I wasn’t sure if I was going to get this recipe in under the wire but my new oven was installed just in the nick of time. Aren’t we excited? Or is just The Royal We (i.e. me) excited? Don’t answer that.
Back to the urgent matter at hand: although I’m sure you have probably already planned most of your Thanksgiving menu, if there is any wiggle room at all, you really, really have to at least consider putting this grain free stuffing on the table.
Actually, I recently learned that this dish is technically grain free dressing, not grain free stuffing. I always thought the different names were due to regional colloquialisms or something, but it turns out there is actually a true difference: if it’s not stuffed inside a bird, it isn’t stuffing. It’s dressing. MIND: BLOWN. Right?
Regardless of what you call it, or stuff it in – a bird or a pan – or dress with it, or whatever, this recipe is so easy to make. It doesn’t require a million different ingredients, or tedious mixing of herbs and spices. All you need is salt, pepper and herbs de Provence spice mix (which I know you already have on hand from this recipe and this one) and you’re good to go.
This recipe can also be adapted so many ways:
- Make it vegetarian: use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Avoid added sugar: it’s tough to find unsweetened dried cranberries, so you can easily use the same amount of dried cherries (Trader Joe’s has dried bing cherries with no added sugars or anything else) or raisins
- Not a fan of pecans: try walnuts instead
- Make it nut free: use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in place of pecans
- Make it stuffing: eliminate the eggs and stuff it into your bird
You can save some time by making the loaf of bread in advance, or make the whole thing in advance (keep it tightly wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator), and then warm it in the oven covered in tinfoil. Er, remove the plastic wrap first – but you already knew that. I only mention it because there is nothing worse than absentmindedly melting a layer of plastic on top of a mouthwatering dish of Thanksgiving stuffing. Unless, of course, you have a backup pan of dressing. 😉
- One loaf of grain free sandwich bread or gluten free bread of choice, cut into small cubes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup minced onions or shallots
- 1 head of celery about 2 cups, chopped small
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup raw pecans roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10-12 fresh sage leaves about 1 Tablespoon, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence spice mix
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 large eggs beaten
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease or spray a 7.5"x11" baking pan and set aside.
Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a dry cookie sheet or large baking pan. Bake them for 30 minutes until deep golden and very dry. Set them aside to cool.
Preheat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion until translucent, then add the celery. Toss several times until celery has softened, then add the cranberries, pecans, salt, pepper and herbs de Provence. Mix thoroughly. Cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Transfer the cooled bread cubes to a large mixing bowl. Pour the onion-celery-herb mixture over the bread and gently fold them together.
Turn the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
Whisk together the chicken broth and beaten eggs, then pour the broth-egg mixture over the bread mixture, distributing evenly.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until crispy and golden on top and no liquid remains at the bottom of the pan.
Avoid added sugar: it's tough to find unsweetened dried cranberries, so you can easily use the same amount of dried cherries (Trader Joe's has dried bing cherries with no added sugars or anything else) or raisins
Not a fan of pecans: try walnuts instead
Make it nut free: use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in place of pecans
Make it stuffing: eliminate the eggs and stuff it into your bird
If the top begins to brown too much, just loosely tent the pan with a piece of tin foil.