These stuffing balls are perfect for a Thanksgiving and Christmas side dish as everyone gets their own serving! Simple and super flavorful, your family will love this vegetarian take on the traditional stuffing.
Isn't it great how some recipes are so nostalgic that the second you take a bite, it just transports you back to a certain memory? The second I tasted these stuffing balls, it brought me back to holidays at my grandmas. They're easy to make, packed with flavor, and the bread gets kinda crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Every year my aunt would make these and I couldn't help but take two...or five. I'm not sure of her exact recipe, but I'm pretty sure it's from the recesses of an old Taste of Home cookbook or magazine.
The best part of these is they're served individually, which makes prepping and storage a breeze. They're easy to meal prep ahead of your holiday dinner, bake, and freeze. Or store in the fridge till you're ready to bake. Finally, I love that it's a great vegetarian option. So often, stuffings are filled with sausage, but this recipe packs a ton of flavor while pleasing any vegetarians (or vegans!) at the Thanksgiving table.
- Use really good butter, like Kerrygold. For a vegan option, olive oil is ok.
- Some of the fancy spice brands put onion in their poultry seasoning, but I also found quite a few that keep it simple and migraine safe (without onion) - McCormick is one of them as well as Simply Organic. Central Market Organics also has poultry seasoning without onion.
- Don't be afraid of leeks! Simply trim the dark green ends and the bottoms. Separate the layers into a large bowl of water and allow any grit or sand to fall to the bottom. Wash and pat dry. Or buy the pre-trimmed leeks from Trader Joe's. These can also be substituted for chopped shallots, which are just as great.
- Make this stock ahead of time and keep it in the freezer for all your recipes, or you can use the vegetable stock from my cookbook.
Gluten Free and Egg-Free Adjustments
You can use any bread you'd like - gluten free, white, whole wheat, etc. I was able to (surprisingly) find a compliant white bread at Central Market's bakery. Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat is a good option in mass markets and Rudi's will be the best gluten free option that you can find except for local bakeries. One thing that's great about this recipe is the bread is better if it's a day or two old.
If you are buying fresh bread, you can dry it out in the oven for a couple of minutes at 350 degrees F. You still want it soft in the center, just a little crusty on the outside (not browned/toasted).
For egg free, try using a flax egg! Mix 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal with 2.5 tablespoon of water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
How to Reheat Stuffing
These stuffing balls freeze well and can also be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Re-warm (covered with foil) on a baking sheet at 350 degrees - about 15 minutes if frozen, and about 5 if fresh.
Other Holiday Recipes
If you're a fan of these stuffing balls, you may enjoy these other holiday recipes.
- ¼ cup butter * Use olive oil for dairy free/vegan
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ⅓ cup shallots or leeks, chopped
- 1 large egg * Use a flax replacement for vegan
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning * See post for recommendations
- ½ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ⅓ cup vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt * Adjust this if your poultry seasoning contains salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh pepper
- 6 cups day-old white or wheat bread cut into ½ inch cubes (about 6-7 slices)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add in chopped celery and leeks or shallots. Stir about 2-3 minutes until softened. Turn off heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, poultry seasoning, parsley, broth, salt and pepper, then add butter mixture. Add bread cubes and use your hands to mash it all together. If mixture seems too moist, add more bread. If it seems too dry, add more broth. Pack it together in your hands and form into roughly 2-½ inch balls - they should hold together well.
- Place balls on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes until lightly browned and crunchy on the outside. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days or in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months.
- If your bread is pretty fresh, just dry it out a bit in the oven by placing in for 2-3 minutes at 350 degrees F. You don't want it toasted, just a little crusty/dry on the outside.
- Onion-free poultry seasoning can be found with McCormick brand and Central Market brand.
- For migraine friendly instant pot stock, see this recipe or the vegetable broth from my cookbook (which is what I used).