Ian Brandt is the unchallenged veggie king of Salt Lake City. His restaurants, Sage’s Cafe, Vertical Diner and Cafe SuperNatural, are the tops when it comes to natural, vegetarian and vegan fare. His grocery, Cali’s, is a prime source for organic and locally grown produce. He’s a practicing vegan. So is his wife. So are his kids, for the most part. Needless to say, turkey left the Brandt’s Thanksgiving table a long time ago. Still, the fourth Thursday of November marks a major feast day, and while their table may be lacking a big bird, some dishes are even more critical to America’s menu. “Stuffing,” says Brandt. “We always have stuffing and gravy.” Brandt’s stuffing, like many, aren’t actually stuffed into anything but a pan. And your belly. Here are his recipes.

Chef Ian Brandt’s Holiday Stuffing Recipe

(Makes 9x13 pan)

1 full loaf Vosen’s 7 grain baguette

3 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups chopped walnuts

½ cup dried fruit (small pieces)

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots 

1 cup diced celery 

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup white wine

2 Tbsp. fresh minced sage

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. Real Salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 cups water

Heat oven to 375. Cube the baguette into ½-inch-by-½-inch cubes and toast on a cookie sheet until light brown.

Sauté mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil and Real Salt in a medium sauce pan. Halfway through cooking, add the walnuts. When these ingredients are cooked thoroughly and the walnuts are brown, deglaze with white wine.

Add dried fruit, fresh sage, water and fresh ground black pepper. (Green apple and/or Anjou pear can also be used instead of dried fruit. If you use fresh fruit then use 1 to 1 ½ cups and a half of a cup less water). When the dried fruit has plumped up, add the toasted bread pieces and stir well.

Place the stuffing into a 9x13-inch casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the stuffing is hot all the way through.

Serve with gravy.

Chef Ian Brandt’s Holiday Gravy

Makes 6 cups or 8 servings

¼ cup diced onion 

2 tsp. minced garlic 

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. fresh minced thyme

1 Tbsp. fresh minced rosemary

1 Tbsp. fresh minced sage

1–2 tsp. salt 

½ tsp. salt-free chili powder

2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour

3 Tbsp. unbleached flour

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup white wine

3 cups soup stock or water

3 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce

2 Tbsp. tahini

Sauté onions with olive oil, salt and chili powder in a medium sauce pan. When the onions are half cooked, add  garlic, flour and nutritional yeast. Stir well as the ingredients may stick to the bottom of pan. When the ingredients are well mixed and lightly browned, deglaze the pan with white wine. After the pan has been deglazed, add the fresh herbs, soup stock, tamari and tahini. Slowly bring the gravy up to a simmer while whisking.  

Serve this gravy with holiday stuffing. 

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