Nutty Wild Mushroom and Apple Stuffing
You can roast a bird and make mashed potatoes any time of year, but how often do you get to enjoy stuffing? This vegetarian-friendly version is packed with apples, roasted mushrooms, toasted walnuts, herbs, and aromatic vegetables for a hearty, better-for-you stuffing. For the best flavor (and added protein), look for a good whole grain bread loaded with nuts and seeds. If you’re gluten-free, choose a loaf with similar qualities (we like Udi’s millet-and-chia bread). The key is to let your croutons get extra dry and crispy before assembling your stuffing. This can be accomplished in the oven, as we do here, or you can slice your bread up to a day in advance and let it sit uncovered on the counter overnight. The dryer your croutons, the more flavor they’ll absorb from the other ingredients.
MAKE AHEAD This stuffing can be assembled up to one day in advance. Prepare through step four, then cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
Nutty Wild Mushroom and Apple Stuffing
1½ pounds mixed wild mushrooms, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
10 cups cubed multigrain bread (about 1-inch pieces; see Note)
4 Tablespoons (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted (see Note), plus more for greasing
1 large white onion, finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, finely chopped, plus ½ cup bright green celery leaves
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large apples, cored and finely chopped (honeycrisp preferred)
1 Tablespoon beau monde seasoning (see Note)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
½ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (give the oven time to cool before toasting the croutons).
Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350°F, or until crispy. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Keep the oven on and grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the celery, carrots, apple, Beau Monde, sage, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruits and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Scrape into the large bowl with the croutons and mushrooms.
Add the chicken broth, walnuts, parsley, celery leaves, and the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the stuffing into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer.
Bake the stuffing for about 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and crispy. Let cool slightly before serving.
This recipe can be prepared with gluten-free bread. We recommend looking for a denser loaf with seeds and nuts. This isn’t a sponsored post, but we can genuinely say we’ve had great luck making this stuffing with Udi's millet-and-chia bread. One medium loaf, weighing roughly 1 pound and 6 ounces, will yield 10 cups of croutons. Beau Monde seasoning is a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, and celery seeds. If you cannot find it, substitute with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of celery seeds. For a vegan stuffing, you can use dairy-free butter in place of the regular butter here. We like Miyoko’s Creamery brand because it is made with cashews instead of hydrogenated oil.