Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

A simple kale & mushroom vegan stuffing that's perfect for Thanksgiving! Seasoned with sage, rosemary & celery, it's delicious and make-ahead friendly.

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

Let’s get this Thanksgiving thing started, but first thing’s first – do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Obviously, based on the title here, you know where I stand. My humble opinion is that dressing is what goes on salad, and stuffing is my favorite carb-loaded Thanksgiving side dish… of course my version here isn’t actually stuffed into anything. Except for my mouth, I suppose.

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

This year, instead of going crazy with stuffing made of cornbread or poblano peppers, I’m keeping things kind of classic. This is similar to my mom’s traditional recipe, except I fancied it up with a mix of mushrooms, my favorite nine-grain bread, olive oil (instead of butter or vegan butter), kale, and tons of fresh sage & rosemary. As I just typed that I can feel my mom rolling her eyes because this isn’t exactly a stuffing recipe on a budget.

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

Cost of shiitake mushrooms aside (although you can totally sub them for any mushrooms), this stuffing is pretty easy to make, and it reheats really well. I think it actually tasted better the longer it sat. It was delicious the second day so by all means – make this in advance. See my reheating notes below…

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cipollini onions
  • 3 cups chopped & stemmed mushrooms (mix of shiitakes & creminis)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cups cubed bread (mix of ciabatta & a hearty nine grain)
  • A few kale leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, plus more for reheating
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x12 or 9x13 casserole dish.
  2. In the largest skillet you have, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and let cook until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms, salt & pepper and let the mushrooms cook for about 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Add the garlic, celery, sage, and rosemary and cook until everything is soft and the mushrooms are golden brown (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the bread and the remaining ¼ cup olive oil and toss to coat (as well as you can, it might be a little crowded in the pan). Add the kale and another pinch of salt and cook until the kale begins to wilt. Add 1 cup of stock and stir.
  4. Transfer to a casserole dish. If it seems too dry, pour more stock evenly over the stuffing. (I found this turned out better when I added more stock than I thought I needed. The amount you use will depend on the density of your bread).
  5. Sprinkle with the dried cranberries and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until ready to serve.
To reheat, add a bit more stock and bake until warmed through and slightly crisp on top.


pictured: Staub Cast Iron 12 x 8 Roasting Pan


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. As a relative newcomer to North America, I have to say that I had first found the concept of stuffing as a side dish a bit odd… I mean, a dish entirely made of bread? With little nutritional value? And even more so, a stuffing that has never seen the inside of a bird? For years, my response to an offer of veggie stuffing has always been, “no thanks”… And then I actually tasted it. So yeah, now I’m firmly on the side of stuffing – and yours looks amazing!

  2. I’ve always known it as stuffing, dressing goes on a salad, right?! I don’t usually like stuffing, but this could convince me otherwise!

  3. Jeni from thymeandlove.com

    This stuffing sounds amazing! Stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving!

  4. stuffing all the way!! i never really got the dressing thing, although it’s been explained to me that stuffing is literally stuffed inside a bird and dressing is on the side. i don’t care about semantics though, it’ll always be stuffing to me!!!

    this looks so, so good! love the shiitakes and sage 🙂


  5. Jessica from twogreenpeas.com

    This is a great take on the traditional recipes – I’ve never had mushrooms in stuffing! Even though our Thanksgiving is alredy over in Canada I may have to give this a try one weekend…just have to find something to celebrate lol

  6. Caitlin from teaspoonsf.com

    I’m always confused when someone calls it dressing. It just doesn’t sound right. I bet shitake mushroms taste wonderful in this stuffing! I’m in charge of turkey and stuffing this year, so I may have to test this out very soon 🙂

  7. Hello from Switzerland, your blog is very nice and is a great inspiration for me! Beautiful photos! Every time i look at your post i find something fantastic. Thank you!

  8. I’m not a bid stuffing fan, so I like that this one is chock full of veggies. Plus the cranberry, rosemary, and balsamic additions look amazing.

  9. oh this is quite a stuffing recipe! Love your pictures here! I think dressing is a southern term, as I never heard referred to as that until I moved to NC. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!

  10. oh this is quite a stuffing recipe! Love your pictures here! I think dressing is a southern term, as I never heard referred to as that until I moved to NC. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!

  11. Yum! I call it stuffing but no matter what you call it, this looks delicious. I sure love the addition of mushrooms too!

  12. Alden

    It’s only called stuffing if you actually cook it stuffed inside the bird. Otherwise it’s called dressing!

    • jeanine

      Ha – finally one vote for dressing 🙂

  13. I love mushroom stuffing and cannot wait to try this! I never thought to put kale in it. Love the twist!

  14. This looks like a delicious recipe! I appreciate the fact that it reheats well because Thanksgiving is all about quality leftovers. Happy Monday, Jeanine 🙂

  15. Definitely stuffing, who calls it dressing? Interesting spin with the kale in it, maybe I will have to try that. I like fruity stuffing. Pineapples, cranberries, walnuts, that’s where it’s at for me!

  16. Yum. I’m totally with you on the stuffing thing (I never really understood stuffing as dressing!) This reminds me of our family recipe chock full of mushrooms, herbs and onions. Shiitakes are a fabulous upgrade- I’l have to remember this! I just hope my mamma doesn’t roll her eyes at me either 😉

  17. I call it stuffing, all.the.way (and I stuff my face with it, too). Being that I’ve finally admitted to my family that I’m a food blogger, and I’ve allowed them to read my blog – something that gave me anxiety before – I’ve now been given the task of making a side dish for Thanksgiving. This is definitely an option!

  18. Bec from dancingthroughsunday.com.au

    Oh my, this looks amazing! I am so making this in Australia just because it looks so amazing! P.s.. we all call it stuffing down here.

  19. Brian from HomeChefsMarket.com

    This looks awesome! Just out of curiosity, why remove the mushroom stems?

    • jeanine

      Hi Brian, I find them to be too tough and wood-y and not as tender as the caps. (sometimes I’ll save them for stocks, etc).

  20. Alaros

    This looks amazing! I cannot find fresh sage in my country. Can I substitute it for dry? Please tell me the quantity. Thanks.

    • jeanine

      you can skip it (maybe increase the fresh rosemary in the recipe a little?) Or you can use dried sage, but don’t use 1/4 cup – use a teaspoon or two.

  21. Alaros

    Or can I replace the sage for other fresh herb?

  22. Katie

    For those of us local in Austin, do you mind disclosing who you purchased the bread from? Based on the description and photo my guess is Easy Tiger but I could be wrong.

    • jeanine

      Good eye :). It is Easy Tiger’s nine grain bread (although I like their rye batard too).

  23. Carolyn

    Hi I may have missed the # of servings but for 13 adults how much should I make was thinking of doubling the recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Carolyn, I think doubling it would be perfect.

  24. Regina

    Hi, you don’t mention anything about toasting the bread before you toss it all together, is this correct or should I toast the bread beforehand?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Regina – I didn’t toast the bread. You could use stale bread if you like, but I don’t find toasting it to be necessary.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.