Let’s Talk Turkey Stuffing

Vegetable-Centric Turkey Stuffing

Turkey stuffing in casserole.jpg


Ever navigate that Thanksgiving buffet, dodging this starchy dish to be able to indulge in that starchy dish? Know what I mean? There are Grandma’s fluffy rolls that just scream for butter and jam. Then that sweet yam casserole, followed by the green beans and deep-fried onions. Can’t miss the mashed potatoes and bread stuffing smothered in gravy. Don’t forget the sweet and tangy cranberries. And of course, that essential pumpkin pie. Starch, starch, starchy and sweet overload! But don’t want to miss a thing because it happens just once a year. Why not make the stuffing just a little bit less starchy stuffy? A plant-based solution is in order.  


What if we stuffed the stuffing with loads of vegetables and cut back on the bread? And instead of cornbread or white bread why not a hearty artisan whole grain bread? And cut the amount of bread in half. The flavor will be very similar but less filling. I call this a vegetable-centric solution. It is a delicious accompaniment without the guilt. Once you try this stuffing there is no way to go back to the bread, onions and celery boredom chased by Grandma’s sweet and fluffy home rolls, although Grandma would be proud!

Vegetable-Centric Turkey Stuffing

Turkey stuffing up close.jpg

8 servings


5 cups artisan, dense, whole-grain bread torn into one-half inch cubes

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided in half)

3 tablespoons room temperature butter (divided two +one)

1 ½ cup onions, medium diced

1 cup celery, medium diced

1 cup fennel bulb, medium diced

1 cup parsnips, medium diced

1 cup carrots, medium diced

2 teaspoons sea salt (divided in half)

2 ½ cups turkey bone broth (see last blog for recipe or boxed)

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup chanterelle mushrooms, brushed clean, thinly sliced

½ cup dried tart cherries

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, chopped

1 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten


1.     Preheat oven to 275°F. Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan in the oven. Toast until crisp, about fifteen to twenty minutes.

2.     Melt two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter in a cast iron pan. Add the onions, celery, fennel, parsnips, and carrots. Sprinkle with one teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until golden brown, about fifteen minutes. Toss with the crisp bread in a large mixing bowl.

3.     Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a ceramic casserole dish with the remaining one tablespoon butter. Heat the turkey broth with the remaining one teaspoon of salt.

4.     Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute. Add the mushrooms and toss until thoroughly cooked.

5.     Add the mushrooms to the bread and vegetables with the cherries, parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and black pepper. Slowly mix in the hot turkey broth until thoroughly absorbed. Taste, Think, Transform with more salt and/or pepper. Fold in the beaten eggs.

6.     Distribute the stuffing evenly in the casserole dish. Place in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for forty minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Serve hot.

Turkey plate fixings 2.jpg
Linda HierholzerSIDES