Fruit and Toasted Almond Stuffing

Developed by Ricki Blau, this recipe received third place in Vegetarian Times 2009 Reader Recipe Contest. Blau’s family and friends range from omnivores to vegans, so when they gather for holidays she likes to prepare food they can all share. Blau put this recipe together last October when she hosted a few Canadian-American families for Thanksgiving dinner.

12 cups oatmeal bread or whole-wheat bread cubes
3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
1  large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced (2 cups)
2  celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)
2  large apples, peeled and diced (3 cups)
3 tablespoons fresh sage, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon thyme leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed {red pepper}
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground {black peppercorns}
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dried cherries
3 cups vegetable broth powder
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Spread bread cubes on baking sheet, and bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until dry and crisp.

Transfer to large bowl.

Increase oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on baking sheet, and toast 10 minutes, or until pale brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Coat 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add celery, and sauté 2 minutes more. Stir in apples, sage, parsley, thyme, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and nutmeg; season with salt, if desired. Cook 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and vinegar, and remove from heat.

Combine apple mixture, bread cubes, almonds, and dried cherries in large bowl. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and pour broth over top. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes, or until stuffing begins to brown on top. If you prefer crisp stuffing, remove foil, and bake 10 minutes more.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 2 hr

Servings: 10

Recipe By: Ricki Blau

From: Vegetarian Times 2009 Reader Recipe Contest

Nutrition Facts
As prepared, each serving contains 343 calories, 15g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 380mg sodium, 46g total carbohydrate and 8g protein.