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Grain-Free Stuffing

Thanksgiving just doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without some kind of dressing/stuffing (you can read about the difference between the two here).

Since we’re avoiding gluten and I’m avoiding cow’s dairy this Turkey Day come hell or high water – no meal, no matter how celebratory, is worth how I’ll feel afterwards if I consume either – this has posed something of a problem, especially since I’m not overly fond of sausage stuffings and won’t touch an oyster with a 10-foot pole.  I want my cornbread dressing, darn it!

So, in my desperation, I began formulating a stuffing/dressing recipe using my Savory Almond Flour Muffins (sorry about the nuts, Christi!) following my grandmother’s original recipe.  And it works – to an extent.  It tastes pretty much spot-on; like the cornbread dressing I’ve been making for years and years (I’ve made it so often I don’t even need to glance at the recipe any longer).

The texture, however, leaves a little something to be desired.  Because almonds have a fairly high fat content, the finished product is a bit oily and nut breads just don’t absorb liquid the way a grain-based bread does, so it’s not so much moist as just a tad soupy.  It’s not going to “hold together” the way a grain-based bread stuffing/dressing will, either, but despite these caveats (I don’t want to call them drawbacks) it’s an excellent dish made with wholesome, real ingredients and is certainly an option for those who cannot or will not eat grains, or need a low-carb stuffing/dressing substitute.

Note #1:  You should be able to mitigate the “soupiness” of the dish (which really isn’t that bad) by reducing the amount of chicken stock called for, but don’t eliminate it or the flavor will suffer.  It might “hold together” a little better, too, with the addition of an extra egg.  Don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe to your liking.  Also, I don’t normally add dried cranberries to my dressing but thought they might help add some interest to the dish – and they did – but you can always leave them out.

Note #2: The carb count is with dried unsweetened cranberries; if you add sweetened ones like Craisins, the carb count will triple.  Without any cranberries, the carb count drops to about 8 grams per serving, with about 3 grams of fiber.

Grain-Free Stuffing

Grain-Free Stuffing

serves 8

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and honey. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture, beating lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the almond bread from the dish; set aside and cool completely. Cut into 1″ cubes and allow to sit out, uncovered, overnight until very stale. (Alternately, set the cubes in a 200 F oven for half an hour, stirring every 10 minutes, until dry.)

Melt the bacon fat or butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; sauté the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, but not brown.

Place the cubed almond bread in a large bowl; pour the onion/celery mixture over the almond bread and add the eggs, seasonings and dried cranberries. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring well, until the mixture is very moist. Spread in a baking dish or small roasting pan and bake 30 minutes, or until brown on top and hot all the way through.

Nutrition (per serving): 288 calories, 22.8g total fat, 121.1mg cholesterol, 1825.6mg sodium, 297.2mg potassium, 11.2g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 5.1g sugar, 5.8g protein.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday


13 comments

keith says:

Must a majority of the recipes contain almond flour or meal? All these wonderful dishes and I can’t try them due to nut allergy. Great blog BTW.

Jan says:

I know, Keith – I have a problem with that, especially since I have food allergies/sensitivities myself. I have many readers with food allergies, and many who are diabetic – this is mostly for the diabetic/celiac/dairy-sensitive readers. I try not to cook with grains often (gluten bearing grains not at all) and have begun thinking about experimenting a little with non-grain flours like sorghum. However, I’m still losing weight and am trying to keep my carbohydrate intake to a reasonable level. But we’ll see.

If you look over on the sidebar where I have my tags, you’ll see I have quite a few nut-free recipes out there. None of them are bread products – yet. I do apologize for that.

keith says:

Thanks for that Jan.

I have not cooked with gluten for a year now. I recently started playing with sorghum as well, nothing to write home about yet though. I poke around the archives and see if I can come up with a suitable grain/nut free stuffing. Keep uup the excellent work!

Spubba says:

Thank you so much for this recipe. I cooked it for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and it was a hit! One of my dinner guests is diabetic and I’m a carb-watcher, so I made a low-carb Thanksgiving. I served the traditional turkey alongside mashed cauliflower “potatoes” and this stuffing recipe. Or I should call it dressing, as I didn’t stuff the bird with it, but baked it in a dish. I ground the almond flour myself, used duck fat instead of butter to saute the onions and celery, doubled the sage (I like a strong sage flavor) and I used homemade roasted duck broth for the liquid. My experience was that the dressing didn’t come out soupy at all. I think it had a proper texture. It got many compliments and I’m putting it into my personal recipe collection!

Tessa says:

Perhaps the ‘soupiness’ you refer to could be ameliorated by not using any eggs or chicken stock? I make my stuffing/dressing with bread crumbs, to which I add onions, pine nuts and chopped mushrooms sautéed in butter and oil. And I never have any complaints. The mushroom juices and the fact that I crumb the bread rather than cube it, makes it just moist enough. Some I put in the bird; the rest I put in muffin tins for our vegetarian guests. My Stuffins, as they call them, are becoming more popular every year!

Jan says:

I’d considered making it without any chicken stock, but that’s part of the flavor of southern-style cornbread dressing. This is simply a grain-free version of that wonderful dish for my readers who do not eat grains, particularly wheat, either by choice or necessity.

Hmmm … I’m sorry, but I will be making myself sick with carbs from my came-over-on-the-Mayflower recipe. And then, of course, I’ll regret it -

Jan says:

Well, to be perfectly honest, I think I’m going to make a cornbread with sprouted corn flour, organic stone ground cornmeal and coconut milk rather than wheat flour and milk so I may have my stuffing. Everything else, though, is going to be pretty much inline with our diet. I don’t have a problem with the meal being carby per se, I just want to avoid the gluten and casein – simply because I must.

Lisa says:

This year we’re doing a chicken, stuffed with onions and ginger:). But I will probably make some Pepperidge Farm bagged stuff too. Ha! Have no chame.

Jan says:

Tsk, tsk on the bagged stuffing. :P But the chicken sounds lovely!

Gretchen says:

Well, I was wondering how you were going to pull this off, and it looks like you did. And I’m thinking that if you’ve consumed enough wine, and covered it with enough gravy, nobody would be able to tell the difference.

My mama always had to make both dressing AND stuffing every year. Because she stubbornly insisted on making a white bread stuffing (what Daddy called “Yankee dressing” – Mama never could convince him that being from SOUTH DAKOTA didn’t make her a Yankee) and stuffing it into the bird, and Daddy stubbornly insisted she also make his mama’s cornbread dressing an cook it outside the bird. It was just a crazy feast of excellent carbs!

shannon says:

Jan, this is on the menu this year. Thanks so much. We’ve been grain free now for a few weeks due to health issues and now dairy free too. This will be a nice perk on Thanksgiving!

[...] more and more with different Paleo and gluten-free recipes, I thought I would try this grain free stuffing. It was so delicious! The bread part consisted of almond meal, eggs and olive oil. Along with [...]

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