Up here in the Dirty Jerz, people seem to be all about the red sauce. Which I get — it’s very versatile. You can have it plain, with meatballs, with sausage, whatever you want. But growing up, we always had meat sauce, and I vastly prefer its richer flavor. Plus, it eliminates a step from things like lasagna and pizza…I don’t have to make meat for those, because it’s already in the sauce!
There are many, many variations on meat sauce. This one is mine.
Every year the company I work for does a big potluck Thanksgiving lunch on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago, we had an employee who was very strictly vegan, and he was really concerned that there would be nothing for him to eat. I was planning on bringing my (super delish, if I say so myself) cornbread-sausage dressing, but I thought “How hard can it be to throw together a vegan dressing?” I know enough about vegan rules to avoid the trickier things like honey and gelatin, so I started combing Pinterest. I didn’t find a “vegan” recipe that I liked, but I did find a very simple recipe that was super easy to veganize. It was a huge hit, even with the non-veggies in the crowd.
This year, for my derby team’s annual holiday gathering, I decided to use the same recipe to make little appetizer portions by baking the stuffing in muffin cups. Once again, huge hit. My friend Artichoke Hold asked for the recipe, so here it is!
I forgot to take a pic of these before my son ate them all. Mea culpa. Next time I make them, I'll put a photo in, I swear. Or, if someone wants to make them and take a photo, I'll gladly accept.
Toast cubes on a baking sheet about 10 minutes (you may need to do this in two batches -- they should be in a single layer). Set aside in a large bowl.
Decrease oven temp to 350°.
Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Sauté onions, garlic, and celery until soft and beginning to caramelize.
Add veggies to the bowl of bread cubes.
Add seasoning. If you like more/different herbs than the recipe calls for, use those.
Stir until well mixed.
Add broth one cup at a time, stirring until well mixed. You want the mixture to be clumping together, but not soggy. (For "muffins" make the mixture a bit moister than you might normally -- you really want them to hold together.)
Bake in a greased baking dish for about 25 minutes OR in lined muffin cups for 18-20 minutes.