Stuffing has always perplexed me. By definition, shouldn’t it be inside of something? The dictionary uses ambiguous terms, like “material used to fill,” be it cotton batting inside a teddy bear or beans inside a burrito. Please explain to me why, then, when Thanksgiving rolls around, we lose all sense of spacial relationships and present so-called stuffing as a standalone, completely exposed side dish?
Granted, I never grew up with the stuff, so my confusion stems from inexperience. My family was never much for casseroles or any sort of hotdish to begin with, which is why our festive holiday table followed suit. Separate rolls, roasted vegetables, and plenty of gravy their own distinct dishes? Of course. Combined together? On the plate, sure, but not in the oven.
Devotees might be aghast at my unstuffed childhood, but I actually consider it advantageous in my later years, as I have no frame of reference to constrain my reckless creativity. That’s why I connected the dots between stuffing and… Cheeseburgers.
Before you click away in horror, hear me out. This is no White Castle fast food abomination, but a humble celebration of Americana. You’ve got your classic aromatics and seasonings, enriched with meatless grounds for protein, and bulked up with a bit of bread. Beefy broth soaks in to bind it all together, and a quick sprinkle of cheese on top seals the deal. Now, that doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?
The end results are a little bit Thanksgiving, a little bit backyard BBQ, and 100% comfort food. It’s a dish you could serve as a side for your grand feast, or simply make as the main feature any day of the week. If you had to go and put a dab of ketchup and a pickle on top, well… Who am I to judge?
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter or Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, Diced
- 2 Stalks Celery, Diced
- 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage, Minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1/2 Pound Vegan Ground Beef (Such as Beyond, Lifelight, or Impossible)
- 2 1/2 Cups Vegan Beef Broth (or Bouillion Powder Reconstituted in Water)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 5 Ounces (About 2 - 3) Sesame Seed Rolls or Sturdy Hamburger Buns, Cubed
- 1 Cup Vegan Cheddar-Style Shreds
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 7 x 11-inch baking pan or casserole dish.
- In a large pot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, sauteing until softened and aromatic; about 5 minutes. Add the sage, thyme, and pepper, stir to incorporate, followed immediately by the meatless grounds. Break up the "meat" with your spatula and cook until lightly browned.
- Deglaze the pan with the broth, scraping the bottom thoroughly to make sure nothing is left behind. Add salt to taste before folding in the cubed buns.
- Once everything is fully combined, transfer to your prepared baking dish and spread out into one even layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle cheese all over the top. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the stuffing golden brown. Serve right away, while piping hot!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 23mg Sodium: 753mg Carbohydrates: 14g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 14g