Vegan Life > Recipes > Dinner > Vegan Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples

Vegan Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples in Roasted Acorn Squash Bowls

September 21, 2020

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Cranberry apple vegan stuffing in acorn squash bowls with a dish of stuffing to the side

This recipe combines all the best flavors of Thanksgiving into one dish: cranberries, apples, savory buttery stuffing, and acorn squash. The flavors are so great together, no one will miss the turkey at your vegan Thanksgiving!

The addition of apples and dried cranberries to this stuffing adds a touch of sweetness. And we're using vegan butter and veggie broth for their rich, savory flavors. Flax eggs hold everything together in this eggless stuffing. Sweet apples like Fuji, Gala, or Pink Lady apples work best in this recipe. Tart apples like Granny Smith will likely add a little too much flavor for most people's taste.

If you're trying to match the flavor of traditional stuffing, you can leave out the apple and cranberries, and it will work just as well.

Stuffing (or dressing, or filling, depending on where you live) is one of those Thanksgiving dinner staples that everyone loves. I've made vegan stuffing for many years now without "stuffing" it into anything. But this year I decided I wanted to make this holiday recipe live up to its name, so I'm stuffing it into roasted acorn squash. Acorn squash is a perfect fall food for stuffing, and its small size means each person can have their own half-squash "bowl." This vegan stuffing recipe is also amazing on its own, so if you'd rather not make the squash, feel free to skip it!

Vegan cranberry apple stuffing in a baking dish on a cooling rack
This vegan stuffing is delicious on its own, even if it's not used to stuff anything!

Note that you'll want to start this recipe a day in advance to let the bread dry out a bit. However, if you're in a last-minute bind, see the notes & hints for instructions on drying the bread in the oven.

Are you looking for more vegan holiday recipes to fill your Thanksgiving table? Try my cranberry crostini, which includes a delicious cranberry sauce recipe, or my lentil loaf recipe. Twice-baked potatoes are always a favorite Thanksgiving side dish. For even more ideas, check out my complete Thanksgiving menu!

Stuffing in acorn squash close up with stuffing in background
Acorn squashes make the perfect "bowls" for stuffing.

Vegan Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples

Yield10 servings

Prep Time45 minutes

Cook Time45 minutes

Total Time90 minutes

Ingredients

Acorn Squash

  • 5 tbsp. vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 5 acorn squashes
  • salt
  • black pepper

Stuffing

  • 24 oz. loaf of white sandwich bread (such as Dave's Killer Bread)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. water
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 cup onion, chopped (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 4-5 stalks)
  • 1 sweet apple (such as Fuji or Gala), peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Instructions

  1. Leave your loaf of bread out to dry overnight. I like to use a large mixing bowl to spread out the pieces, and rotate them every so often so they dry evenly. You can also spread them out in a single layer on a few baking sheets. Once the bread is dry, cut it into approximately 1-inch cubes. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

    Bread cubes in a large bowl
    Bread cubes form the base of your vegan stuffing.
  2. Grease a 9x13 or 10x15 baking pan or casserole dish.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. Cut each acorn squash in half, from tip to stem. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy pieces inside.

  6. Rub 1/2 tbsp. of vegan butter on the inside of each half of squash, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Acorn squash halves buttered with salt and pepper
    Grease the acorn squash with vegan butter generously.
  7. Place the squash halves face up on the baking tray, and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender and golden brown on its cut side.

  8. While your squash is roasting, begin chopping vegetables and preparing the stuffing. Once the squash is out of the oven, reduce the oven heat to 350°F (180°C).

  9. In a small bowl or cup, mix ground flax with water, and set aside to thicken.

  10. In a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. (Cook longer for softer vegetables, less time for crunchier vegetables).

    chopped onion cooking in vegan butter in a pan
    A large amount of vegan butter gives the stuffing its rich flavor.
  11. Add chopped celery to the pan and continue cooking for an additional 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat.

    Chopped onion and celery cooking in vegan butter
    Celery and onion cooking.
  12. Add the celery and onion to the bowl with the bread cubes, along with the butter from the pan. Add in the flax mix and all the remaining ingredients except the vegetable broth and mix well. Then add the vegetable broth on top of the stuffing mixture a little at a time, mixing continually, until the bread is moist but not wet. You may not need to add all the vegetable broth; we don’t want soggy stuffing! Mix everything together using your hands until well combined.

  13. Spread the stuffing in the greased casserole pan, then cover the pan with foil. Bake for about 35 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.

  14. Allow the stuffing to cool slightly, then fill each squash half with a generous serving of stuffing.

Notes & Hints

You could use many types of bread, but white sandwich bread is usually the most-liked bread for stuffing. I used Dave's Killer White Bread for this recipe.

Some people recommend cutting the bread into cubes before leaving it to dry out, however I found that the bread is much easier to cut once it's already dry.

If you're in a bind and you don't have time to leave your bread overnight to dry, you can spread the bread out in a baking tray and bake it at 350°F for 5 minutes (until just dried, but not toasted).

Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The stuffing can be frozen for longer storage.

Reheat: Heat in the oven at 350°F. The squash will take about 15-17 minutes to heat all the way through, but if you're just heating the stuffing, it should heat up in about 12 minutes. Add some broth to the stuffing to keep it from drying out.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/10 of recipe; Calories: 485Fat: 22 g.; Saturated Fat: 6 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 715 mg.; Carbohydrates: 70 g.; Fiber: 9 g.; Sugar: 18 g.; Protein: 7 g.; Vitamin A: 51 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 0 mcg.; Vitamin C: 28 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 91 mg.; Iron: 3 mg.; Potassium: 886 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

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Stuffing in an acorn squash bowl
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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.

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