You may not know this, but most stuffing mixes are not vegetarian. Which I wish Whole Foods had taken in to consideration when they ordered their stuffing cubes this year, but no, instead of getting the brand that I really liked that made really tasty stuffing, they switched to mixes, all helpfully labeled "made with real chicken broth." Hey Whole Foods, you know all those vegetarian products you sell? That a large segment of your customer base buys? The people who buy them don't want a mix made with real chicken broth.
Anyway, I love stuffing. Even back when I ate meat, stuffing was my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Of course as a diabetic, I really can't justify eating something so carb heavy very often, so my stuffing enjoyment opportunities have been severely curtailed. But for Thanksgiving, I go all out. This year John was bugging me to try a stuffing with vegetarian sausage, so that's what I am doing.
Vegetarian Stuffing with Sausage
4 Italian "sausages" I used Boca Italian Sausage, defrosted, cut in half length wise and then cut in to bite sized pieces
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 pound stuffing cubes
3 ½ cups vegetable broth
Brown the sausage in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a stock pot. Add in the onion, celery and garlic and sauté over medium heat until soft - about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to be sure the butter isn't getting too brown and that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. While that is cooking, heat up 2 ½ cups of the broth.
Add the stuffing cubes, stirring to coat with the butter and to mix in the celery, onions and garlic. Pour in a little of the heated broth to help prevent sticking. If you've bought stuffing that doesn't have a lot of herbs, this is a good point to add in herbs. Sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme are good in stuffing. Marjoram and Savory can be good too, but you don't want to use too many herbs. If you're using fresh herbs, you'll throw in about a tablespoon of each one that you're using. If you're using dried herbs, cut that down to a teaspoon each.
Add the eggs and the rest of the heated broth, stirring to mix in. As the stuffing cooks you will need to keep adding the remaining cup of broth, until you get the consistency that you prefer. Add in the browned sausage and cook for a little while longer, stirring almost constantly to prevent sticking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spoon the stuffing in a shallow baking pan (if you want drier stuffing) or casserole dish (if you prefer more moist stuffing) and bake for 20 minutes. You can skip this step if you want to, but I am paranoid about making sure the egg is really cooked.
To make this vegan stuffing (also delicious) replace the butter with 3 tablepoons of olive oil, and omit the eggs. You'll probably need a little extra broth without the eggs. I'm also not sure if the Boca sausage is vegan or not, but I think it is.