The best vegan stuffing with all the comfort and familiarity of traditional stuffing, but packed with protein and flavour too. Bake in a tray, or shape into balls. Whether you‘re vegetarian, vegan or carnivorous, you’ll love this chestnut and tempeh stuffing.
My vegan stuffing is based on traditional chestnut and bacon stuffing which is flavoured with both thyme and parsley. I’ve swapped the bacon for tempeh, which is the closest ingredient I’ve come to bacon in terms of flavour and crispness. Just fry very thin slices of bacon in oil until crisp and you’ll see what I mean. Even more so if you marinade the tempeh slices in soy and smoked paprika first.
Vegan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Tempeh
This recipe for chestnut and tempeh vegan stuffing is incredibly easy to make. It’s not only delicious, but it’s nutritious too and contains plenty of protein, something often lacking from vegan festive feasts.
The ingredients are all pretty straight forward. Tempeh used to be hard to track down, but it’s widely available these days and most supermarkets should sell it. For the chestnuts, I use a vacuum pack of ready prepared ones. I had a go at cooking and peeling chestnuts for a recipe once, but never again. Life’s too short.
Apart from frying the onion and tempeh, the only prep you need to do is to pulse all of the ingredients together in some sort of machine. Easy peasy.
I’ve chosen to form the mixture into balls prior to cooking, but this takes a bit of additional time and is a teensy bit fiddly. So if balls are not for you, just pack the mixture into an oiled oven-proof dish instead.
Pop the stuffing into the oven and job done.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Vegan Stuffing?
The easiest and quickest way to cook stuffing is to cook it in a greased ovenproof dish. You can either cover it with foil if you want the stuffing to remain soft, or for a crusty top just bake uncovered.
However, I like to make stuffing balls rather than bake my vegan stuffing in a dish. This makes the stuffing more versatile and they look prettier too. You also get crispy bits on the outside with a soft and chewy inside. You can freeze any leftovers or reheat them for later use much more easily. But it is more of a faff as it takes time to form the stuffing into balls.
For a particularly crispy finish, roast the stuffing balls rather than bake them. Pour some sunflower oil into a roasting tray and place into a hot oven five minutes before you add the balls. Toss them in the hot oil then pop them in the oven pronto. Otherwise, just place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper or a silicone mat.
Whatever way you want to cook them, they need to be in a hot oven for thirty minutes. If you’re making stuffing balls, turn them over half way through.
Vegan Stuffing Top Tips
- Swap the tempeh for tofu. Ensure you use firm tofu and omit the water in the recipe.
- Make this vegan stuffing gluten-free. Just use a good gluten-free bread for the breadcrumbs.
- Test for seasoning before cooking and add more salt if needed.
- You don’t need to roast the stuffing balls in oil, you can just bake them. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, so they don’t stick and follow the recipe minus the optional oil.
- Deep fry for a party snack or appetiser.
- Instead of baking or roasting the stuffing separately, you can use it to stuff vegetables or even the main event.
- Make them ahead of the big day and freeze.
- Leftovers are delicious stuffed into a wrap or pitta bread with salad, pickles and maybe some guacamole. My sourdough flatbreads are particularly good for this.
How Long do Stuffing Balls Take to Cook?
Stuffing balls take thirty minutes to cook in a hot oven. Turn them half way through the cooking time and you’ll end up with crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside – stuffing ball perfection.
Can You Freeze Stuffing Balls?
Yes, you can freeze stuffing balls. No problem at all. Make them ahead of the big day and once cooked, place on a tray and freeze for an hour or so. Once frozen, place in a bag or bags. They’ll keep well for a couple of months. Thaw in the bag, then bake in a hot oven for ten minutes.
A Vegan Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner
If you’re stuck for ideas as to what to serve alongside these chestnut stuffing balls for a delicious and satisfying vegan Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve got it covered.
- Lentil & brazil nut roast with sage and onion stuffing & red wine gravy. Who says you can’t have two kinds of stuffing?
- Cranberry sauce
- Roast potatoes for sure
- And roast parsnips.
- Stir-fried brussels sprouts with leeks, ginger, garlic and chilli. Or try this post on how to cook the perfect brussels sprouts.
- Braised red cabbage
- Carrot & swede mash
- Leek gratin
- Roasted squash with sage and hazelnut brown butter
- And don’t forget these chestnut and tempeh stuffing balls.
For more festive recipe ideas, head over to my post on all the vegetarian and vegan Christmas recipes you could wish for.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try this delicious vegan stuffing, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like even more festive recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Vegan Stuffing Balls. PIN IT.
Vegan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Tempeh – The Recipe
Vegan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Tempeh
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion – peeled and sliced
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 8 sprigs thyme – leaves only
- 200 g tempeh – diced
- 180 g chestnuts – cooked and peeled (I use a vacuum pack of ready prepared chestnuts)
- 2 cloves garlic – chopped
- 80 g wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 25 g parsley – roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce of your choice
- 1 tbsp water
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil (optional)
- Turn the oven on to 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6).
- Fry the onions with the salt in the oil over a low heat for five minutes or until translucent.
- Turn up the heat and add the tempeh and thyme. Fry for a further five minutes, tossing the tempeh and onions from time to time until the onions have caramelised and most of the tempeh has crisped up. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little.
- Place all ingredients, bar the bottom two, into a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is broken up and well combined, but there’s still plenty of texture.
- Test for seasoning and add a few grinds of pepper and more salt if needed.
- Either scrape the mixture into a suitably sized ovenproof dish. Oil it first and press the mixture into an even layer. Or squeeze the mixture into walnut-sized balls with your hands.
- To roast the balls, place the sunflower oil into the hot oven five minutes before you add the stuffing. Toss them in the hot oil then pop them in the oven pronto. Otherwise, just place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper or a silicone mat. For the dish version, you can either cover it with foil if you want the stuffing completely soft, or for a crusty top just bake as it is. Cook for thirty minutes, but if you're making stuffing balls, turn them over half way through.
I’m sharing this recipe for homemade chestnut and tempeh stuffing balls with Curly’s Cooking for #CookBlogShare.