Healthy Holidays: Sumptuous Stuffing

It’s a healthy stove top stuffing designed to win over your traditional and your picky eaters. Full of protein, high in fiber, with all kinds of macro and micro nutrients, gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, and even paleo, this is the epitome of having it all for your holiday feasts.

The nuts make it meaty, the squash creamy, the kale and cherries colorful and textured. The fruit sweetens and brightens. The only other thing you might add, if you are an olive fan, are some wrinkly black olives like the French Nyons. Well, and maybe my favorite topping for everything, toasted pepitas. It’s pumpkin season after all.

There is some chopping, cutting, massaging, roasting and zesting to do – but it’s such a joy to bring it all together, with its rich hands-on feel, tastes and aromas.

Serve it with this Vegetarian/Vegan gravy, which one reader last year called “the best ever,” and it could almost be a meal in itself. And be sure to scroll to the bottom for more Thanksgiving recipes from around this blog.

Holiday Stuffing

1 small acorn or kombucha squash
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 teaspoon lemon salt
3 T ghee or extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
pink salt (mineral or sea salt is good)
2 t dried sage
1/2 t dried thyme (oregano could substitute)
1 large pinch of cinnamon
1 large pinch ginger powder
1/2 c pecans
1/2 c pistachios
1/3 hazelnuts, pieces
1/2 c dried cherries
1 apple
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c low sodium veg broth
3-4 handfuls spinach
lemon sea salt
1 tangerines, juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 475F. Wash and pat dry your squash. Slice it down the middle, lay it flesh side down on a parchment lined baking tray. Pop it in the oven on a middle rack and roast 20 minutes.

Clean and pat dry the kale. Chop it really well. Pick out any large stems and discard. Put the kale in a bowl and massage with a few pinches of lemon salt.

Melt the ghee or olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and a hefty pinch of pink salt. Let them sweat, adding more ghee or olive oil if they start to stick. As the onions soften add the garlic, sage, thyme, cinnamon or ginger, and one large rosemary sprig. Stir gently but thoroughly.

Break up the hazelnuts by wrapping them in a towel, then pressing down on them with the handle of a knife. Set aside, saving all the pieces, even the powder. Leave the pecans and pistachios whole.

Once the onions are translucent, reduce the heat to medium-low and push this mixture to one side of the pan. Add the nuts to the other side and let brown for a minute. Turn the nuts to brown on the other side for another minute or two, then stir the mixtures together.

Chop the apple into small pieces. Stir in to the stuffing with the cherries and raisins. Pour in the vegetable broth and let it come to a gentle little simmer. Rinse the kale and stir in.

Meanwhile, you’ve pulled your squash out of the oven and let it stand to cool. Now scoop out the seeds, peel away the skin and give it a rough chop. Stir the squash into the stuffing.

Grate your tangerine and lemon, enough to get a hearty spoonful of zest. Set aside the zest, and juice both the tangerine and lemon. Lightly stir the spinach and the citrus juice into the stuffing. Sprinkle with lemon salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Turn off the heat. Cover and let stand one minute for the spinach to wilt and the flavors to merge.

Turn out onto a serving plate and garnish with the citrus zest. Serve alongside this gorgeous Veg Gravy.


More Thanksgiving favorites:

Thanksgiving Cheesy Nut Loaf: Meaty replacement for vegetarians.

Parsnips Ecrasse: A healthier and tastier Mashed Potatoes replacement.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Pumpkin Ravioli: Thanksgiving a la Italia.

Brioche Stuffing with Chestnuts and Figs

Cranberry Chutney: Skipped the canned stuff and make a digestion-enhancing cranberry sauce that people will like.

Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin is good for you. So is this pie.

Apple Pecan Pie: Gluten-free, sugar-free, oven free, easy and heavenly.

Primal Pumpkin Coconut Bread: Great for holiday breakfasts.

Pumpkin Strata: A delicious Thanksgiving weekend brunch.


What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you enjoying November’s call to rest up, eat up and fatten up for fall?  How will you celebrate nature’s bountiful love this holiday?

I wish you a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!



2 thoughts on “Healthy Holidays: Sumptuous Stuffing

    • Thanks, Sandi. Do you celebrate the American date or the Canadian? In any case I am grateful for you. I have a heart of immense thanksgiving for my teachers. Pranams.

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