I know that in some places Thanksgiving stuffing is called "dressing" when it is not cooked inside the turkey, but where I grew up everyone called it stuffing no matter how it was cooked; it was what went into it was much more important. My stuffing is much like a hot, crispy bread salad and uses bread, onions, celery, sage, apples and dried fruit for a mix that is half savory and half sweet. Because it is not stuffed into a bird, but baked in a casserole dish, it seemed prudent to go all-out and make the dish vegetarian. It will still be enjoyed by the meat-eaters, especially if they are they type that puts gravy on their stuffing anyway, and will provide an option other than straight veggies for vegetarians.
I based my recipe on this one and adapted it somewhat, changing the spicing to keep it simple and adding just a touch of oil to the mixture to make sure that the bread got nice and crunchy on top (my favorite part).
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup apple, peeled and diced
2 tsp dried or 3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
4 cups bread cubes (white or whole grain)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce + 1/2 cup warm water OR
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable broth*
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 1.5-quart baking dish.
In a small frying pan, sautee the onion, celery and apple until tender with the parsley, sage, salt, cayenne (ok to sub regular pepper if you prefer). This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes with onion mixture, raisins, pecans, water/vegetable stock and vegetable oil and mix well. Taste one of the cubes and, if necessary, add additional salt or pepper. Add an additional tbsp or two of liquid if your mixture is too dry (sometimes different breads absorb more liquid).
Pour into prepared casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top is crisp and golden.
*I prefer vegetable broth made with bullion, since you can make it stronger than the store-bought kind. If you make your own homemade stock, even better. And if you prefer chicken or turkey stock, that's fine, too.