Spinach and Fennel Sourdough Stuffing

This vegan stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful and savory.  It incorporates vegan Italian sausage, spinach, fennel, and sourdough bread cubes. It’s perfect for fall, winter, Thanksgiving, holiday celebrations or any time you want a really good sourdough stuffing.  

When my family gets together, I always ask, “What do you want me to make?” And the reply is generally, “That stuffing.” If they’re in love with this stuffing, then there’s something great happening here.

For this particular recipe, I like to use a brand new loaf of crusty sourdough bread, and use a bread knife to cut it into cubes for the stuffing.  My bread cubes tend to be on the larger side, but I think it gives the dish a “rustic” feel. When I want to get fancy, I have used a loaf of Panera Sourdough Bread or a loaf of the Panera Country Rustic. As of the writing of this post, they aren’t paying me to say that. It’s just good bread, crusty, vegan and easy to find in the U.S.

I also have a squirrel-like tendency to save up all my bread heels in a bag in the freezer. I don’t like to make sandwiches from bread heels, but they do make excellent bread cubes, croutons, and breadcrumbs. When I want to make this stuffing, I grab that bag of frozen bread heels from the freezer and cut them into cubes.

Bottom line, you can’t lose with fresh bread cubes, whether you buy a new crusty loaf or you squirrel away bread heels. They create a stuffing that’s moist, flavorful, and absolutely delicious.

Spinach and Fennel Sourdough Stuffing

6 cups crusty sourdough bread cubes (see note above)

1 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup vegan Italian sausage, crumbled (I used Field Roast Italian Sausage)

5 Tbsp vegan butter

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

1 sprig of fresh thyme (OR ½ tsp dried thyme)

2 ½ cups broth (fake chicken or vegetable)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

10 ounce bag of frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out

2 Tbsp flax seed meal

½ cup water

Salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Grease an 8″ X 11″ baking pan. Set aside.  

2. In a large skillet, add red onions, crumbled Italian sausage and 2 Tbsp vegan butter and sauté over medium-low heat for ~5 minutes.  Add fennel bulb and celery, and sauté for 3 more minutes or until they soften.

3. Add broth, thyme, and 3 Tbsp vegan butter.  Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

4. While the broth mixture is simmering, mix the bread cubes, spinach, parsley and flax seed meal in a large mixing bowl.  

5. When the broth is done simmering, remove the thyme sprig (if you used fresh thyme), and stir in the lemon juice.  Pour the broth mixture over the bread cubes mixture.  Taste, and adjust seasonings (salt? black pepper?).

6. Spoon the mixture into the greased 8″ X 11″ pan.  Drizzle a ½ cup water over the top of the mix.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400 F for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, and bake for 5-7 minutes more.  Remove from oven, and serve.

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