There is always room on the table and for one more helping of this Thanksgiving meal staple — stuffing! For many, stuffing rivals the main course and is a source of family pride. Some make it with apples, fresh herbs, and a secret blend of spices. This recipe is one you’ll want to bookmark when you do your dinner shopping because it is everything you want — savory, herbaceous and seriously delicious. Plus, it’s vegetarian…because even vegetarians like second helpings on Thanksgiving! Looking for the best stuffing recipe? Look no further.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the bread cubes on a large sheet pan, drizzle with a ¼ cup of olive oil, season with salt, and toss to coat. Bake until golden brown and toasted on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and lower oven temperature to 350°F. Add the pecans to the same sheet pan and toast in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes, transfer to bowl with toasted bread.
Add a ¼ cup of the olive oil to one large skillet with a very large surface area. Add the leek and red onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, butternut squash, bell pepper, celery, and apples and season generously with salt and pepper and with half of the chopped herbs. Cook until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Pour in the white wine, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, honey, and cranberries and stir to combine, and transfer the mixture to the bowl with toasted bread and pecans.
Add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high heat to the skillet and heat until the oil is shimmering; add the sliced mushrooms and season with salt and black pepper and sauté until seared on all sides. Remove from heat, and transfer to bowl mixture. Toss in the remaining chopped herbs and toss to distribute everything together.
Grease an 8”x12” casserole dish and transfer stuffing mixture to prepared dish. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered until the challah is golden brown on the edges, and continue baking covered with foil for another 30 minutes until the stuffing is very hot and crispy on the top. Garnish with bright green herbs such as parsley and thyme just before serving.
*Stuffing will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days, reheat to enjoy for leftovers.