You can’t please everyone, but healthier stuffing is a great place to make a change for the better. Betsy always made phenomenal stuffing with Pepperidge Farm White and copious amounts of butter. We want to rise above the fat/sugar ratio and create a stuffing that is as healthy as we can get it, without it tasting flat.
How do you make healthier stuffing?
The bread is the best place to start. Choose your favorite whole wheat bread, and go from there. We chose a soft sprouted whole grain variety. White bread is nothing more than a loaf of sugar, basically. Simply switching from white to whole wheat or whole grain bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Washington reported in the April 2, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
What does “refined” white flour mean?
When flour is refined, it loses the most nutritious parts of the grain—the fiber, essential fatty acids, and most of the vitamins and minerals. In fact, about 30 nutrients are removed, but by law only five must be added back (though others often are): iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid. There’s so little fiber left after processing that you’’d have to eat eight pieces of white bread to get the fiber in just one piece of whole wheat bread. (Source: Vegetarian Times)
So … how do we do this?
Cut the loaf into cubes, and toss it in a 200º oven for about 30 minutes if you don’t have the time to leave it out on the counter overnight to get it stale.
Prep all the vegetables and herbs. Sauté the onions, garlic, celery and white carrots in a tablespoon of unsalted butter. After 5 minutes, when onions begin to get translucent, add the fresh herbs. The fragrance will knock your socks off! Wowza!
Adding eggs to the recipe gives the stuffing moisture and added protein. We whisked ours right into the broth, and added cracked black pepper.
When that’s prepared, put the stale, cubed bread into a large bowl. Pour the sautéed vegetables and herbs over the top, and pour the egg/broth mixture over that. Mix well with your hands. Make sure all the cubes are well coated.
We lined the baking tins with parchment paper and placed the stuffing in the tins. We made two batches; one for tonight, and one for our Friendsgiving next Thursday evening. (Into the freezer it went!) We baked our batch for 30 minutes at 350º; just enough to heat it up, but not so much that it dries out.
It’s the fresh herbs that take this stuffing to the next level. It was earthy and hearty and full of depth. The white carrots add a sweet touch to the stuffing. We never missed the lack of sodium or fat!
Whole Wheat Herbed Stuffing
- 16 slices whole grain bread
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup white carrots chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp curly parsley minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme minced
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 2 Cups no-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 200º.
- Cube the bread into equal sized pieces. Spread out on a large sheet pan and place on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Remove bread from oven and turn oven up to 350º.
- Heat 3 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
- Sauté onion, carrots, celery and garlic until softened; about 5 minutes.
- Add parsley, rosemary, thyme and marjoram to the skillet. Stir often, for another 2 minutes.
- Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
- Pour sautéed vegetables over the bread and stir to coat.
- Add 1 egg and pepper to the broth, and whisk until egg has become fully emulsified into the broth. Pour mixture into bread bowl, and mix with clean hands to completely coat the bread.
- Line an 8×8" baking dish with parchment paper. (Easiest way is to cut two pieces of parchment that are 12"x8" and lay them so they cross each other in the pan.) To keep moisture in, cover the pan with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 10 minutes.