Photo from www.cleaneatingmag.com

Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving!

Personally, I’m not one to forgo participation in the mass murder of a bazillion turkeys, but there are some great meatless options, starting with a favourite of mine – stuffing!

Traditionally, stuffing is a huge holiday diet crusher and it doesn’t seem to matter what diet your on. It’s high carb, high fat, high sodium and really tasty so portions can get out of control easily (it’s also a good place to bury unlikable side dishes so you can get them down without tasting them, take that, Aunt Martha’s Brussels sprouts!). But, like a lot of comfort foods, it really doesn’t have to be. I used to make a cornbread, sausage stuffing, which was veggie loaded, but the sausage was pretty much negating any kind of nutritional value in the dish.

Calories in Maple Leaf Sausage Meat
Serving Size: 1 serving. Amount Per Serving, 100.0 g (best guess puts that somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 cup)

Calories – 350
Total Fat –  33g
Cholesterol – 60mg
Sodium – 560mg
Carbohydrate – 3g
Protein – 12g
 

Yikes!

I have friends who’ve made the leap to wild rice or barley stuffing, both were good and much kinder to people with gluten issues, but I was pretty reluctant to give up my recipe because I knew the family really liked it and I’d get ‘the biddness’ if it were missing.

I don’t remember exactly which holiday it was, but a while back I found the following recipe in Clean Eating magazine. It looked similar enough to my old one that I figured it was worth a try. I did make some alterations to my own tastes, I don’t use sourdough and cut the whole wheat bread with cornbread (half and half), added in a diced up red pepper and usually swap the chicken broth for low sodium vegetable broth or one I made myself.

It was a good choice, either nobody noticed or everybody liked it well enough that the old one wasn’t missed.

 

Mushroom & Leek Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 680-g loaf whole-wheat sourdough bread or regular whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice bread (if not already sliced) and discard crusts. Cut bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Spread bread cubes out in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, tossing halfway through. Transfer to a very large bowl.
  2. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms to bowl with bread. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and heat remaining oil on medium-high. Add carrots, celery and leek. Cook until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add to bread bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to bread bowl and stir gently to combine. Bread should be moist, not dry or soggy. Cool completely before stuffing turkey, about 1½ hours.

OPTION: If you’d rather not stuff the turkey, you can bake the stuffing separately: Bring stuffing to room temperature and, when the turkey finishes cooking, raise oven temperature to 400°F. Coat a large (about 9 x 13-inch) baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and add stuffing. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until lightly browned.

Nutrients per 1/2-cup serving: Calories: 150, Total Fat: 3 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 28 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 6 g, Sodium: 360 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg