Preparing a holiday menu for people with dietary restrictions can be tricky, especially when it comes to stuffing. Rather than searching high and low for a recipe that is completely clean of all meat products, pick a recipe that doesn't rely on sausage or bacon as one of its main ingredients, and turn to clever, flavorful substitutions for ingredients like chicken stock. Not only is it possible, but it's quite easy to prepare a holiday dinner that appeals to all kinds of eaters, without sacrificing the staples of this glorious food holiday.
Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

When it comes to stuffing recipes, it can be difficult to find a hearty vegetarian option, as most recipes either use sausage, chorizo, bacon, and/or chicken stock. If you're expecting guests with dietary restrictions or simply looking to lighten up this year's stuffing, you've got nothing to worry about. Pick a stuffing recipe that doesn't use meat as one of its main ingredients, and opt for a stuffing that draws flavor from breads, nuts, and dried fruit instead.

Several of these recipes call for chicken stock, but there is an easy, painless way you can sub this out without sacrificing flavor. Simply use unsalted vegetable stock (the same amount that the recipe calls for) in place, and your stuffing is now meat-free. We recommend Swanson brand stock (or making your own Simple Vegetable Stock), as some vegetable stocks are a tad darker in hue and can cause discoloration in your stuffing.

Get Recipe: Classic Herb Stuffing

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

A straightforward holiday stuffing calls for great bread; we love the nutty, toasty dimension of a bakery whole-grain loaf. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrot mixture until tender but not browned. The added moisture from the veg will help soften the bread and make for a more cohesive stuffing.

Get Recipe: Southern Corn Bread Dressing Squares

Credit: Photo: Brian Woodcock

The original recipe, which comes to us from Editor Hunter Lewis, is made with two sticks of butter, but we lightened it by saving most of the butter for the crispy top. "Everyone stakes out their favorite piece: the crispy edges or the creamy centers of my wife's great-grandmother's coveted dressing," Hunter says.

Get Recipe: Classic Corn Bread Dressing

Credit: Photo: Brian Woodcock

This is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish in the South. It is made from crumbled corn bread, with no added French or sourdough bread to cut it, so the texture is unique.

Get Recipe: Apple, Cranberries, and Pecan Stuffing

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

We give the classic holiday side a fall spin with fresh apple, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries. For the vegetarians at your table, don't forget you can substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Get Recipe: Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Red Onion, and Almonds

Credit: Photo: Chis Court

In this nontraditional stuffing, earthy flavors and starchy comfort come from whole-grain farro, not bread. You can assemble up to 2 days ahead. Take out of the fridge, let stand at room temperature 45 minutes, then bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Get Recipe: Triple Mushroom Stuffing

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

For a holiday side with earthy, savory depth, add a trio of mushrooms: creminis, meaty shiitakes, and mild white button mushrooms. A splash of sherry vinegar picks up the browned bits in the pan and rounds out the flavors beautifully.

Get Recipe: Apple-Sage Stuffing Cups

Credit: Photo: Chris Court

The muffin cups give you crispy edges and a tender interior in half the time, though the stuffing won't hold its shape like a traditional muffin. Presliced bread and prechopped onion and celery save time.