Vegetarian Stuffing with Broccoli Rabe

Stuffing seems to be one of the most contentious dishes on the Thanksgiving lineup. Over the years, I've learned that everyone has their own opinions on how to make the perfect stuffing, and even in my own home my parents each had their own way to make stuffing. My mom liked to take the easy route and use the pre-packaged seasonings from the box. My dad liked to make his with a generous portion of onions and butter. To make things fair, they would usually make two batches - one they would stuff the turkey and one they would cook on the side.

As a child, my parents put on quite a Thanksgiving spread. We had the traditional turkey with all the fixings. Dessert followed, even though everyone was always way too full to think about it. With enough determination, we would all cram a slice of pumpkin pie into our mouths and then spend the rest of the evening in a food coma on the couch. I was very meticulous about my Thanksgiving plate. I would start off the meal by adding a few slices of turkey, followed by a giant mountain type structure of mashed potatoes overflowing with gravy. I'd add a few Brussel sprouts to the top for greenery, and a dinner roll or two to mop up the extra gravy. The stuffing was never really my thing, as I'd always been an enthusiastic hater of onions.

The first year Brent and I moved to Seattle, we decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment with our friends. I was in charge of preparing the Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and I delegated out the stuffing task to a friend. You could imagine the excitement I had when I learned that stuffing could be made with delicious things like cornbread, vegetarian sausage, mushrooms, and cheese. For the first time ever, I was reaching for the stuffing before anything else. His recipe opened up my eyes to a whole new world of Thanksgiving possibilities. Now, stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish to prepare. Brent also really likes making stuffing, so we usually combine forces and make it together.

This year we decided to experiment with a new recipe, one that incorporates the bright leafy green - broccoli rabe! Broccoli rabe has a bitter flavor that works really well with the earthy and savory flavors of stuffing. This stuffing is rich and flavorful, moist yet crunchy on the top. A new favorite around our house.

A big thanks to the folks over at Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. For more broccoli rabe recipe ideas be sure to check out their website and Facebook page.



serves 8 - 10 people

prep time: 10 minutes

total cooking time: 1 hour 35 min

1 medium loaf of bread chopped into 1-inch cubes (8 cups)

10 broccoli rabe stalks

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter

1 1/2 cups diced onion

2 celery stalks, sliced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

10 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spread the chopped bread onto a baking sheet, place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is crispy. Leave the oven set to 350ºF.

While the bread is baking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli rabe and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the water, and submerge the broccoli rabe into an ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain, then chop into bite-size pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat the butter on medium. Add the diced onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the celery, mushrooms, sage, and thyme, and cook until the mushrooms and celery are soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add the cooked chopped broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper, and combine.

In a 13 x 9 inch rectangular pan, combine the bread with the onion and celery mixture. Pour in the vegetable broth and combine. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, until the bread is crunchy and the underneath moist. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

The stuffing can be made the night before, and then reheated in the oven at 350ºF for 15 minutes before serving.

Can be stored in the fridge covered for up to 5 days.