Vegan Pepper Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage

Pepper Bread Stuffing
Vegan Pepper Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage

We love this stuffing recipe, and I have been making it for years, even though this is only the seventh year that I have been making a vegan version. Vegan Pepper Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage is spicy and flavorful, and it is always the centerpiece of our holiday meals. Although it is time-consuming to make, you can make the bread and sausages ahead of time or make a version that is more convenient by buying bread and sausages.

Way back in 1991, I made stuffing for a turkey by roughly following the recipe for “Cajun Poultry Stuffing,” as published in Peter Reinhart’s book, Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. Even at that time, I didn’t make the recipe as written, as I omitted many of the ingredients containing animal fat. But I was kidding myself; I was stuffing a bird, and all the turkey fat was absorbed by the stuffing!

When we started following a plant-based diet, we couldn’t give up holiday stuffing, so I found a sausage recipe online, modified Peter Reinhart’s recipe some more, and came up with something a bit disappointing. I feel like I finally have a share-worthy recipe, and the last hurdle was figuring out how to make a good sausage.

First an admission: I am still using gluten to make sausages. Gluten is not a whole food, but I only make these sausages during the holidays, and no one in our family is gluten-intolerant.

It’s not easy to make a sausage recipe out of gluten with no oil or nuts that isn’t rubbery, but I think you’ll find this recipe succeeds. First, I added chopped, raw vegetables; and then I added a small amount of tomato paste and puréed dates. We think the combination works well, and I hope you do too.

To make the sausages, mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, and then combine:

Seitan Wet and Dry Ingredients
Adding wet to dry seitan ingredients

Then divide the mixture in six pieces:

Seitan dough cut
Cutting seitan into six pieces

Form each into the shape of a sausage:

Seitan Raw
Forming seitan

And roll each up like a Tootsie Roll®, only a bit looser:

Seitan in foil
Wrapping seitan

After steaming or baking, your sausages will look like this after cutting (I tried to take photos of whole sausages, but no matter how I arranged them, they still looked like male body parts):

Seitan cooked and sliced
Cooked Vegan Spicy Italian Sausages

These sausages are spicy from crushed red pepper flakes and flavored by Italian herbs and spices, including fennel seed.

The next make-ahead step in this stuffing recipe is making bread. You can use either aquafaba or water as the liquid. The dry ingredients include black pepper, cayenne pepper, fresh red bell pepper, and hot sauce. Besides whole wheat flour, the dough also contains polenta, which makes it pretty. The only thing tricky about making Pepper Bread is that you must use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast due to the acidity of the dough. Otherwise, it’s a standard bread recipe.

Pepper Bread
Pepper Bread

Once you have the sausages and bread ready, make the stuffing by sautéing some vegetables, adding herbs and spices, combining with the bread cubes and sliced sausages, and moistening all the ingredients with vegetable broth. There’s nothing difficult about the procedure. Then, bake in a casserole dish for an hour, and serve with your favorite cranberry sauce and gravy.

I hope you like the recipe for Vegan Pepper Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage, and no matter what holidays you celebrate, I hope they are filled with family, friends, and joy!

As always, thanks for reading, everyone!

Hugs of kindness,


Pepper Bread Stuffing with Italian Sausage

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients for the Stuffing:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cups celery, diced, about 7 large ribs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons no-salt seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 recipe Vegan Spicy Italian Sausages, or 1 pound purchased Italian sausages, sliced
  • 1 recipe Pepper Bread or 1 loaf dense whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 2½ cups vegetable broth with no added salt, or more to reach desired moisture level
  • If you are purchasing bread, add the following ingredients to the broth prior to mixing it into the stuffing:  about 1 tablespoon Tabasco® or Frank’s RedHot®, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Tabasco® is significantly hotter than Frank’s RedHot®, so you may want to add more or less, to taste, depending on which you customarily purchase).

Ingredients for the Pepper Bread:

  • 1½ cups aquafaba, with no added salt, or water
  • ¼ cup diced red pepper (about ¼ of a large red pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco® or Franks RedHot®
  • 3¾ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons polenta
  • 2 tablespoons gluten
  • ½ tablespoon dried parsley
  • ½ tablespoon granulated garlic
  • ½ tablespoon no-salt seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 packets active dry yeast (not instant, as this dough is relatively acidic)

Ingredients for the Vegan Spicy Italian Sausages:

  • 2 cups gluten
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, to taste
  • 2 teaspoon no-salt seasoning
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 2 small Medjool dates, or about 3 Deglet Noor
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms – about 4 mushrooms
  • ½ cup diced onion – about ½ a medium onion
  • ½ cup pink or white beans, smashed with a fork – no need to smash completely
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 6 – 8” x 12” pieces aluminum foil

Directions for the stuffing:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Sauté the onions until nicely browned. Add the celery, bay leaf and sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Add the herbs and spices, stir, and remove from the heat.
  4. Place the onion mixture into a large bowl with the sliced sausages and bread cubes. Mix.
  5. Add the broth and mix together, adding more broth if it is not moist enough.
  6. Place the stuffing into a large, oil-sprayed casserole dish (11″ x 14″ or similar) and cover.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes. If you like the edges of your stuffing to be crispy, remove the cover and bake another 20 minutes. Otherwise bake about 60 minutes total.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve.
  9. Refrigerate leftovers.

Directions for the Pepper Bread:

  1. If you have a bread machine, place all ingredients into the bowl of the machine and set for the dough cycle. (I have an older version of this Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker, Black.  I purchased this model for a family member. My older model has lasted so long that I have had to replace the paddles.)
  2. If you do not have a bread machine, dissolve the yeast in the aquafaba or water in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or other stiff utensil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead about 10 minutes.
  3. Wash the bowl and place the kneaded dough into it (there’s no need to oil the bowl, but you can if that’s your preference) . Cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise about 60-75 minutes, or until double in bulk.
  4. Form the dough into a loaf and place in an oil-sprayed loaf pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise about 45 minutes, or until the dough has just a little spring remaining when you gently press your finger into it.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350°F about 25 minutes into this rising period.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from the oven and turn the bread onto a rack to cool (the bread will slice better if you allow it at least an hour to cool).
  8. Any leftover bread can be frozen, or you can make it ahead and freeze.

Directions for the Vegan Spicy Italian Sausage:

  1. Start heating water in a large pot with a steamer basket (if you would prefer, you can also bake the seitan in an oven for 35 minutes. In this case, preheat to 350°F and place a cookie sheet into the oven to preheat – a perforated cookie sheet works great).
  2. Place all the dry ingredients into one large bowl and mix.
  3. Add the water and dates to a blender and blend well.
  4. Pour the water-date mixture into another large bowl, and mix in all the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  6. Divide the sausage mixture into six pieces. I usually do this by mounding it onto a cutting board and cutting the seitan with a long, sharp knife.
  7. Place each piece of seitan onto a piece of foil and form into a sausage about 1½” in diameter.
  8. Roll up each piece of foil like a loosely wrapped Tootsie Roll®. The seitan will expand when cooking, so don’t roll too tightly.
  9. Place two seitan packets into your steaming pot. Place the next two packets on top at a 90° angle to the first two, and place the last two packets of seitan so they are aligned with the first two.
  10. Steam for 40 minutes.
  11. Remove the seitan from the pot with tongs. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then unwrap.
  12. Allow the seitan to cool before slicing.
  13. Refrigerate for up to four days or freeze.

Nutrition information per serving: 317 calories, 1 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 127 mg sodium, 315 mg potassium, 46 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber, 7 grams sugars, 25 grams protein, 19% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 9% calcium, 29% iron.




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