Gratitude makes the attitude- it's the reason for the season. Traditionally meant to reap the season's harvest and the work from the community, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that really makes us stop and think. Thanksgiving is also America's #1 food holiday. From the sides to the turkey, there's SO many different variations to make and share. The one side I would ALWAYS leave room for is stuffing. Since becoming intolerant to gluten, and living for recreating home favorites, I've been out to mimic this classic to any Thanksgiving spread. Using high-quality chicken sausage (or the innerds if you're truly traditional), unsweetened dried cranberries, and a homemade savory pumpkin bread; this stuffing is sure to be a hit… so much so, the rest of your family won't even realize it's comfort and health all at once.
First, a Reminder
Like I said: gratitude is the reason for the season. Take this time to do that. It's easy to get in our heads and become overwhelmed with making this occasion “worth it”. Overexercising, restricting, all the “prep” work most people do for the holidays. It. Is. Not. Needed. This is one dinner, so treat it as such. Eat normally, move normally, your body will not know the difference if you treat this day like every other. It will however sense it when it's put under extremes. So let this be a disclaimer: enjoy the meaning of this holiday and the food that comes with it. Understand your body- don't feel you have to eat everything, but do not feel like you have to avoid certain foods.
For me, recreating these favorites used to be something to do with control and a different type of restriction. Now, I see recreation as a purpose; an opportunity to change the stigma around “good” and “bad food. Hint: all food is good. It is the source, the realness, of it that creates the divide. The point is to not focus and label the food. The intent of healthifying these recipes is to create a more whole and natural option. I find this of value to instill and promote, not one to monopolize the fear propaganda of eliminating foods.
This also is not to say you should not eat your grandma's world famous pie, or the rolls and butter out on the table. If eating the real deal, meaning in their buttery, refined-sugary, mass produced style, is the way you want to spend your holiday, THEN DO SO. Like I advised: one meal will not make or break your health streak, and it does affect or change who you are. I know, a holistic real food Nutritionist okaying conventional foods- shocked? Holistic: incorporating all facets together to create a sense of happiness and internal wholeness. Sit on it.
For some more tips and inspiration, check out this blog post from another real-food nutritionist Dana, or give one of my favorite Registered Dietitian a follow on Instagram for daily motivation to get you past the holidays- @dietitiandeanna.
Time for the grubs
This recipe is a timely one. Growing up, the holidays were more work to prep for than the actual day. My mom always “joked” about how a 45 minute dinner took 45 hours to do. I use joked loosely.
To start, the bread MUST be dried. When mixed in later, it should be able to absorb some liquid without turning to mush. When mixing the bread, it may appear clumpy- like it won't form a bread. Just trust me on this. Bake according to the directions and you will have dense, but dry, bread that will be perfect when left to dry (day old baked goods, think about it that way).
If you have a dehydrator, you can make the cranberries unsweetened. Otherwise, try to look for cranberries that are only sweetened with juice, like this brand here.
I prefer to use Bilinski's Porcini Mushroom Chicken Sausage for this recipe. Rated by Whole Foods Animal Welfare Program, this product is both humane, delicious, and nutritious. Fun fact: porcini mushrooms are one of three culinary mushrooms (shittake, oyster, and porcini) that also double as health bombs- they do contain some of the most beta-glucans around! Read this study to understand some more about the various amounts and different mushrooms. Other favorite chicken sausage brands include Applegate and Trader Joe's! Flavor wise, I would suggest an herb or sweet apple sausage.
For the stuffing: Once bread is ready, sautee 1/2 white onion, 3 stalks celery, and 3 garlic cloves in olive oil. Add 1 package of mushrooms and 3 links of chicken sausage and cook until browned. Mix with bread, 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice (suggest pecans or walnuts). In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup Epic Provision Turkey Cranberry Sage Bone Broth, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1 tbsp herbs, salt, pepper, and 1 egg. Pour over bread mix. Bake covered at 375 for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10 minutes.
Savory Pumpkin Bread
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 TBSP dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 whole egg
- Preheat oven to 425
- Mix dry and wet together in separate bowls
- Gradually add dry to wet
- Scoop into parchment lined loaf pan
- Bake covered for approximately 50 minutes, uncovered for 20-30 or until golden
- Once cooled, cut and crumble for stuffing or enjoy as a savory toast for breakfast!
Thanksgiving is meant for enjoying the bounty the Earth provides and unites us together over creating, eating, and making memories that will be remembered for generations to come… makes you think about what a caveman thanksgiving would look like, huh?
About the Author
Tatum Guerrero is an aspiring Registered Dietician and a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Through her journey of adopting a Paleo lifestyle, Tatum has been able to learn how proper nutrition can heal the mind and body. She hopes to use her credentials to emphasize the importance of whole, real food and make these options more accessible to youth and at-risk groups. You can follow her at RootedTates Instagram, or her website, therootedlife.online.
Want to learn which ingredients are the best to cook with?
Check out our friends over at Wellness Force Radio and learn about how good nutrition impacts your health with Udo Erasmus: