Localicious: A Time For Thanks… & Stuffing


Thanksgiving is a time of traditions, a time to be thankful, a celebration of the changing seasons, and a feast to be shared and enjoyed by all. Likely every family has their favorite culinary traditions – mine is stuffing.

Here is my recipe for a stuffing base, along with two delicious variations to complete it. Always remember, recipes are a guideline. Feel free to add or change where needed.

Thanksgiving Stuffing Base

To go with your Thanksgiving turkey


  • 1 rustic baguette cut into 1” cubes (gluten-free bread also works)
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth + 1 cup turkey broth from your cooked turkey – add before baking
  • 2-3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-6 shallots, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tbls fresh sage, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 Tbls fresh thyme, minced, or 1 Tbls dried
  • 1 cup nuts (chestnuts, pine nuts, walnuts)
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice nice-quality rustic loaf or baguette into 1” cubes and spread out on a baking sheet. Lightly toast in the oven, turning over once, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Toast nuts in a frying pan over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes, turning a few times during cooking. Set aside to cool.

Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions, celery and shallots and sauté over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, celery salt, salt and pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made the day before).

Remove stuffing from refrigerator 1 hour before baking; transfer into large baking dish.  Remove turkey from oven when cooked through. Take 1 cup of turkey broth (or your choice of stock) and pour over the stuffing. Cover and place stuffing in the oven; bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown the top. Remove from oven just before serving the turkey.

Wild Rice, Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing

Add the following to the Thanksgiving Stuffing Base recipe:

Serves 10

  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • ½ lb Portobello or brown mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 16 oz (2 cups) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ to 1 cup pine nuts (replaces other nuts suggested in basic recipe)

Bring water to boil and add the wild rice. Return to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain any excess water and fluff rice with a fork.

Using a large sauté pan, brown sausage over medium heat until thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 minutes.  Wrap in a paper towel on a plate to drain, and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving enough for sautéing. Follow remaining instructions for the Basic Stuffing recipe, adding the mushrooms to the onions and shallots.

Apple Walnut Stuffing

Add the following to the Thanksgiving Stuffing Base recipe – easily made vegetarian or vegan:

Serves 8-10

  • 3-5 Tbls butter (vegans can substitute a non-dairy butter alternative)
  • 4-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped

Add the butter to the olive oil when sautéing onions, celery and shallots. When combining all ingredients, include the apples and walnuts.

To Stuff Or Not To Stuff?

art-1115-loca2If you want your turkey to cook evenly, don’t stuff the bird. Stuffing tastes delicious cooked on its own, especially when fresh turkey broth is added before baking.

If you have the time to make multiple side dishes for Thanksgiving but don’t want to skimp on tradition (or flavor!), no problem. Bacio Catering and Carry Out in Chico and Moonstone Bistro in Redding both cook up side dishes for you. Place your order, pick it up, and reheat to serve your guests. Check out their menus at http://www.baciocatering.com and http://www.moonstonebistro.com.

Amanda Leveroni, owner of Bacio Catering, loves Thanksgiving: “It’s about gathering, cooking together, family, friends, making memories and eating.” She offers a delicious gluten-free Southern-style cornbread stuffing with sausage and dried cherries. She also offers smashed root vegetables, cranberry relish, gravy and more. Fresh pies from Mim’s Bakery can also be ordered through Bacio. Orders can be picked up until 7pm the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

art-1115-loca3Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, filled with tradition, warmth, family, friends and delicious food. May yours be a day filled with joy and laughter. Happy Thanksgiving!

Localicious is a monthly column celebrating food in the North State. If you would like to suggest a food-related business or organization, email us at localicious@northstateparent.com

Michelle Cave
About Michelle Cave

Michelle Cave is a certified Nutrition Consultant & Nutrition Educator and has been practicing for over 13 years. She studied Holistic Nutrition at Bauman College, in Berkeley, CA and is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Find out more: www.familynutritionconnection.com

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