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Give Your Stuffing Recipe a Makeover

December 17, 2013 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Give Your Stuffing Recipe a Makeover

Stuffing (also called dressing) is a special occasion food that's usually reserved for celebratory meals. If you're planning on celebrating soon, consider adding stuffing to your menu. A stuffed food is like a wrapped gift that delights with every bite.

Typically associated with turkey dinner, stuffing can also be used with fish (stuffed sole), meat cuts (stuffed pork chops), and even vegetables (stuffed peppers). Some families have recipes that have been passed down through the generations, but there's plenty of room for experimentation too.

Check out the list below for some ideas that will give your stuffing recipe a twist.

Usually use cubed French or white bread?

Instead, try:

  • Cubed sourdough, focaccia, rye or corn bread
  • Cooked wild or brown rice
  • Cooked barley or quinoa
  • Cooked and cubed sweet potatoes or potatoes

Usually use onion, carrot, celery, egg or sausage for flavour and texture?

Instead, try:

  • Sliced red onion, leek or shallot
  • Chestnuts
  • Chopped walnuts, cashews, pecans or pine nuts
  • Diced apples or pears
  • Dried cranberries or apricots
  • Dried or fresh mushrooms
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

Usually use butter, olive oil, cream, pan drippings, stock or wine to add moisture?

Instead, try:

  • Low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Fruit juice

Usually add sage, thyme, pepper or poultry seasoning for aroma?

Instead try:

  • Rosemary or parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Cajun seasoning

Nutrition Tips:

  • For a lower calorie stuffing, consider using a low sodium broth or vegetable juice to replace part of the butter, oil or cream in your recipe.
  • Use herbs and other flavourful ingredients to maximize taste while reducing the need for added salt.
  • Balance out your stuffing by increasing the amount of vegetable, fruit or nut ingredients.

Food safety tip:

For turkey stuffing it's safer to cook your stuffing separately in a baking dish. If you plan on cooking the stuffing inside the turkey use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 74 degrees Celsius. Stuff the bird just before cooking it to reduce the risk of contaminating the stuffing with any bacteria that might be in the cavity.

Enjoy your celebratory meals over the holidays, and please share your favourite stuffing recipes with our readers!

Photo credit: iStock

Related Posts:
How to Cook a Turkey
Gobble, Gobble, Gone!

Recommended Resources:
Food Safety: Easy Steps to Make Food Safe

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