Stuffing. Oh My God- it is one of my favorite holiday foods. It’s perfect. Bread, fat, salt…things I love… but not exactly the best thing for the waistline. I mean, it’s pretty much the epitome of food combo that should be avoided for anyone interested in staying slim and healthy. BUT…..Thanksgiving is a time to indulge, so I have a little bit of my favorite fattening side dish. If there is any day to do that, it’s definitely Thanksgiving. Right?!
But, being a health nut who loves to make comfort food healthy and guilt-free…I set out on a quest to make a delicious but lightened up stuffing recipe. I started with the original recipe my mom has been making since…like..forever…and I tweaked it, added some more veggies, took out the two sticks of salted butter and made something healthy, lower calorie and super delicious.
I’ll be honest here: It doesn’t taste as good as my moms OG recipe, but hey, I am not a miracle worker….and this tastes pretty damn close! It also has about 1/3 the calories and fat that a normal stuffing does…so you can actually have a second serving without feeling like you’ll pass out from a food coma while simultaneously derailing your healthy eating habits.
Thats worth something right?
I make this stuffing in a baking dish, but you can certainly stuff it into a turkey or chicken if you prefer- stuffing it will actually give it a lot of extra flavor.
Stale bread works best in this recipe- but if you use fresh bread, you can pop it in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 minutes to dry it out a bit.
Stuffing: Lightened up
2 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (I use Earth Balance) or regular butter if you prefer
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped (do not peel)
1 cup chopped white mushrooms
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, rehydrate them in boiling water for 10 minutes and
drain them- this gets them plump again
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves chopped well
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
6 cups white or whole wheat sliced bread (not a fancy bread)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 to 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons salt (plus extra to taste)
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 375ºF.
Put olive oil in skillet. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms, celery, cauliflower and two teaspoons salt to the pan and continue to sautee for about 10-12 minutes, or until all veggies are softened and slightly golden. Add butter. Stir in apples, rehydrated cranberries, sage, thyme and tarragon until herbs come fragrant and apple start to cook. Next, add in 1.5 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine and season with black pepper and the fresh parsley. Taste the mixture and add more salt if its not salty enough. (I like my stuffing salty!)
Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Gradually pour in veggie/broth mixture and stir until everything is moist (but not sopping wet). Add in the additional 1/2 cup of broth if the mixture is too dry. (I typically end up using closer to 2 cups in this)
Pour stuffing into 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until top is browned and middle is hot.