this stuffing; it's definitely worth the effort.
- Bread- use a sturdy loaf of bread like sourdough or french bread, and tear or cut into equal-ish sized pieces (more on that below)
Dry the bread out the day before
It's absolutely essential that you take the time to dry out your bread pieces before making mushroom stuffing. This helps the bread hold its texture when absorbing the broth; if you do not dry the bread, it is already somewhat wet, causing the stuffing to be spongey.
To dry out your bread, cut or tear it into 1 inch cubes. Spread it out on a baking sheet, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it sit for at least 24 hours.
Cleaning + prepping leeks
If you’ve never cooked with leeks before, there are a few things you need to know. First, we are going to be using the light green and white parts of the stalk, discarding the leafy green parts (you can save it for leftover turkey broth!). Secondly, it’s important to clean leeks well, as they can often have dirt or sand hiding in the stems.
How to clean leeks
After slicing off the leafy green portion of the top stem, make a cut lengthwise down the stem, leaving it connected at the bottom stem. Rotate the leek and repeat so you have cross-wise cuts in the stem. Run the stem under the tap, gently pulling back the leek so water runs right down the layers.
This is difficult to explain in writing, so here’s a great visual!
How to chop the leeks
Once leeks have been cleaned, you can let them dry for a few minutes, or start chopping right away. Leaving the bottom stem on the leek so it remains intact, work your way along the leek starting at the top, making small cuts (¼ inch or closer apart).
Discard the fibrous white stem at the very bottom of the leek.
Sauté the mushrooms well
Sauteing mushrooms causes magic to happen: spongey, bland raw mushrooms transform into an umami-rich little bites of heaven. It's essential to sauté the mushrooms for this stuffing recipe for two reasons: it helps evaporate off extra moisture, while concentrating their flavors.
The mushrooms are the flavor base for this recipe, so take your time and sauté until they are a deep brown. This can take 10 minutes or longer.
- start with dry mushrooms and a hot pan
- butter or vegan butter adds the best flavor
- don't overcrowd the pan (this is why we cook the leeks separately)
Assembling the stuffing
After sauteing both the mushrooms and leeks, celery and herbs, the next step is to assemble the mushroom stuffing. In a large bowl, add the dried breadcrumbs, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed leeks/celery/herbs and walnuts.
In a separate small bowl, stir together the broth and salt until salt is dissolved. Pour half of this mixture over bread mixture, and toss it up.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and add the stuffing mixture with the pan. Pour the rest of the broth evenly over the stuffing, and press it down firmly.
Bake covered, then uncovered
The key to getting that perfect stuffing texture (soft and tender in the middle, but firmer and almost crunchy on the outside), is to cover the casserole dish for the start of the cook time, then uncover at the end. This helps the middle of the stuffing to cook through, but helps evaporate the liquid from the surface of the bread during the last bit of cook time.
- I love using these reusable silicone lids to cover, but you can use aluminum foil as well
Storage and reheating
This leek and mushroom stuffing is best served just after baking, however you can store it in the fridge and reheat.
- Fridge- cool completely and cover. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat- heat uncovered in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Freezer- I have not tried freezing; drop us a comment to let us know how it goes if you give it a try!
More holiday recipes
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Maple Butter Acorn Squash
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Fluffy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
- Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms and Cranberries
- 8 cups sourdough bread cut or torn into 1 inch cubes; see note 1
- ¼ cup vegan butter note 2
- 1 lb mushrooms cremini, button, or a mix of wild mushrooms; washed, dried and sliced
- 1 leek finely chopped; note 3
- 2 ribs celery sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup walnuts note 4
- Dry the bread overnight- slice or tear the bread into 1 inch cubes of relatively equal size. Spread the bread cubes out on a sheet pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
- Day 2- preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Sauté the mushrooms- add 2 tablespoons of vegan butter to a large frying pan heated to medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until the mushrooms develop a deep brown color. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl.
- Sauté the leeks- add 2 more tablespoons of vegan butter to the frying pan. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the chopped rosemary and thyme leaves, and the minced garlic. Cook for a total of 5-7 minutes, until leeks and celery are softened.
- Mix up the stuffing- in a large bowl, add the dried breadcrumbs, sautéed mushrooms, leek/celery/herb mixture and half a cup of chopped walnuts. Mix together the vegetable broth and salt in a measuring cup or bowl, then pour half of this mixture over the stuffing ingredients. Mix the stuffing up well.
- Transfer to the baking dish- grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with spray oil or vegan butter. Scrape the stuffing into the baking dish, then pour the rest of the vegetable stock evenly over top. Press the stuffing firmly down into the pan.
- Bake- cover the baking dish with a reusable silicone lid or aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown and slightly crispy to the touch.
- Serve- once stuffing is baked through, allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- swap leeks for onions
- celery may be omitted
- consider adding some chopped fresh sage leaves with the other herbs
- add some dried or fresh cranberries when baking
- swap the walnuts for almonds, pumpkin seeds, or your favorite nut
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