Baked apples with walnut-herb stuffing [Vegan]

The sweetness of baked apples, filled with the savory, herb-flavored deliciousness of walnut-raisin stuffing -- you just can't beat a dish like this for celebrating favorite fall flavors. And best of all, it's vegan!

This recipe is inspired by a baked apple recipe by ShutterBean and a stuffing recipe on Examiner. I switched things up a bit to make this vegan, and it is deeeelicious. It is perfect to add to the Thanksgiving menu, or to serve for any fall or winter dinner, really. Even the meat-eaters at the table will appreciate it as a sweet and savory (and pretty!) dish.

This recipe makes 8 stuffed apples (with probably a little stuffing left over to nosh on).

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Ingredients:
8 organic apples (I used honeycrisp)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 loaf vegan bread, cubed (about 4 packed cups -- I used a delicious sprouted wheat bread)
2 medium carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tsp ground sage
1 tbsp fresh rosemary (leaves torn from stems but not chopped)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 cups organic apple juice

Make the bread cubes:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a single layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing the cubes every 6-7 minutes. When they are dried out and lightly toasted, they're done.

Make the stuffing:
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrots and celery. Stir and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the herbs, stir, and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the raisins, walnuts, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the bread cubes a handful at a time, crumbling them a little with your hands so that there are crumbs and smaller pieces added in with the cubes. Pour in the apple juice and stir to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

Prepare the apples:
Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the top quarter or so off of the top of the apple. (Tip: cut so that the apple sits upright like a bowl, and doesn't lean to the side. This may mean that you're cutting the top off at a bit of an angle to make up for any lean the apple has when sitting on a flat surface. This will make sure you don't have apples that topple over when plated.)

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Using a melon baller, scoop out the inside of the apple, making sure to remove all of the core. Remove enough meat that there is plenty of room for stuffing, but leave enough to have a solid container and plenty of delicious soft apple to bite into.

Fill the apples with the stuffing mixture, packing down each spoonful as much as you can. The more densely packed you make the filling the better.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Place in a casserole dish and add a teaspoon or so of vegan butter to the top of each apple.

Place in the oven and bake for about one hour, or until the apple is soft and the stuffing is browned on top.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Remove, plate, and enjoy!

© Jaymi Heimbuch

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: The Cooking Project