Delicious, herby Vegan Thanksgiving Stuffing!
Is it safe to say that it’s ~almost~ Thanksgiving? Are we allowed to start talking about The Holidays yet? And yes I’ve capitalized The Holidays because they are definitely a big enough thing to warrant that. Once Halloween is over, the floodgates are open. Although, my mom and I are known to play Christmas music wayyy ahead of the curve (think June). But we’ll just agree that Halloween is the ~*socially acceptable*~ time to start The Holiday Season, okay?!
So, Thanksgiving. An interesting holiday for vegans/vegetarians. By now my family has become accustomed to my dietary choices, and the holidays usually pass smoothly for me in that regard. But I know for a lot of people, holiday dinners can be a source of huge discomfort. There’s nothing like Old Auntie Mabel taking offense that you won’t eat her special turkey casserole. And then, of course, there’s that vegan stereotype that isn’t always unwarranted.
But between you and me, I find that the older generations have a harder time understanding why people wouldn’t want to eat meat or animal products. I’m not saying that every single person older than you is like that. But I know in my own family particularly, my Granny grew up in the Post-Depression era where “Waste Not, Want Not” ruled the day, and you ate whatever was put in front of you on the table. And I’m not saying that vegans are wasteful or ungrateful – on the contrary, veganism is the most green and most compassionate diet out there. But to my Granny, it just seems like I’m being picky with my food. I don’t agree with her, but I get where she’s coming from.
But I’m going to tell you something that I desperately wish someone had told me years and years ago – YOU control what goes in your body. If someone offers you something, and you decline it kindly and respectfully, there is no reason you should feel guilty. It took me so long to understand this because I have an inherent guilt complex, but ultimately YOU will be the one affected by what you put in your body, and not anyone else. If someone else takes offense to that, honestly it’s their problem, and you should not let it affect you and your happiness.
If you’ve already come to this realization, then I applaud you. For years I felt like a brat by refusing the food my aunt would make. My Granny would pinch my arm and tell me how skinny I was, and my aunt would make backhanded comments about how she spent sooooo long on this certain dish. “No thank you, I eat vegetarian,” I would say with a smile, trying to ignore the guilt trip.
PSA – you may have well-meaning but slightly crazy aunts and grannies and family members, but DO NOT let them guilt you about your dietary choices! Be strong! And if any of them give you flack, just smile and “No, thank you!”
This Thanksgiving, my mom and I are actually planning the menu together for the first time! I’ve been slowly winning her over to my plant-based creations, hehehe. I gave her The China Study as a gift recently, plus another vegan cookbook that I knew she’d love, and I think having these books as resources has helped her realize that veganism isn’t just this weirdo, fringe, tofu diet. You can actually eat ~*real food*~ as a vegan…. like this stuffing.
Now I know stuffing is traditionally supposed to be, um, stuffed into a turkey butt and then cooked (ew), but this version is healthy, cooked in a pot, and then stuffed into a pumpkin. Because stuffing has to be stuffed IN something, right? But maybe we can acheive that without… you know…stuffing it in…well, you get what I’m trying to say.
And this stuffing is so good on its own that it doesn’t really need anything else to buffer it. The base is millet, one of my favorite grains, but you can easily sub quinoa or even couscous. It’s cooked in vegetable stock to add salt and flavor, then mixed with a sauté of earthy mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Finally, fresh herbs are added, which round out the whole thing nicely. Adding in the roasted pumpkin seeds is optional but totally worth it. This stuffing is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Vegan Thanksgiving Stuffing
- 1 Cup Millet
- 2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 Cups Cremini Mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1 Medium White Onion diced
- Neutral Vegetable Oil for sauté
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Tbs Dried Parsley
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
- 2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary chopped
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Parlsey chopped
- Generous Pinch Salt + Pepper to taste
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds optional
- Start by bringing a pot to medium heat. Add in your millet dry, and toast for about 3-5 minutes, or until millet is fragrant. Stir a few times to prevent burning.
- Then, add in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes until broth is completely absorbed. If millet is still al dente at this point, add in another 1/4 cup broth and cook until absorbed.
- When millet is done, take off the heat and keep covered for about 10 minutes, so all the liquid can absorb.
- Bring a large sauté pan to medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and onion, and sauté for about 15-20 minutes, or until onions are completely soft.
- Then, add in the herbs and garlic, and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the millet into the pan and stir everything to combine.
- Add in a very generous pinch of salt and pepper and taste to make sure it's to your liking. Then, add in the chopped parsley and roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.
- Serve, and enjoy!
Song of the Day:
10,000 Weight in Gold – The Head and The Heart
Rebecca @ Strength and SunshineNovember 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm
Well this is just the fanciest stuffing! (Stuffing makes the meal!)
I’m so excited I get to make my famous gf/vegan on again this year (couldn’t last year), but even my gluten-eater non-vegan brother loves it! Haha! It’s the best :P
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm
Ooh awesome! I’d love to see your recipe ;)
KayleeNovember 1, 2015 at 11:43 pm
MILLET IS GLORIOUS though I feel like a bird eating seed every time I have it.
Yay for social acceptability!
My family is in the process of figuring out our menu for Thanksgiving too. What else is on yours?
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm
Hahaha it is kind of like bird seeds! ;) And in terms of plant-based foods, we’re going to do crispy roasted potatoes (my dad’s favorite), garlicky green beans, olive-oil mashed potatoes, and probably a lovely seasonal salad!
dixya @ food, pleasure, and healthNovember 2, 2015 at 7:03 am
im so glad to hear that your family is slowly coming together..my brother recently turned vegetarian and its affecting my parents and grand mother a lot. they think it will affect his health in some negative way and i have been trying to explain them that it’s okay and there are other plant protein sources he can eat. its a slow transition but like you said, declining it respectfully is the way to go..
im not into stuffing or thanksgiving related meal as i didnt grow up eating turkey and casserole, however i like this dish. perfect weeknight meal.
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm
Glad to hear they’re coming around for your brother :) And yes, this would be great for any weeknight dinner!
KatrinaNovember 2, 2015 at 7:15 am
Such a wonderful looking stuffing! And in a pumpkin to boot! I love it!
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm
Thanks Katrina!! :D
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life SweetNovember 2, 2015 at 3:04 pm
I prefer my stuffing not to be cooked inside the turkey actually! Love your recipe! P.S. your dog is adorable!!! <3
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm
Aww thanks Lauren!! She’s my little kitchen helper ;)
Dani @ Dani California CooksNovember 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm
This is just beautiful!! I’m so happy it’s squash season.
SarahNovember 2, 2015 at 6:02 pm
Thanks Dani! Me too! :D
AnnabelleNovember 3, 2015 at 1:48 am
I have a ton of sugar pumpkins lying around from Halloween decorating, so I can’t wait to use them when I try your stuffing!
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm
Awesome! Stuffing always looks better if it’s served in a pumpkin ;)
EricaNovember 3, 2015 at 6:25 am
This is STUNNING!! Your photography is so beautiful and this stuffing sounds insanely delicious and herby. Love this!
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm
Thank you so much Erica!! :D
ErinNovember 3, 2015 at 8:54 pm
This is absolutely beautiful and sounds fantastic! Such an earthy seasonal dish.
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm
Thanks Erin!! :D
danielle is rooting the sunNovember 3, 2015 at 9:53 pm
sarah what beautiful photography you have here – so eye-catching and a delicious recipe to join it! love the upcoming holiday season, and i adore your sentiments of staying true to yourself and consuming only what you believe in, and guiltlessly! this stuffing is so wholesome, i love all of the delicious herbs. xo
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm
Thanks Danielle!! Thank you for your kind words about my photography too, I still get so doubtful about my photos so hearing that you like them means a lot!! :D
Coco Crafty little CocoNovember 4, 2015 at 1:03 am
Yumm!!! Sarah I was in a complete panic all week and you just solved it! My family asked me if I would make Thanksgiving dinner this year. We are also a no meat family so I was worried about what to make as the center of the meal. I had also thought of a stuffed pumpkin put none of my three attempts turned out right. None of them were filling enough. Thank you for reminding me to add hardy elements like millet and mushrooms. You are a life saver. If I could give you a huge thank you hug right now I would.
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm
Aww Coco I’m so glad you like the recipe!! I love millet because it’s so comforting and filling to eat :) I hope you family likes it!! :D
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Susannah (Lemon and Coconut)November 4, 2015 at 8:25 am
Lovely recipe Sarah. I always feel like people think I’m fussy or picky, especially now there are so many things I can’t eat it just seems over the top and like there’s no other conclusion but mental illness. When in reality, ok, I may be a little crazy, show me someone who isn’t! but I’m really not fussy at all. I think it is about being really confident when having to explain your food choices and needs. I have a tendency to project what I think people are thinking, which is a mistake and confirms what they are thinking if anything. I should just be super confident and self-assured about it. God know what my Granny would make of my dietary restrictions, she wouldn’t know what to feed me. She thought we were all going to die because we were raised veggie! I must also add she that was an amazing woman and I miss her every day but that I had guinea fowl called Lucky, which she killed and ate :)
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Oh my! Your Granny sounds like quite a lady! (And that’s too funny because I call my grandmother Granny too!!) But you should absolutely be confident in standing behind what you eat. If you want my opinion, I don’t think you owe an explanation to anyone in this instance. “I don’t eat animal products” should just be enough! Good luck girl, be strong!!
Susannah (Lemon and Coconut)November 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm
Yes I totally agree. I would never compromise or be anything but confident in asserting myself as a vegan, I have been a lacto-vegetarian all my life so that side of things is second nature to me. Also I probably wasn’t explaining myself there (slight(ly massive) cringe!) it’s just that I am intolerant to so many foods including many vegetables and so arrive as everyone’s worst nightmare guest! I’m highly intolerant to gluten and lactose and have to be super strict about ingredients and food prep. It can be a challenge explaining it all to people and passing that strict discipline on. I have to stand there and check everything and ask if they’ve reused that spoon etc., which they usually have and so then I can’t eat or drink what they have made and various such scenarios. It can be very awkward as people get quite stressed in kitchens!
But I think your point is still very applicable to me and to everyone – I don’t actually owe an explanation to people, not one that makes me feel uncomfortable anyway, and I should always be confident. Thanks so much for your reply Sarah :)
Jessie Snyder | Faring WellNovember 4, 2015 at 10:05 am
It can be so hard to stick to your guns in a sea of non-related eaters, but its so true that you just have to smile through it and tough it out at times. This stuffing sounds incredible and I’m so excited for you that you get to plan your Thanksgiving with your momma now! How fun to get to introduce some more veg-friendly dishes :). Have so much fun <3
SarahNovember 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm
Thanks Jessie!! I’m so excited to plan the menu with my mom / cook everything together. When my maternal grandmother was alive, she would stay over the night before Thanksgiving and get up really early with my mom to start cooking. I’m so happy that I can keep that tradition going with MY mom :) <3
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RosaDecember 2, 2015 at 4:36 am
Would it also be possible to put the pumpkin in the oven with the seeds? So that you not only have the decorative part but you could also eat it?
SarahDecember 3, 2015 at 11:08 am
Hi Rosa! I wouldn’t recommend cooking the pumpkin with the seeds, because a whole pumpkin can take up to 1 – 1 1/2 hours to cook in the oven. :(
RosaDecember 4, 2015 at 12:06 pm
Just like a turkey right? ;) Thanks for your reply!
I actually meant the seeds and the pumpkin seperately so you’ll have something edible to put the stuffing in. And the seeds to add to the stuffing ofcourse. Did you ever try baking a small pumpkin as a whole in the oven?
Thanks! x Rosa
RosaDecember 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm
With as a whole I then mean the pumpkin without the seeds ^^
SarahDecember 13, 2015 at 5:59 pm
Sorry about the confusion – what I meant was that cooking the whole pumpkin, even with the stuffing in it, could take up to an hour. I personally haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it, but I know there are other websites that have recipes for whole stuffed pumpkin if you want to google those :) Sorry I can’t be more help though!
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