Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Tempeh Dressing

In my family, dressing is serious business. It breaks into our conversations and then onto our dinner table every holiday season but it will never be the same as my grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing.

Truthfully, Helen’s cornbread dressing was never the same from year to year. I hear it started out in her Texan family with giblets, hard-boiled eggs, and celery in it. None of those ingredients remained by the time I came around. The key to Helen’s dressing was the cornbread and biscuits she would make several days ahead of time and crumble in a paper bag to dry. Lots of butter, salt, and onion went into the final product. It was simple but it was good.

This dressing never went in a bird. Helen always baked it separately in a Pyrex dish and it took on the consistency of dense coffee cake when cool (must have been the butter). She often made two dishes worth for Thanksgiving so we could eat the leftovers with gravy for days afterwards. I think leftover dressing might be my dad’s favorite breakfast.

I immediately thought of Cornbread Dressing when I saw this month’s recipe for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap. Over the past few months, this swap has become my favorite blog activity. I love the wacky inspiration we bloggers get from the recipes Christianna sends!

With very specific taste and high standards as far as dressing goes, I set out to make something that was neither the original Wild Rice Dressing from the Pine Tavern in Bend, Oregon, nor Helen’s Cornbread Dressing (I’ll make that for you some other time). I thought about what I might do with this recipe on-and-off for a month. Then yesterday came around and I realized I needed to make something, asap!

I bought wild rice. I bought tempeh. I had baby bella mushrooms in my fridge and a lonely fennel bulb. I knew I would not be including a cup of bacon drippings, as the Pine Tavern did. Although, I have had bacon-brain ever since the side of Brussels sprouts I ordered in a Napa restaurant arrived smelling strongly of the bacon grease they had obviously been cooked in (I ate them and boy were they tasty). Slip-ups in my vegetarianism aside, I knew I could make a delicious, meat-free dressing for any winter night.


I used a pressure cooker for my rice so the recipe below provides instructions for that method. For other wild rice cooking instructions, check this website.

Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Tempeh Dressing


  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups water (for cooking rice in pressure cooker)
  • 12 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 package tempeh, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning of choice (I used an organic, salt-free, all-purpose seasoning but lots of things would be good!)


  1. To cook the rice in a pressure cooker, place rinsed rice and water in a heatproof bowl and cover bowl tightly with aluminum foil.
  2. Place bowl on trivet inside pressure cooker. Make sure there is about 1 cup of water in the pressure cooker itself.
  3. Secure lid on pressure cooker, place weight on top of lid, and heat over high heat until weight begins to rock.
  4. Reduce heat slightly so weight rocks gently and start timer for 22-25 minutes.
  5. While rice is cooking, saute garlic, fennel, tempeh, mushrooms, and seasoning in a large skillet. I added them to the skillet in that order.
  6. Turn off heat and set skillet aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil the inside of a large baking dish.
  8. When time is upon the rice, remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to come down on it's own.
  9. Remove lid, remove inner bowl, and add rice to ingredients in skillet. (You could just eat it now but I baked mine for a little while to crisp up the top a little...and keep it warm till Lee got home)
  10. Pour or scoop dressing into baking dish and place in oven for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and heap dressing onto plates.
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15 Responses to Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Tempeh Dressing

  1. Love the mushrooms and rice but have not used tempeh and had to even look it up. Soy? Fermented? Is it anything like tofu? Just not something I have ever liked but the beauty of this is I don’t have to…I can do ‘shrooms’ and rice just fine and I think I will; two of my favorites combined together. 10p Sunday night or I would probably have some rice cooking pronto!

    • Rachel

      Ah I should have explained tempeh in the post! That would have been a good thing to talk about.
      If you’ve never had it you should give it a try! Tempeh is “meatier” than tofu and has great flavor when it’s sauteed. I like to put it in chili.
      I’m glad you like the rice and mushrooms – they’re some of my favorites too!

  2. Oooooh, I love tempeh, and I think it’s a perfect choice to pair with the earthy mushrooms and wild rice! What a great idea. This looks delicious!

  3. Your grandmother’s dressing sounds awesome, with the stale cornbread and biscuits and EXTRA butter. Can’t wait to see that recipe one day… Until then, I’m diggin’ your wild rice with tempeh and mushrooms!!

  4. Helen’s cornbread dressing sounds like my MIL’s, but she did include celery (giblets and hard-boiled eggs went into the gravy:).
    I love bacon grease and save it whenever I fry bacon for potatoes or chicken livers:) I can understand how your vegetarian soul slips a bit with that piggy goodness:)
    Nice looking dish, BTW!
    I love the creativity and versatility of our group!

  5. great ideas. but I too love that Texas cornbread and biscuit dressing. One thing about Texas cornbread is that it has no sugar in it, so it doesn’t taste like cake. My mom was not much interested in the kitchen, bu she made an awesome dressing that was stuffed into a bird and nestled around it, creating great chewy, browned bites. hmmm. I wish she were here today to make it again.
    But back to your recipe. Tempeh and mushrooms. a real winner. thanks. el

  6. Great work on making this veg! It looks like it took you down memory lane, and inspired you to move forward! Thanks, as always, for your voice in the recipe swap. I love seeing what you come up with.

  7. Baby bella mushrooms are my go-to vegetable in the kitchen – I love your creativity!

  8. This is lovely. Your aunt knows her stuff as do you. Love that you did the rice in a pressure cooker. I grew up watching my mom use one all the time. I am dying to get one of my own. This looks wicked yummy. I like my stuffing done separate from the bird as well.

  9. This looks so great! I have never cooked with or tasted tempeh. It sounds like a much tastier alternative to tofu!

    P.S. I also LOVE the look of your lemon muffins and just printed the recipe to try next week. I always have chia seeds in the house and I’ve been wanting to try baking something with them for a vegan friend. Thanks!

  10. I have to agree with your Dad, dressing is awesome for breakfast!

  11. The addition to Tempeh is great, and so is fennel! Love both, and your photo is making my mouth water.

  12. We were definitely on the same wavelength with mushroom and wild rice dressing. I love your addition of tempeh. What a hearty way to bump up the protein!

  13. I have never had tempeh, but mushrooms and wild rice I love. Looks like a very hearty meal!

  14. Mmmmmm. I used to make wild rice and tempeh together all the time and have NO idea why I’d stopped! Back on the list it goes 🙂 Great swap recipe!

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