6 Mouth-Watering Stuffing Recipes for a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is often viewed as an unhealthy time of the year. It is the time that people overeat and consume sugary, fatty foods. Sometimes it can seem like the only way to look after your health during the Thanksgiving season is to avoid the dinner altogether, or at least avoid all your favorites.

That means no pie, no mashed potatoes, no cranberry sauce, and no stuffing! Could you really enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner without all of these?

You’re likely shaking your head no. On top of that, you do not see why you should have to choose between a healthy Thanksgiving and your favorite elements of the dinner. When it comes to stuffing, you should be able to make your own that will help trim the waistline and support the overall health. We think that too, which is why we’ve sourced recipes to help you do that.

It is possible to make stuffing that is both delicious and healthy. These six recipes will have your mouth watering and everyone asking for your secrets. It is just up to you whether you want to give them away!

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

This slow cooker recipe will give you the chance to collect all the fall recipes without the hassle and stress. You can take up less space in the oven and make your stuffing a day or two ahead. There is no need to stress on Thanksgiving as you try to get everything just right for your guests.

Ingredients:

  • 3tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of celery, chopped
  • 8oz of Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled, sweetened preferably
  • 1 1/4tsp poultry seasoning
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1lb whole grain bread, stale and cubed
  • 1 Granny Smith (or similar) apple, chopped and peeled
  • 1 cup of chicken broth

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a skillet and then add the onion and celery, cooking for about 10 minutes until soft
  • Add the sausage, salt and pepper, and poultry seasoning, stirring and cooking for 6-8 minutes, until the sausage browns
  • Place all in a slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients
  • Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours

If you only have fresh bread available, you’ll need to dry it out. With your oven at 275F, place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. The bread will be dry to touch. Make sure it cools completely before using it for the dish.

If you’re going to make it ahead of time, make sure you full reheat the dish in either the oven or microwave. However, if you really want to keep your oven space, making it on the day is usually the best option.

Apple and Caramelized Onion Stuffing

Caramelized onions are delicious and will add plenty of flavor to your stuffing. The apples will also help to bring a taste of fall to your dish.

You can buy caramelized onions if you want, but you can make your own instead. Making your own will definitely be healthier and we’ll include the recipe below.

Ingredients for the onions:

  • 3tbsp oil of choice
  • 2-3 yellow onions halved and sliced thinly
  • 2tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup of red wine
  • 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Ingredients for the stuffing:
  • 8 cups of rustic multigrain or whole grain bread, cubed
  • 3tbsp oil of choice
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups of celery, chopped
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of onions, chopped
  • 2 red apples, chopped
  • 2tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 2tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken broth

Method for the onions:

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium heat and then add the onions, thyme, and seasoning
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the onions turn golden
  • Add the wine, stirring now and then and reducing the heat if you need to; cook for 20-25 minutes
  • Add the vinegar and increase the heat to a high, cooking for a minute so the vinegar evaporates; scrape the browned bits off the skillet while cooking
  • Pour everything into a large bowl and put aside

Method for the stuffing:

  • Preheat the oven to 425F and coat a baking dish with spray
  • Toss the bread in the oil and pepper on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes; add to the caramelized onions once cooked
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 400F
  • In a skillet, heat the butter and then add the celery and onion, stirring and cooking for 6-8 minutes, until the onions start to brown
  • Add the apples, herbs, and salt, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes to soften the apples
  • Place the onion and apple mixture into the bowl with the caramelized onions and bread
  • Add broth to the onion and apple mixture and combine well, and then pour into the baking dish
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes

You can make the caramelized onions for up to a week, helping to reduce the amount of cooking you do on Thanksgiving. It is also possible to prepare the stuffing mixture a day before and then just do the baking on a day. If you’re going to do this, let it reach room temperature by being left out of the fridge for 20 minutes before cooking at 400F.

Gluten Free Delicious Stuffing

Who said stuffing was only for those who ate gluten? With the world moving into a gluten-free focus, you’ll want something suitable for your dish. This sage stuffing is definitely something to add to your repertoire and not just for Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups of gluten-free cornbread, cubed
  • 1lb Italian sausage, sweetened and casing removed
  • 2 cups of onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cups of celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups of chicken broth

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 275F
  • Spread the cornbread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes; set aside to cool
  • Increase the oven to 350F
  • In a skillet (oven safe) cook the sausage for 5 minutes, breaking it up when browned
  • Add the onion, garlic, and celery, cooking for another 5-10 minutes and remove from the heat
  • Add the cornbread, sage, and black pepper and combine fully
  • Pour in the broth and then cover with foil
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and then remove the foil, baking for another 15 minutes

If you do not have an onion safe skillet, you can do this with a baking dish instead. Make sure it either has a life or cover with foil.

When you cannot find fresh sage, you can use dried. You’ll only need a tbsp of dried sage, but the fresh will taste better and bring out more flavors.

Vegan-Friendly Sourdough Stuffing

The three recipes on the list are delicious and healthy, but they all have one thing in common: meat. They’re made with sausage meat or chicken broth, making it hard for vegans to enjoy the side dish. You do not need to use meat or animal products to make your dish. Here are a delicious sourdough stuffing recipe you’ll want for your meat-free Thanksgiving dinner. It is also nut free and soy free for those with allergies!

You’ll notice poultry seasoning on the list. This is not actually a meat ingredient, but just seasoning designed for poultry.

Ingredients:

  • 3tbsp oil of choice
  • 3 cups of leeks, halved and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, halved and chopped
  • 12oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1tsp poultry seasoning
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 16oz sourdough bread, cubed
  • 2 ¼ cups of vegetable broth

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F and coat a baking dish with cooking spray
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and then add in the leeks and celery, cooking for 10 minutes until softened
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until softened
  • Sprinkle the seasoning, salt, and pepper, and then stir to combine and place in a large bowl
  • Add the broth and sourdough, stirring to combine and then place in the baking dish
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, removing the foil and cooking for another 18-20 minutes

You will want to dry out the sourdough before using it. Place it on a baking sheet and bake at 275F for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool before using it in the stuffing.

This is absolutely delicious when you’re not entirely sure if your guests are vegan or not. You cannot go wrong!

Mushroom and Cornbread Stuffing

Want another vegetarian-friendly stuffing for your recipe? Even if you’re not making a vegetarian Thanksgiving, opting for a meat-free stuffing can help to avoid saturated fats and improve the health of the dish. This mushroom and cornbread stuffing are also one of the quickest to make, allowing you more time to spend with the family.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of cornbread, cubed
  • 2tbsp oil of choice
  • 2 cups of leeks, chopped
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (3tsp dried)
  • 1tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (1tsp dried)
  • 4tbsp butter
  • 2-3 cups of broth of choice
  • ¾ cup of pecans, chopped and toasted
  • ¼ cup of dried pancetta, cooked
  • 1/2tsp pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 275F
  • On a baking sheet, spread the bread and bake for 30 minutes to dry out; set aside
  • Increase the oven to 350F and coat a baking dish with spray
  • In a skillet, heat the oil and then add the leeks and mushrooms, stirring and cooking for 3-5 minutes
  • Reduce the heat slightly and cook, while stirring, for another 3-5 minutes
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  • Add the herbs and cook for another 30 seconds
  • Scrap onto the top of the bread
  • In the pan, melt the butter and scrape any of the browned bits onto the bread
  • Add the broth, pecans, pancetta and ground pepper to the vegetable mixture, combining fully
  • Transfer to the baking dish and cover with foil
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes

You can toast the bread and store it for two days at room temperature. Keep it uncovered to keep the dryness to it.

To toast the pecans, use a dry skillet at a medium to low heat and cook for 2-4 minutes, constantly stirring. It is cheaper and healthier than buying toasted pecans from the store.

 Bacon and Sprout Stuffing

Who would have thought you could use Brussels sprouts in a stuffing capacity for Thanksgiving? This will definitely help you check the box of the vegetable without just steaming and hoping for the best. Everyone will eat the leafy greens without complaints. In fact, you’ll have plenty of people looking for seconds.

It is another relatively quick dish to make compared to other stuffing recipes. You’ll have more time to spend with the family.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of bread of choice, cubed
  • 2tbsp oil of choice
  • 2 cups of onions, chopped
  • 2 cups of Brussels sprouts, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup of fresh sage, chopped (4tsp dried)
  • 4tbsp butter
  • 2-3 cups of broth of choice
  • ½ cup of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/2tsp ground pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 275F
  • Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until dry to touch
  • Let cool in a bowl
  • Increase temperature to 350F and coat a baking dish with spray
  • In a skillet, heat the oil and then add the onions and sprouts, cooking for 3-5 minutes, while stirring
  • Reduce the heat slightly and cook for another 3-5 minutes
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the sage and cook for another 30 seconds
  • Scrape the mixture onto the bread, and then heat the butter in the skillet to scrape up the brown bits and add all to the bread
  • Add the broth, bacon, cranberries, and black pepper to the bread and combine everything
  • Transfer to the baking dish and cover with foil
  • Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for another 20 minutes

You can make the bread up to two days in advance to help save some time. This is one of those recipes for something different this Thanksgiving and you can avoid the Brussels sprout side dish that just never really gets touched.

Enjoy Your Healthy Thanksgiving Stuffing

It is time to escape the idea that you must avoid stuffing to be healthy at Thanksgiving. When made with the right ingredients in the right way, you can create something delicious and good for you. The dishes are full of healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and complex carbs. Try one for your next Thanksgiving and you’ll soon find the family favorite. Which one will you try out first for this Thanksgiving?

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