The holidays are right around the corner ... which means some seriously good food is on the horizon! And while there’s so much to look forward to, stuffing always stands out as one of those recipes that’s both a staple as well as something a little extra special (it’s not like stuffing is on the menu very often!).
Now, I’ll confess: I felt pretty content eating pre-packaged, boxed stuffing for a very long time. After all, it tasted pretty good, it was super easy to prepare, and since I only ate it a couple times a year, I ignored it’s scary-high sodium content and questionable processed ingredients.
But as the years passed, and my menu gradually became fresher and more celebratory of real food, I realized there was no reason to compromise my wellness goals eating stuffing with poor ingredients (and even sadly limit how much I allowed myself to enjoy). That’s because by using some smart substitutions and tasty superfoods, you can transform this holiday staple dish into a genuinely nutritious affair. And the healthy tricks are actually really simple: Using sprouted grain bread to offer peak mineral and fiber content; adding nutty hemp seeds to enrich the dish with protein; including sweet goji berries to add antioxidants; and using buttery coconut oil to provide healthy fats while keeping the recipe fully plant-based.
So stuff away, I say! Add this superfood stuffing into your Thanksgiving menu and enjoy the win of another tasty tool in your healthy holidays arsenal.
If you're wanting to make this dish ahead of time (as part of a large meal), simply prepare the recipe up to the point where it goes in the oven. Then, cover the pan tightly with foil, and refrigerate for up to two days – you can bake it just before you're ready to serve and enjoy.
1 loaf (1 pound) sprouted bread*
6 tablespoons coconut oil
2 large sweet yellow onions, minced
4 celery stalks, minced
2 tablespoons (packed) minced fresh thyme
2 1/3 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup dried goji berries
2/3 cup hemp seeds
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Tear the bread into approximately 1/2-inch up to 1-inch pieces, and spread the pieces onto a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, tossing once or twice midway through cooking, until bread is golden brown and toasted. Remove the bread from the oven to cool, and turn up the heat to 425° F.
Warm the coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the thyme and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer the contents of the pan to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable broth, and add ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, mixing to combine. Add the toasted bread, goji berries, and hemp seeds, and toss very well. Transfer the mixture to a 12” x 9” baking dish. Press the stuffing down lightly to create an even layer. If there are any goji berries exposed on top, press them down to submerge into the stuffing to avoid burning.
Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes longer, or until the top of the stuffing has started to brown. Serve warm.
*Gluten-free bread may be substituted if desired.