Hearty and Wholesome Thanksgiving Recipes: Stuffing Edition!

by Kristen Carlucci on November 24, 2009

in General

Interested in what is on the Simply Savor menu this Turkey Day?  Over the years I’ve accumulated a ton of Thanksgiving recipes, and am so excited to share some of my favorites with all of you! 

Whether you’re cooking a meal for a family of 3, 40, or just bringing an appetizer to a party, here are some healthy and delicious options to save you calories and fat without losing flavor this holiday season.

Stay tuned because every day until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting wholesome, new recipesfor you to enjoy!

Missed the last post? Lemon-Garlic Roast Turkey & White-Wine Gravy

Funnily enough, I actually used to despise stuffing growing up, but now it is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes!  Here are my two favorite go-to recipes (couldn’t pick just one!) for the perfect stuffing.

Cornbread Apple Stuffing from Eatingwell.com.



Wholesome Cornbread, (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 large stalk celery, diced (1/2 cup)
2 red apples, such as Cortland, diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup apple cider, or apple juice


Prepare Wholesome Cornbread


1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.
Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk and oil in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
Bake the cornbread until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

2. When the cornbread has cooled, crumble into rough chunks (you should have about 6 cups). Spread the chunks and crumbs out on a large baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350°F, stirring occasionally, until crisp but not browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add apples, golden raisins, garlic, sage and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

5. Add the toasted cornbread to the apple mixture and toss to mix. Drizzle cider (or juice) and the remaining 1/2 cup broth over the mixture and toss until evenly moistened. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at until heated through, 35 to 45 minutes. For a crisp top, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Per serving: 175 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 19 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 281 mg sodium; 173 mg potassium.

12 servings, about 2/3 cup each  Active Time: 40 minutes  Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

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A Not-So-Traditional Twist of Stuffing:

Bulgur Stuffing with Dried Cranberries & Hazelnuts from Eatingwell.com



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups chopped onions, (2 large)
1 cup chopped celery, (2-3 stalks)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups bulgur, rinsed (see Ingredient note)
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, (2 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon and allspice; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bulgur and stir for a few seconds. Add broth, bay leaf and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the bulgur is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine dried cranberries and orange juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2 minutes. (Alternatively, bring dried cranberries and orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stovetop and remove from heat.) Set aside to plump.
  3. Toast hazelnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. When the bulgur is ready, discard the bay leaf. Add the cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, parsley and pepper; fluff with a fork.


Make Ahead Tip: The stuffing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, bake at 350 degrees  for 25 to 30 minutes.)

Ingredient Note: Fiber-rich bulgur is made from whole-wheat kernels that are precooked, dried and cracked. Virtually a whole-grain convenience food, bulgur cooks in less than 20 minutes. You can find it in health-food stores and some large supermarkets.
To stuff a turkey, prepare the recipe and let cool completely. Place about 5 cups of the stuffing loosely in turkey cavities; heat the remainder separately.

Per serving: 210 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 7 g fiber; 114 mg sodium; 269 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: 11 mg Vitamin C (27% dv), 64 mg Magnesium (16% dv).

10 servings, 3/4 cup each  Active Time: 40 minutes  Total Time: 40 minutes




More recipes to come!  …Mashed potatoes, Veggie dishes, Casseroles, Desserts!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie September 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Hmm I don’t think I’ve ever had stuffing made from cornbread before, what kind of Southerner am I maha?! Sounds deelish though! I def love stuffing and it is one of my “splurge” items every year – I make a hazelnut, sage & mushroom stuffing out of day old french bread yummmmm 🙂


Cara (Cara Craves...) September 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I am jealous of all these Thanksgiving recipes…I will have to wait until Christmas to enjoy the goodness of turkey and stuffing as I am not American..oh well 🙂 I will live vicariously through your meals.


Jenny September 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

that’s it, i’m coming to your house!


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