This Healthy Stuffing Recipe is low calorie and packed with hidden veggies, making it 1/2 veggie dish, 1/2 bread stuffing. But you can’t taste or see the veggies, making it great for picky eaters. At just 114 calories, you can enjoy this low calorie stuffing recipe guilt free. And even have seconds!
Healthy Stuffing Recipe
Stuffing is my favorite holiday side dish, but it’s also (traditionally) the most unhealthy. So when I started my weight loss journey, I knew I had to come up with a healthy version of my old favorite.
I made the recipe 50% veggies (I promise they are well hidden) and make this yummy side dish as healthy as you can make it. This way you can eat your favorite side dish guilt free.
What You’ll Find in this Article:
Ingredients in Low Calorie Stuffing
Low Calorie Stuffing Ingredients
- Bread – I like to use whole wheat sourdough bread tin this recipe. It has a great consistency and holds together better than most other breads. You’ll want it to be stale, so leave it out the night before or toast it (more tips on that below)
- Butternut squash – I like to add hidden butternut squash to boost the veggies and nutrition in this recipe.
- Onions – Just like the boxed stuff we want to add onions for flavor, as a bonus they naturally boost metabolism.
- Celery – Also a traditional stuffing ingredient, I add just a little more. Celery is great for digestion and can really help “get things moving” after a large holiday meal.
- Thyme – I recommend getting fresh spiced for this recipe. If you don’t have a spice garden, look for the “Poultry Spice” packs in the produce section. They will have all the spices you need for the holiday, and can help you save money.
- Sage – Same as the recommendation for thyme, this delicious herb will also be in the “Poultry Spice” packs.
- Apples – Trust me on this, you will love these apples in the stuffing. You can’t even taste them, and as a bonus, they naturally boost metabolism.
- Eggs – You’ll need a binding agent, and eggs are perfect for this. As a bonus, they add a boost of protein to the healthy side dish.
- Parsley – Yet another delicious spice that you’ll find in the “Poultry Spice” packs. It adds both flavor and color to the yummy dish.
- Broth – I like to use chicken broth, and if I have it turkey broth. Be sure to see more options in the sections below.
- Dried cranberries – You can omit these if you prefer, they add color and tartness to your stuffing.
- Olive oil spray – Skip the heavy drizzle of oil and use a fine mist. Just by doing this you’ll save 100’s of calories.
- Butter – I like to add just a tiny bit of butter to the top of the stuffing before baking. This gives it the butter flavor you like, but you’ll only need a tiny bit and therefore you’ll save more calories.
- Salt and Pepper – Of course we want to season the stuffing perfectly. I have noted some low sodium tips below.
- Bread – If you are trying to cut carbs from this recipe you can swap out the bread for my Low Calorie High Protein Bread! You can also use keto bread in this recipe.
- Butternut squash – You can swap out the butternut squash for acorn squash or zucchini for a more savory dish. You can also double the onions and celery and skip it all together.
- Herbs and Spices – As I noted above, getting just one “Poultry pack” will supply you with all the spices. But you can swap them out for dried Italian Seasoning if you don’t have the spices.
- Apples – If you are hesitant on adding the apples, I understand, though I assure you they are wonderful in this dish. You can skip them all together or add more squash.
- Eggs – I have supplied some vegan tips below in the “Healthy Tips and Swaps” section. You can swap out the eggs for vegan eggs.
- Cranberries – You can swap out the dried cranberries for fresh or frozen. Or skip them all together.
- Butter – If you don’t want to add butter to this recipe you can skip it all together. You can also spray the top of the stuffing with olive oil. If you are adding the stuffing to the bird you will not need the butter at all.
Healthy Tips and Swaps
Low Carb Stuffing
To make a low carb stuffing you’ll want to start with a low carb bread. My Low Calorie High Protein Bread is low carb, sugar free, and protein packed. But you can also get your favorite low carb or keto bread to make this recipe.
If you want to make this stuffing gluten-free you’ll just need to swap out the bread for your favorite gluten free bread. If you are making this gluten-free for a loved one (and don’t have a favorite bread) ask them what they prefer. I like Rudy’s Gluten-Free bread (it is found in the frozen bread section).
To make this stuffing vegan, simply use vegetable stock and swap out the eggs for vegan eggs in this recipe.
High Protein Stuffing
To boost the protein in this stuffing, mI have a few tips for you. First off, you’ll want to swap out the bread for a high protein bread. My Low Calorie High Protein Bread is a great option. Next, add some cooked sausage to the stuffing. I like mild or sweet Italian sausage, but chicken and apple sausage is also wonderful in this recipe.
Low Sugar Stuffing
To make low sugar stuffing, omit the cranberries and apples (there are swaps above if you like) and use my Low Calorie High Protein Bread (it is naturally sugar free!) in place of store-bought bread. You can also use your favorite low sugar store-bought bread.
Low Sodium Stuffing
For a low sodium stuffing, make sure to get low sodium broth. You’ll also want to swap out the salt in the recipe for lemon juice.
How to Make Low Calorie Stuffing
Stuffing is easy to make, you’ll want to cook the vegetables and fruits along with the herbs in a large pot. Next you’ll add in the chicken broth and simmer to help all the flavors come together.
While this is going on, you can whisk the eggs and parsley together, and add to the bread. Finally you’ll add the warm broth and vegetables to the bread along with the eggs and cranberries. Then top with a tiny bit of butter and bake until golden brown.
Helpful Tips on Making Low Calorie Stuffing
- Dry Out the Bread – I like to add the bread to a cookie sheet and leave on the counter (or in a cold oven if you have pets) overnight to dry out. But if you forget that’s ok. Just toast all the bread in the oven or the toaster and that will dry it out fast.
- Baking in a Casserole Dish – I personally like to make stuffing in a casserole dish, it get’s crispy edges and has a better consistency (in my opinion at least). It also means I can make this side dish ahead of time making holidays easier.
- Stuffing the Turkey – Though stuffing got it’s name because it was traditionally baked inside the turkey, this method has lost popularity over the years as many people are worried about salmonella. But you can absolutely add the stuffing to the cavity of the turkey and bake together. As long as your turkey is well cooked, you will be fine. If you are wary however, try the casserole method.
Making Ahead and Storage
I am a big fan of making all holiday side dishes ahead of time. This means they just need to be baked and or reheated on the day of. It helps me enjoy time with my guests more, and also reduces stress.
Making Ahead of Time
- Prep – Cook the veggies and the dry/toast bread ahead of time and cook according to directions.
- Assemble – If adding to a casserole dish add to the dish and top with butter as directed. If adding to the turkey add to a large air tight container and place in the fridge.
- Bake – If making this in a casserole dish I find it’s best to cook fully, then cool and cover with foil. Place in the fridge 1-2 days before the holiday.
- Day Of Holiday – To reheat already baked stuffing, leave the foil on the top and bake in a hot oven (really any degree you already have it at works) until warmed through, about 30 minutes. If you want to add to the turkey, leave on the counter for a couple hours to get closer to room temperature, then stuff the turkey and bake.
Leftovers and Storage
- Storage – Add to a large container, or several single serving sided containers. Cover and store in the fridge or freezer (fridge is best).
- Refrigerating – Will hold for 4-5 days in the fridge.
- Freezing – Will hold for 3 weeks in the freezer. (Though you can freeze, refrigeration is best with this recipe)
- Reheating – Defrost in the fridge overnight if frozen. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Healthy Stuffing Recipe
Homemade stuffing recipes can be very easy. And let’s be honest here. Even when you buy stuffing mixes at the store, you still have to chop all the veggies and put it all together. This all natural version is a healthier stuffing recipe. With no preservatives, and more fruits and veggies for a low calorie stuffing recipe that is actually good for you.
Low Calorie Stuffing
- 10 slices stale whole wheat bread cubed
- 2 cups butternut squash chopped
- 2 cups onions chopped
- 3 cups celery chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage minced
- 3 cups apples chopped
- 2 eggs or vegan eggs
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Olive oil spray
- 1 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Optional Add Ins:
- 2 Chicken and Apple Sausages cooked and crumbled
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a sauce pot on medium heat, spray with olive oil, then add in the butternut squash, onions, celery, apples, thyme and sage. Cook until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs and parsley together then add in the bread, the vegetables, chicken sausage (if using), dried cranberries and salt and pepper.
- Pour the broth and vegetables in and mix well.
- Move mixture to a large buttered casserole dish. Top the stuffing with one tablespoon of butter, crumble small specks of it all over the top to help it crisp up then cover with foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite holiday dishes.
- If your bread is not already stale, spread it onto 2 cookies sheets and place in an oven at 300 for 15 to 20 minutes.