6 Healthy Stuffing Recipes to Make This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day for gathering with family and friends around a bountiful table filled with fantastic food. The only downside to this holiday is that it is often includes fattening foods that can wreak havoc on your waistline. Stuffing, for instance, is a classic Turkey Day favorite that’s packed with fat and calories. The Week notes that a softball-size serving of stuffing typically contains 400 calories and 25 grams of fat, similar to what you’d get with a large serving of french fries from a fast food chain.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to swear off stuffing. By using whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, you can transform the fat-riddled side into a healthy dish you won’t feel guilty about indulging in. Here are six recipes ensuring you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

1. Farro, Caramelized Onion, and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Caramelized onions

Caramelized onions | iStock.com

Livestrong explains that farro is a healthy whole grain that’s filled with fiber, protein, and nutrients. Its earthy flavor and chewy texture blend perfectly with the wild mushrooms and caramelized onion in Cooking Light’s recipe. It yields 8 servings, with each containing 228 calories, 4.7 grams of fat, 10.1 grams of protein, and 6.8 grams of fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms (about ½ ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2½ cups finely chopped onion
  • 1½ cups uncooked farro
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 6 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 12 ounces mushrooms)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ cup celery leaves

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 3 cups boiling water and dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 30 minutes or until onion is tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Add reserved porcini liquid, chopped porcini, farro, and ½ teaspoon salt; cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until farro is al dente and liquid is reduced to about ⅓ cup. Remove from heat. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add shiitake mushrooms, celery, thyme, and sage; sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.

Sauté 6 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add shiitake mixture to farro mixture; stir to combine. Spoon stuffing into an 11-by-7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; cover dish with foil. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, and top with celery leaves.

2. Bobby’s Whole-Grain Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Apple cranberry stuffing

Apple cranberry stuffing | iStock.com

A whole-grain baguette, apples, cranberries, and aromatic seasonings create this light and fresh-tasting stuffing. Food Network’s recipe yields 8 servings, with each containing 244 calories, 6 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 7 ribs)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
  • 6 cups day-old whole grain baguette, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 large eggs, scrambled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 dried sage leaf, chopped

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 11-inch oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the broth and cranberries in a small bowl and let soak for 30 minutes. Sauté the celery and onions in the butter in a large skillet until tender, 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Place the baguette cubes into a large bowl. Pour the broth and cranberries over. Pour in the eggs, and then add the salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, cinnamon, and sage and mix together. Mix in the onion and celery mixture. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared dish and bake until the center is set, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. Wild Rice Stuffing

Wild rice

Wild rice | iStock.com

The Mayo Clinic creates a healthier stuffing by using wild rice instead of bread. FitDay applauds wild rice for its many benefits, explaining that it is packed with protein, vitamins, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium. If you are a fan of quinoa, feel free to use it in place of the wild rice. The recipe yields 12 servings, with each containing 78 calories and 2 grams each of fat, protein, and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup uncooked wild rice (or equal amount of uncooked quinoa)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped apple (including peel)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Directions: Rinse wild rice 2 to 3 times, until water runs clear. Place wild rice and water in a 1½-quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring frequently. Do not burn. Cook wild rice for about 30 minutes. If you’re using quinoa, cook it for about 15 minutes. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, apple, cranberries, and celery.

Stir and heat through until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Continue to stir and cook slowly until fragrant, about 10 minutes total. Combine the rice, fruit/vegetable mixture, and chicken broth in a large bowl. Use to stuff turkey or bake in a dish coated with nonstick spray. Cover and keep warm in oven until serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

4. Bulgur Stuffing With Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Dried cranberries

Dried cranberries | iStock.com

You’ll love the nutty notes and subtly sweet fruit flavors sprinkled throughout this elegant stuffing. Eating Well’s recipe yields 10 servings; each contains 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onions (2 large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 to 3 stalks)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups bulgur, rinsed
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ⅔ cup chopped hazelnuts (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, and allspice; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bulgur and stir for a few seconds. Add broth, bay leaf, and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the bulgur is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine dried cranberries and orange juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Set aside to plump. Toast hazelnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. When the bulgur is ready, discard the bay leaf. Add the cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, parsley, and pepper; fluff with a fork.

5. Pear, Prosciutto, and Hazelnut Stuffing Recipe

Cubed baguette pieces

Cubed baguette pieces | iStock.com

By crisping the prosciutto and toasting the hazelnuts, you’ll make sure your stuffing has plenty of flavor and very little fat. Better Eats’ recipe via The Daily Meal yields 12 servings, with each containing 167 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. If you’re hoping to prepare perfectly toasted nuts, we suggest following My Baking Addiction’s tutorial.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ribbons
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups diced fennel bulbs
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 8 cups cubed stale baguette, preferably multi-grain, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium-size firm-ripe Bosc pears, chopped
  • ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ⅓ cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 14 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, fennel, and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the sage, thyme, and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Transfer everything to a large bowl and gently stir in the bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts, and prosciutto. Add the broth and toss to combine. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the stuffing into the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the top is beginning to crisp, 25 to 30 more minutes.

6. Quinoa Sage Stuffing

Quinoa

Quinoa | iStock.com

In addition to being ultra healthy, With Food + Love’s recipe via Tasty Yummies is also gluten-free and vegan friendly. Using quinoa, zesty seasonings, and veggies, you can create a side dish that puts a unique spin on a Thanksgiving classic. We guarantee your dinner guests will devour it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 heaping cup diced celery
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • Small handful of fresh sage, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground coarse pepper

Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse your quinoa, and in a medium-size pot, add vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil, add in the quinoa, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and stir. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, and have the quinoa steam for another 10 minutes. In a saute pan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add in the chopped celery and onion.

Continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat up to medium and add in the vegetable broth, sage, and garlic powder, seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed; simmer for a few additional minutes. Combine the quinoa with the veggie mixture, add in the last ½ cup of vegetable broth, and stir. In a greased baking dish, add the stuffing mix and bake for 10 minutes. Broil under a low flame until the top becomes golden brown.

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