Dressing (or stuffing) is unquestionably a Thanksgiving staple. Yet it can be a very difficult to get this simple holiday side just right.
Often, dressing is either too dry, too wet, or underseasoned. But my easy Ciabatta Bread Vegetarian Dressing solves these problems. This dressing has great flavor, texture, and perfectly combines the traditional and untraditional—peas are not a traditional dressing ingredient, but I think they’re a delicious addition to this vegetarian dressing.
Disclaimer: if you prefer dressing/stuffing to be more on the coagulated bread side of the spectrum, this may not be the recipe for you. If you prefer your dressing/stuffing to have a bit more texture and separation between the bread and other dressing components, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s what sets my Ciabatta Bread Vegetarian Dressing apart:
1. The Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta bread is a great bread base for dressing because it’s sturdy. Using a soft bread for dressing is a bad idea–the end dish will be mushy because a soft bread can’t hold up to the juices from the veggies, and the broth, that the dressing is immersed in before baking. The ciabatta base is a huge reason why my dressing recipe works everytime.
2. The Ciabatta is Toasted First
In this recipe, the ciabatta is cubed and toasted in the oven before the veggies and vegetable broth are added. The bread is already sturdy, but toasting it further ensures that it will more than hold up to all the moisture. The resulting dressing manages to hit that desirable moist yet crisp dressing texture that’s so delicious.
3. This Vegetarian Dressing is Seasoned Well
Of course salt is critical to bringing lots of flavor to any dish. And this dressing is perfectly salted to highlight the flavor of two classic Thanksgiving herbs: rosemary and thyme.
Use fresh rosemary and thyme if you can. The flavor is more rich and full. But if you can’t find these herbs fresh, dried works too. You can find my favorite dried rosemary here, and my favorite dried thyme here, on Amazon [aff. link].
Make This Vegetarian Dressing!
Make my Ciabatta Bread Vegetarian Dressing this year! (It’s great with my Mashed Potato Bake with Mozzarella.) I’m sure it will be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving table.
Ciabatta Bread Vegetarian Dressing
For the veggies:
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into half moons
- 4 celery stalks, cut into half moons
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp fresh thyme, minced (or ¼ tsp dried thyme)
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (or ½ tsp dried rosemary)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
For the bread:
- 10 cups ciabatta bread, cut to about ¾ inch cubes
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
Cook the veggies
- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter for 30 seconds. Add the carrots and ½ tsp salt. Cook over medium heat for 2 min, then turn the heat down to low and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Now add the celery and leek to the skillet, followed by an additional ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and the last 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Toss it all together, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, flipping the veggies occasionally.
- Now add the rosemary and thyme to the skillet, and cook for an additional 5 minutes over low heat. Veggies are done.
Prepare the bread
- While the veggies cook, cube the bread. Once cubed, spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. (This will lightly toast the bread so it can stand up to the vegetable broth and veggie juices when we mix everything together.)
Mix together the bread and veggies
- To a large mixing bowl, add half of the bread cubes, followed by half of the cooked veggies and ½ cup of the frozen peas. Toss a few times with your hands.
- Now add the remaining half of the bread cubes, followed by the remaining cooked veggies and peas. Sprinkle the butter cubes and the last ½ tsp salt over the top, and toss again.
Add the vegetable broth
- Now slowly pour 1 cup vegetable broth over the bread/veggie mixture. With your hands and/or a spatula, carefully toss everything in the bowl together.
- Once the bread has soaked up the vegetable broth, pour the second cup of vegetable broth over the stuffing mixture. Toss again so the bread can soak up the second cup of vegetable broth.
- Once the bread has soaked up the majority of the vegetable broth, transfer the dressing mixture to an oiled 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
Bake the dressing
- Bake the dressing at 375 degrees for 22 minutes.
- Now take the baking dish out of the oven. With your spatula, toss the dressing so that the bread cubes that were on the bottom of the baking dish are now on the top. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist, just do your best to give some other bread cubes a chance to be at the top of the baking dish.
- Place the dressing back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Take the dressing out of the oven, toss the bread cubes, and bake for another 12 minutes.
The Final Toss (or two)
- Take the dressing out of the oven, and flip the bread cubes. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- The dressing is done at this point. Or, if you prefer a crispier dressing, toss once more, and bake for a final 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve this vegetarian dressing with your other favorite Thanksgiving sides. I love to pair this dressing with my baked mashed potatoes (link in the notes below.)