Vegan Traditional Irish Sage & Onion Stuffing

Vegan Traditional Irish Sage & Onion Stuffing
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Ah, stuffing I do love you so. Particularly sage and onion stuffing. No Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner is complete without some traditional stuffing, so in a bid to satisfy my need for this savory herbed homely dish, I present to you my vegan sage and onion stuffing recipe.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland, or in Spain where I live now, but this addictive recipe would also make a great side dish for this popular holiday.

Whip up a batch in just fifteen minutes and drool while it bakes in the oven. You can use this recipe to make stuffing balls or a tray of stuffing, crisp golden stuffing or steamed delicious goodness. How do you like your stuffing?

Personally I’m a fan of the non-golden tray bake version, but handsome hubby and the kids like golden slightly-crisp stuffing balls, so that’s the way I make it more often than not. I could literally eat just a bowl of stuffing (and I have) and be happy, that’s how much I love it.

Stuffing is best served alongside a hearty vegan main with roast potatoes or mashed potatoes and some other tasty sides. If you’re looking for recommendations I heartily recommend it paired with the tasty dishes below.

How does traditional Irish stuffing differ from American-style stuffing?

While not a hard and fast rule, American style-stuffing tends to be made with cubes of bread, while for Irish stuffing (and British stuffing) fresh breadcrumbs are preferred.

The smaller size of breadcrumbs can allow for a better distribution of herbs and fats. Basically this normally means that you can get away with only adding some very simple ingredients.

If you’re partial to Irish recipes I have also veganized other popular recipes of ours such as soda bread, barmbrack, and Christmas cake.

Is stuffing vegan?

Golden stuffing balls in a teal ceramic dish with a dark blue cloth folded over the edge

Normally no. In Ireland, melted butter is usually added to stuffing, and some recipes also call for an egg. These fatty liquids help the breadcrumbs to bind together and add flavour. In Ireland butter is usually always from grass-fed cows, and as such adds quite a bit of flavor.

To replicate the rich buttery flavour I have used good quality olive oil and coconut oil, at a ratio of 3:1. You can also just use olive oil, but I don’t recommend using just coconut oil as it imparts a very non-traditional taste in larger quantities.

How do I make fresh breadcrumbs?

Fresh breadcrumbs are very easy to make. In Ireland, you can buy a bag of fresh breadcrumbs in the supermarket due to stuffing’s popularity as a side for Sunday lunch. I live in Spain though, so no such luck.

I found out you can grate bread to make breadcrumbs. Note that this only works if the bread is slightly stale, otherwise you’ll end up desperately trying to squeeze a handful of mushed up bread through the holes on the grater.

The best and easiest way to make breadcrumbs is with a blender. Tear two-three slices of bread into bite-sized pieces, chuck them in the blender, pulse a few times and voila, fresh breadcrumbs.

How many slices you can throw in depends on the thickness of them and the quality of your blender. For a low-powered blender, two slices is a safe bet while with a high-powered one you can get away with three.

I dislike my expensive heavy “high-powered” (but lazy) blender intensely, so I do three at a time and shake it a bit from side to side while it’s blending, so that the pieces at the top move down and get blended.

I’m fairly sure that qualifies as blender abuse though, so if you like your blender don’t do it. Or turn off the blender and use a fork to push the pieces down, or lift the blender off the base and shake a bit. Or, you know, be sensible and patient (unlike me) and just add two slices at a time.

Stuffing balls or tray-baked stuffing?

This is really a matter of personal preference. You will get different results depending on how much liquid you add and whether you cover it for baking or not. I’ve tested different ways of cooking stuffing with different amounts of liquids and compiled the results in the table below.

Tray or ballsMethodResult
Tray-baked Covered and baked for 20 minutesPerfectly moist stuffing with individual crumb preserved
Tray-baked plus 1 tablespoon vegetable stockCovered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10 moreSomewhat moist stuffing with a slightly crunchy top layer.
BallsCovered and baked for 20 minutesPerfectly moist stuffing but very delicate balls
Balls plus 1 tablespoon vegetable stockCovered and baked for 20 minutesPerfectly moist stuffing balls that stick together a little better
Balls plus 2 tablespoons vegetable stockCovered and baked for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10 moreSomewhat moist stuffing balls that are reasonably sturdy

My preference is the first method but you do you. A word of caution is that you should be very exact with measuring and adding liquids to traditional vegan stuffing.

Too much and you will have an unredeemable bowl of herbed bread paste, so follow the guidelines above and only add one tablespoon at a time before stirring to make sure that it is evenly distributed.

Can you make stuffing a day ahead?

8 stuffing balls in a green ceramic dish

Absolutely, and I highly recommend doing so if you get the chance. This vegan traditional Irish stuffing recipe will keep covered in the fridge for up to five days. The longer it sits the more flavor the dried herbs will release into the breadcrumbs, although cooking it straight away will also yield delicious results.

If you’re going to be adding any vegetable stock, however, cut the amount in half and add just before baking. This is because the onions will release more moisture into the stuffing while it sits.

Can you store leftover baked vegan sage and onion stuffing?

Yes, just cover it with some aluminum foil or pop into a Tupperware container and leave in the fridge for up to five days. Leftover stuffing is delicious cold or heated up, unlike leftover roast potatoes.

I don’t know what happens to roast potatoes in the fridge, do they get angry or something? They sure taste like they’re unhappy!

Don’t judge me too harshly but my favorite thing to do with leftover stuffing is to crumble lots of it into a sub spread with vegan mayo, and top with sliced onion, tomatoes and peppers, with a final sprinkle of cheddar cheese style shreds.

How to make vegan sage and onion stuffing

Finely chop the onions and add to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for four minutes. This step is optional and is meant to ensure there are no chunks of uncooked onion in the final dish, but if you prefer a stronger onion flavour you can skip it.

If you haven’t been able to buy fresh breadcrumbs, whip out your blender and make them while the onion is in the microwave by blending two-three slices at a time and tipping the crumbs out into a large mixing bowl. Note I will only use regular white sandwich bread for making breadcrumbs for stuffing.

Baguettes or rolls can give a blender trouble because of the hard crust (you can leave the crusts on with sandwich bread). I also don’t recommend using brown, wholegrain or artisanal bread as the flavor will overpower the herbs.

Fresh white breadcrumbs in a glass bowl

Once you have the breadcrumbs, mix in all the dried herbs, salt, and pepper, making sure to distribute them evenly. In theory, you can substitute fresh herbs in half the amounts but I don’t recommend it as they don’t distribute flavor as evenly as the dried ones.

Next, add in the onions and any juice that may have collected in the bottom of the bowl and mix very well. Whisk together the oils (or you can just use olive oil alone if you prefer) and add one tablespoon at a time. Mix the oil in quickly and vigorously, using the back of a wooden spoon to drag it over the breadcrumbs as well.

Don’t be tempted to dump all the oil in at once, or the top layer of breadcrumbs will soak it up quickly and you’ll have some very oily breadcrumbs, and some dry ones.

fresh stuffing in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon

Taste and check for seasoning. The texture should be clumpy and you can easily make stuffing balls now if that is your preference (will make around 12).

Add in any vegetable stock, if you are going to add any, just before baking, and only a little at a time as the crumbs will soak up the stock even faster than oil.

Bake in a baking dish with a lid or covered in aluminum oil for twenty minutes at 350F/320F fan. Bake an additional 10 minutes uncovered if you’d like a crispy exterior layer. Done!


If you make this recipe I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Or you can take a photo and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian). If you’re a Pinterest fan like me, follow me on Pinterest for more recipes, or sign up to my mailing list and never miss out.

Yield: 4 small or 6 large side servings

Vegan Traditional Irish Sage & Onion Stuffing

Vegan Traditional Irish Sage & Onion Stuffing

An easy quick vegan side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a traditional Sunday lunch. This perfectly moist savory herbed stuffing comes together in minutes and can be made up to five days ahead.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium onions chopped finely
  • 2.5 tbsp dried chopped sage
  • .5 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable stock (optional)

Instructions

  1. Microwave the chopped onions in an uncovered bowl on high power for four minutes.
  2. If you're using sliced sandwich bread to make the breadcrumbs, use a blender to make them now, in batches of 2-3 slices depending on your blender.
  3. Mix all the dried herbs and seasonings into the breadcrumbs.
  4. Mix in the onions and any liquid that may have collected at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Whisk together the oils in a small bowl using a fork ad drizzle one tablespoon over the breadcrumb mixture before quickly mixing the crumbs to distribute the oil.
  6. Repeat with the remaining oil mixture, one tablespoon at a time.
  7. If you are adding vegetable stock, mix it in little by little just before baking.
  8. Place the mixture in a baking dish or shape into balls and place them in the dish.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 320F/350F fan/ (180C/160C fan) for 20 minutes. Done, or you can continue to point 9.
  10. If you would like a crispy exterior after 20 minutes remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Notes

You can use any bread to make breadcrumbs, but I prefer to use regular white sandwich bread as it gives the softest crumbs.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per ServingCalories 329 Total Fat 12g Saturated Fat 4g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 8g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 637mg Carbohydrates 46g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 4g Sugar 5g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 8g
A teal ceramic tray with golden breaded balls

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