Recipe: Gluten-free, vegan chestnut stuffing

A savoury blend of herbs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and chestnuts

Just like a golden-brown turkey, a delicious stuffing is a holiday staple. Whether your stuffing is a secret family recipe, a store-bought mix or a new Pinterest find, there are many delicious variations. Almost all, however, are made with a lot of bread.

What do you do if you have guests with dietary needs, such as celiac disease, or are trying to decrease their gluten intake?

“We’ve seen a huge [increase] in dietary restrictions, whether it’s allergies or preferences,” says Rylan Krause (Cook ‘12), Ernest’s Dining Room executive chef. In response, modern chefs are working to make holiday guests feel welcome and included by offering suitable alternatives.

To help you do the same, Krause offers a recipe that will make a great side dish for guests that eat gluten free without depriving them of the flavours of the season. All it takes is a creative blend of herbs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and chestnuts.

“Chestnuts are a very traditional [holiday] accompaniment,” Krause says. “It forces your brain to remember, ‘This is stuffing.’”

Should it somehow forget, he reinforces the message with rosemary, thyme and sage. These spices evoke all the emotions and memories connected to a traditional stuffing, without the disappointment of not being able to enjoy it.

How to make vegan, gluten-free chestnut stuffing


  • gluten free vegan chestnut stuffing1 tbsp             Olive oil
  • 1                      Shallot, fine dice
  • 1/4 cup            Leek, thin sliced
  • 2 cloves           Garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs               Celery, small dice
  • 1 cup               Crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup            White wine (preferably pinot gris)
  • 1 cup               Chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup               Sweet potato, diced
  • 1 cup               Pumpkin purée
  • 2 sprigs           Thyme, fresh, chopped
  • 2 leaves          Sage, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp              Parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp             Black pepper, fresh cracked
  • 1/2 tsp             Fennel seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp             Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add shallots and gently cook until translucent. Remove from pan and place into a large bowl.
  3. Add leeks to the pan and gently cook until softened. Remove from pan and place into bowl.
  4. Add celery to the pan and cook until softened. Remove from pan and add to bowl.
  5. Add mushrooms to pan and cook until liquid releases and mushrooms begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant.
  6. Add white wine to pan and deglaze by stirring and picking up any bits cooked onto the pan. Wine should be reduced by 3/4. Remove from pan and add to bowl.
  7. Add chestnuts to pan and gently toast until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from pan and add to bowl.
  8. Add sweet potato to pan and cook until softened. Remove from pan and add to bowl.
  9. Add pumpkin purée, thyme, sage, parsley, black pepper, fennel seed and salt to bowl and mix to combine all ingredients.
  10. Place in a casserole dish and cook uncovered for 25-35 minutes.
  11. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and enjoy.

Prevent cross-contamination

If you’re cooking for a guest that has celiac disease or an allergy, “You have to make sure that there’s no potential for cross contamination,” says Krause. “A tiny amount of a certain ingredient can have a massive effect on someone who can’t digest or tolerate it.”

The Canadian Celiac Association offers these tips on keeping your cooking space clean:

  • Set aside a section of the countertop for preparing gluten-free food
  • Do your gluten-free cooking first
  • Scrub pots, pans, utensils, etc. before using them
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching anything with gluten

Subscribe to receive more great stories every month

Find out more news about NAIT, stories about our alumni and their impact on their communities, and useful how-to content featuring our experts.

Sign up today »