Happy Veggie Stuffing
Why is this stuffing happy? Because stuffing is for Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving is the best day of the year – we get to stop everything and be grateful. I hope that you have family or close friends to gather and count blessings with. There has been so much ugliness and emotion around the recent debates and elections. It has helped me to surround myself with friends and family and to remember all the things I’m grateful for. Not everything is in our control. One thing we can direct, however, is being the best role models we can for our children. We can also take care of ourselves and our families. Let’s nourish ourselves on the inside with nutritious foods and top it off with big, hearty hugs. I hope you will start to feel better as I have.
This stuffing is loaded with good fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants thanks to whole grain bread, lentils, and pomegranates. Lentils have protein, fiber, and folic acid. If you want to understand more about why lentils are good for you, read up on it here. Happy Veggie Stuffing less fat than traditional stuffing. It has no oils (aside from a little spray oil ) or butters.
The first step for making this tasty vegetarian stuffing is to find a good bread. I save the heels (or the loaf ends) of sliced sandwich bread up in a large zip lock baggie. The bread we use for sandwiches is Dave’s Killer Bread, Powerseed (no affiliations with Daves bread other than consumption). Powerseed bread high in protein and low in sugar and the kids like it to boot – win, win!
Cook the lentils in some veggie broth for an extra flavor boost.
At the same time saute onions and celery in canola spray oil.
Chop fresh, crunchy apples and add to mixture.
Soak the dry bread cubes in the remaining veggie broth.
Combine the broth soaked bread cubes with the veggie mixture and stir all together in a large bowl. Transfer to a pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle some reduced sugar dried cranberries or Craisins and finely chopped pecans.
Bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes – you may broil for an extra 5 minutes if you like a slight crunch on top.
Now for the fun part. Garnish with pomegranate arils and serve in a carved out pumpkin!
If you have enough seeds from the pumpkin, try roasting your own pumpkin seeds – recipe here.
Meat Lovers only beyond this point –
It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyhow…you can add meat to this recipe. Sausage works well. We like Aidell’s chicken apple sausage and their mango sausage (again no affiliation other than liking it). Pull out that indoor grill pan, slice sausages in half, grill, chop, and stir into the prepared stuffing.
- 1 loaf whole grain bread (I used the heels of several loaves of sliced bread I had saved up)
- ½ cup uncooked lentils
- 3½ cups veggie broth
- ¼ of an onion (1/2 cup), chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh celery, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
- 1½ apples, cored and chopped
- 1½ Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- ⅛ cup reduced sugar Craisins or dried cranberries
- ⅛ cup pecans, chopped or whole
- Canola spray oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Spray oil in pyrex baking dish
- Cut bread into ½ cubes and leave out at least a few hours to dry out
- Cook lentils in 1½ cups of the vegetable broth
- Saute the onions and the celery in a pan sprayed with canola oil
- Cut sage into small pieces with kitchen shears
- Add sage to celery and onions
- Combine celery, onions, and sage to the cooked lentils
- Add the chopped apples
- Stir unsweetened apple sauce with the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth
- Add the apple sauce/veggie broth mixture to the bread pieces and stir until moistened
- Combine the lentil/apple mixture to the broth moistened bread in a large bowl and gently stir
- Transfer stuffing to a pyrex baking dish
- Sprinkle dried cranberries and pecans on the top
- Cover and bake about 45 minutes
- Change oven setting to broil and cook another 5 minutes or so until browned on top