Mom’s Classic Chestnut Stuffing and Easy Gravy

Taste Bud Nostalgia


For those of us who are vegan or plant-based, it’s joyful during the holidays to share dishes we know everyone will love! You don’t need to be vegan to enjoy most vegan food (think pasta, burritos, pizza!).

My mom’s traditional chestnut stuffing was my favorite thing to eat during the holidays and I wasn’t vegan at the time! The night before Thanksgiving she would spread the cubes of bread on a cookie sheet to dry out and roast the chestnuts in the oven. It was my job to help her peel them, so she always made extra because half of them ended up in my mouth. Roasted chestnuts are a wonderful treat! The Asian markets near our place in the Bay Area always have snack packs of them.

Mom used a basic country white or wheat bread, but I use sourdough. I have used everything from Dave’s Killer Bread to Ezekiel to Alvarado Street breads. But my favorite is a sourdough oat porridge bread I get at the Farmer’s Market on Sundays. It’s best with old bread that is getting dry and a little stale (like for making croutons).

Mom used Bell’s seasoning in her stuffing, so I recommend using it if you can get it. Meanwhile, I have modified the recipe to use the individual herbs since I have not found it here in SF!


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Mom’s Classic Chestnut Stuffing and Easy Gravy

recipe from Lisa Rice's Kitchen Plantastic


Bread (about 1/2 loaf up to one whole, depending on size, cubed and dried) whole grain or sourdough

Spritz of olive oil (up to 1 T) or vegetable broth

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 ribs celery, small dice

2-3 cups cooked, peeled and chopped *chestnuts (can used soaked unsalted roasted cashews)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp dried rosemary, minced

1 tsp dried marjoram

1/2 tsp dried ginger

2-4 cups vegetable bouillon (try to find the chicken-less flavor like Edward & Sons or Better Than Bouillon)

Sweet Paprika (about 1/2 a tsp)

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, 1 T set aside for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Easy gravy:

2 cups vegetable bouillon broth

1 tsp onion powder/granules

3 T nutritional yeast

1 T low sodium tamari

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry or brown rice flour

*bread tip: I cube an entire load, spread on a cookie sheet, loosely cover with foil and leave it out a night or two before I make the stuffing. I usually do not use all of it – I sort of eyeball how much I will need. But have no fear, whatever doesn’t of in the stuffing is perfect for croutons for soup, salad or snacking!

*you can buy pre-cooked chestnuts in most supermarkets and Asian stores. If you find them fresh, they are easy enough to roast but take a little time to peel.



If you forget to leave your bread out the night before: spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. The goal is to remove moisture from the bread but not to toast it!

Preheat oven to 375

In a large pot on medium to medium high, heat your olive oil (or broth) and add your onions, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook , stirring frequently and adding a splash of vegetable broth as needed to prevent sticking until the onion is translucent. Add the dried herbs and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Stir in the cubed bread, chestnuts and 1 1/2 cups of vegetable bouillon broth and all but 1 T parsley. Stir until the vegetables are evenly distributed and the bread is nicely coated. Depending on your type of bread, you may need to add more broth. You want the cubes to be moist enough so the stuffing sticks together like bread pudding when it’s baked, but not soggy!

Spray a baking dish with olive oil (or use a non-stick baking dish or use parchment paper), spread the mixture evenly, sprinkle lightly with the sweet paprika, cover with foil  and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for 5 minutes or until the top is slightly crispy (do not burn!). Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with hot gravy!

Gravy: whisk ingredients together in a small pan and bring to a boil. Cook for several minutes, whisking frequently, until the gravy thickens. Serve hot!

Lisa Rice

Sr. Health Mentor & Director of Content and Promotion