If I had to pick one Thanksgiving food as my favorite, it would be stuffing. I like mashed potatoes well enough, pumpkin pie can be quite tasty, and I’ve made my peace with green beans (as a child, I would only eat them if they came from a can). I could live without cranberry sauce, and I’m still pretty lukewarm about the turkey itself – if ever I’m somehow left in charge of obtaining and preparing the bird for Thanksgiving, I’ll probably just buy a rotisserie chicken and try to pass it off as the runt of its turkey brood. But stuffing is another story. If you spot me going back for seconds (or thirds), I’m probably stuffing myself with stuffing.
I based this recipe off my dad’s stuffing recipe, which he in turn adapted from his sister’s recipe. Whereas boxed stuffing mixes typically consist of bread cubes, dried herbs, and perhaps onion flakes, this is much more than just bread: hence the name “Stuffing Salad.” In addition to the celery and onions my aunt’s original recipe calls for, I included roasted sweet potatoes and diced apple. The sweet potatoes offer a nice pop of color (which is much welcome in a dish that tends toward the monochromatic) as well as a bit more fiber, and the apple provides little hints of sweet tanginess.
- 1 pound hearty white sandwich bread
- 3 small sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
- salt and pepper
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring at least once part-way through, until edges are dried. Set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch (or smaller) cubes. Toss with two tablespoons olive oil. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and easily pierced with a fork. After sweet potatoes are done, set aside and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- While sweet potatoes are baking, chop celery and onions. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and onions and sauté until tender and onions are becoming translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- While celery and onions are cooking, place half of dried bread cubes in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
- Once celery and onions are tender, add water and 2 remaining tablespoons butter to skillet and bring to a boil. Once it boils, remove from heat and stir in parsley flakes and sage.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine contents of skillet, bread cubes (including crushed ones), roasted sweet potatoes, and apple pieces. Pour up to 1/2 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth over mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a large, ungreased casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- It’s easy to make this recipe dairy-free. Just use dairy-free margarine and check the ingredients of the bread you buy to make sure it doesn’t contain milk.
12/22/14 edit: new photos! See more here.
This gives me a good incentive to try something different this Turkey Day – yum!