Tuesday, November 14, 2006

South Beach Friendly Whole Wheat Stuffing with Sage, Italian Sausage, and Pears

For at least another week I'm focusing on Thanksgiving Recipes to make your Thanksgiving dinner a bit more South Beach Diet friendly. So far I've featured Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar as an alternative for candied yams, and Alanna's Roasted Cauliflower as a possible alternative to potatoes. Then I gave some ideas for Thanksgiving Salads that will impress your guests and a special Double Berry Jello Salad.

Now we're getting down to the basics. As far as I'm concerned, stuffing is one of the three absolutely required foods for Thanksgiving dinner, surpassed in importance only by turkey and gravy. Luckily I'm not overly excited about mashed potatoes because there's no way to make them South Beach Diet Friendly. However, traditional stuffing made with white bread is easily replaced with this lower glycemic index version made with 100% whole wheat bread, turkey Italian Sausage, and one pear to add a touch of sweetness. (Edit 2007: The following year I made a different version of South Beach Friendly whole wheat stuffing.)

This recipe is from the new South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook. I was planning to buy the book when I got an e-mail offering me a copy, and there are lots of recipes in the book that look great. The book has recipes for most major holidays, and at least one other food blogger has already written about the great food in this book.

Now, here's how to make this yummy stuffing, most certainly only the first of many recipes I'll be trying from this book. The complete recipe, plus a few suggestions for my changes is after the step-by-step photos.

I don't like soggy stuffing, so I toasted my bread for about 25 minutes to be sure it would stay a tiny bit crisp. This is a personal preference, so skip this step if you want.

Be sure to use turkey Italian Sausage if you're a South Beach Dieter. I browned my sausage very well for more flavor.

Chop onions and celery into same-size pieces. I made them on the small side, but again this is a personal preference.

Cut up one Bosc pear into small pieces. You could use other types of pears or even an apple here too.

The recipe called for fresh sage, and I still had some in my garden, but dried sage (called rubbed sage) would be fine here too. I couldn't resist adding a bit of Penzeys poultry seasoning to get a hint of thyme as well as the sage. Again, this is a personal preference.

After sausage is removed from the pan, celery and onions are sauteed, then the chopped pear, sage, and poultry seasoning are added and cooked a little.

Mix all ingredients together well. Don't be afraid to add a bit more chicken broth if the mixture seems too dry to you. I like my stuffing about half moist and half dry if that makes sense.

Bake the stuffing at 350 F for about 40 minutes. I covered mine for the first 20 minutes, then removed the foil for the last half of the cooking time.

South Beach Diet Friendly Whole Wheat Stuffing with Sage, Italian Sausage, and Pear
(Makes 10-12 cups, recipe from The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook with minor adaptations by Kalyn)

1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling dish
4 cups 100% whole wheat bread, cut into cubes
1 pkg. sweet Turkey Italian Sausage (recipe called for one pound, but I used all 5 links, slightly over a pound)
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (can be canned, recipe called for 1/2 cup)
4 stalks celery, chopped small
1 medium onion, chopped small
(use more or less onion and celery as you prefer)
1 Bosc pear, chopped small (I left the skin on)
1 T chopped fresh sage (I used more, for dried rubbed sage I would still use 1 T)
1 T poultry seasoning, or less (optional, I used Penzeys)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (do not use dried parsley)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut bread into cubes, place on large cookie sheet, and toast about 25 minutes, or until barely starting to crisp. (This step is optional if you like a softer stuffing.)

While bread toasts, saute turkey sausage in 1 tsp. of olive oil, until well browned. Don't rush this step. Chop onions, celery, pears, sage, and parsley while turkey sausage browns.

Remove sausage from pan and place in large bowl. Add 2 T of chicken broth to frying pan and scrape up browned sausage bits. Then add remaining 2 tsp. olive oil , celery, and onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add pear, sage, and poultry seasoning and cook a few minutes more.

Put toasted bread into bowl with sausage and combine. Then add sauteed vegetable-pear-sage mixture and remaining chicken broth, egg, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Spread stuffing evenly in lightly oiled 9" by 13" baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake about 20 minutes more, or until top is starting to crisp. Serve hot, with turkey and gravy of course!

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More to Chew On:


  1. Totally amazing, I don't know how you find the skill to make something that looks so professional and then post it all up!!

  2. This post was getting really long, but here's how the cookbook give-away will work. Everyone who leaves a comment and mentions what they think is the fourth most essential Thanksgiving dinner food (after turkey, stuffing, and gravy) will be entered in the drawing. When I see the comment, I'll write that name on a list. Then I'll cut the list into strips and draw one out. To me that seems like a fair system, and easy for me to do. Good luck everyone. This is a great book even if you're not a dieter!

  3. Oh that's an easy one! The fourth most essential dish at Thanksgiving is green bean casserole!

  4. The fourth most essential food for Thanksgiving dinner is the candied yams for sure! Horrible isn't it. We as Americans aren't satisfied with one form of potatoes (mashed) but we have to add a second (candied).

  5. Oh, I can't imagine that turkey without cranberries! An absolute must!
    This dressing looks magnific!!! Your are a wonder.

  6. I can't have Thanksgiving without my dad's homemade potato rolls, they are the best!

  7. pumpkin pie. Hopefully there will be a southbeach friendly version.

  8. very clever, i bet it's just as delish if not better w/ the whole wheat!! yum!

  9. Good luck everyone. I guess Rav and I were cross posting, but I'll enter everyone who leaves a comment of any kind, and then if they don't claim the prize it can go to the next person.

    Veron, there's a South Beach Friendly pumpkin pie in the book. If I can find whole wheat filo dough I'm going to try making it, but I'm not a great baker so I can't promise I'll post about it.

  10. definitely my grandma's homemade rolls (totally not south beach friendly!!). Your stuffing looks divine--stuffing is far and away my favorite part of a holiday meal.

  11. I was going to say pumpkin pie, but someone took it already. So I've have to say mashed potato. All creamy and smooth and yummy, with lots of gravy on.
    (I'll mention now that I'm from the UK so I don't know if I'm eligable for the comp. However, I could arrange to nominate a US address for it to go to if you don't want to post internationally!)

  12. I love the idea of including pears in stuffing. Recently we've given up making traditional Thanksgiving dinners. Last year we did tapas, the year before Italian....but always, there is stuffing!

  13. Kaylyn, I have been enjoying your blog since I started my own foodie blog in July. You have such great food here!!! I am excited about the cookbook... I am such a sucker for collecting cookbooks. LOL

    I would have to say that the fourth most essential Thanksgiving food would have to be potatoes of some kind. In recent years it has been sweet potatoes with a bit of butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans for us because we are watching the sugar. I have to admit, though, that there is just nothing better than a nice chunky mashed potato to go with that turkey and gravy.

    So, I say POTATOES!!!

  14. Kalyn, sorry I added the extra y by mistake... Please forgive my mistake??? :)

  15. Ummm . . .I was going to say pumpkin pie and green bean casserole, but since other people already took them, I have to say that we always have pecan pie (No way that that is South Beach friendly) and creamed spinach.

  16. Greatest is Chocolate Pudding Pie w/ Graham Cracker Crust and Whipped Cream!

  17. Sausage and pears? Ohhh! I like the sound of this recipe!


  18. My 4th most important dish has already been taken, but it's so good, I'll repeat it (with a twist): sweet potato casserole, with candied pecans on top. Not exactly diet-friendly, but oh so pleasing to the tastebuds! Thanks for your better-for-you options for those of us who overindulge during the holidays.

  19. My mother's green bean casserole that is made with sour cream, garlic and grated cheddar cheese, then baked for about 30 mins. So good, and so not South Beach, sigh.

  20. Your stuffing recipe looks fantastic. Luckily for me, I can get whole wheat, organic, locally made herbed croutons here in my neighborhood.
    As for what is the 4th most essential T-giving dinner food? Of course, it's my mother's molded green jello salad, or "mouldy salad" as we kids called it. I've low-carbed it as much as I can beginning with sugar-free gelatin. It's made with lime jello, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, canned milk, pineapple and walnuts. So mid-west and so delicious! Our family would think something was wrong if it wasn't on the Thanksgiving table!

  21. Thanksgiving is not "Thanksgiving" without Cranberry Sauce!!!

  22. My vote is for Cranberry Sauce!!

  23. Hi everyone,
    I'm writing down the entries each night and having fun seeing what people's favorite things are. Leann, absolutely no worries about spelling my name wrong. I'm so used to it.

    Lin, actually your mom's green beans don't sound that bad for South Beach. Sour cream is ok, and with a moderate amount of cheese it's pretty SB friendly!

    Everybody, don't sweat it if your favorite is already taken. You don't have to think of a new item! Just your favorite.

  24. Awesome Kalyn. This looks totally gorgeous and scrumptious. I had an idea for a stuffing but seeing yours I think I will have to change my options and go for this one.

  25. Silly me I forgot to leave my guess. It has to be pumpkin pie. Not sure if there is a SB friendly version but I think Thanksgiving is not the same without pumpkin pie.

  26. The fourth essential Thanksgiving food is definitely the sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and the mini marshmellows on top. I'll say it again-not South Beach Friendly, but oh so yummy!

    Fantastic blog! I'm so excited that I found you and your fantastic recipes!
    Thanks for all you do!

  27. 4th most important dinner food for T'giving? Why, raw cranberry/orange relish...it takes me back to my childhood and my mother's fabulous Thanksgiving meals!

  28. The fourth most essential dish is the biscuits or rolls or croisants -- whatever bread you pick!

  29. I am a weirdo who could actually enjoy Thanksgiving without the turkey or potatoes, so I'm going to give you my 4 essentials. :)

    1: stuffing
    2: rolls (they have to be Rhodes frozen that were rolled in melted butter before setting out to rise)
    3: sweet potato casserole (I make mine without any sugar, just the marshmellows on the top)
    4: pumpkin pie (from Costco or Marie Callendar's)

    PS- I met you at the NEA RA a couple years ago. Robin at JEA told me about your blog. I just LOVE it! Congratulations on your weight loss and your success as a food blogger.

  30. Cranberry Orange relish, of course! My gosh that dressing sounds wonderful. Okay, okay...it's added to the menu. Thanks, Kalyn!

  31. I vote for pumpkin pie too! Also, take away the gravy -- I'd prefer to drown my turkey in cranberry sauce any day.
    Cannot wait to try out your recipes this thanksgiving. Thanks!

  32. My vote goes for cranberry jelly! Mmmm.....good!

  33. My fourth essential dish would have to be sweet potatoes also. Although peas with pearl onions would come in right behind that!

  34. It has to be pumpkin pie, because pumpkin pie is just so special and seasonal. I hated it as a kid, but the older you get the better it tastes!

  35. Here I am hoping to get a copy of that fantastic book! My third week on South Beach, 13 lbs gone..more to go!

    So the 4th best essential Thanksgiving dinner food? SOMETHING NEW! After 364 days between your last Thanksgiving and this one, I for one always hear about something someone else has that I just MUST try. I love having the traditional foods, and trying something new! This year is going to be my Asparagus, w/Pine Nuts and Gargonzola you mentioned! YUM! Hope I win! :)

  36. Updating everyone, there are 30 entries right now. I am writing them down every day. But, there are three anonymous comments. You have to leave at least your first name in the comment (just sign at the end) so I know who it is. Otherwise, how am I going to know which anonymous person it was???

    Anyone who left an anonymous comment hoping to win, please comment again with your name.

    It's fun hearing from a few people I've met, like Jenefr. Hi there! Thanks for the nice words.

  37. Oh yummy. I was looking for a whole wheat stuffing recipe and came across your blog.

    Green bean bake is the 4th most essential side dish.

  38. My mom is so digging this recipe for Thanksgiving which means I get to enjoy it, too - woo hoo!

    Fourth essential:
    My dad would say sweet potato casserole.
    My mom would say cranberry sauce with orange zest and ginger.
    My brother would say potato rolls with lots of butter.
    My husband would say apple pie.
    And I'd say grazing off all of my family's favorites. )

  39. I think the 4th Thanksgiving food would be the pumpkin pie!

  40. Thanks to everyone who entered to win the cookbook. If I can get the publisher to give me some more books, I'll definitely do it again.

    here is the announcement of who won if you missed it.

  41. Cranberrys! Kinda like fruit cake-you either hate it or love it.
    Absolutely love your site. Am not a blogger, just recently figured out what that means. Am inspired by your food & links. Hopeing to start South Beach diet next monday. Afraid it will be hard. I love to bake!

  42. Kathyfoh, I love the idea of using cranberries in this! Good luck on South Beach. It wasn't that hard for me compared to other diets I tried, but I'm not a big sweets eater or baker. When you get to phase two there are some baking options with white whole wheat flour. I keep meaning to experiment more with SB friendly baking, but as I said I'm not much of a baker.

  43. My father in law is a diabetic and this will be the first year that we will have to cook a special thanksgiving meal according to his specifications. I am so appreciative of the suggestions and especially this stuffing recipe. He constantly feels deprived of things when the rest of the family gets to eat it and he doesn't. Now that my husband and I are SBDers, He's going to have a feast that everyone can equally enjoy- thanks to you and your wonderful site. Thanks again, Kalyn!

  44. The fourth most essential dish for thanksgiving... it is a toss up between the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. So, I have to go with pumpking pie. That being said, my preference is for Pecan Pie. I have been living in France for almost 4 years, and this will mark my 4th french Thanksgiving celebration. I have had to learn how to make a lot of things without convenient products such as pumpkin puree... not big here. After cooking and puree-ing a pumpkin myself the first year, I found frozen pumpkin puree. Now, if I could only find a nice low sugar or sugar free pecan pie! Everyone I have introduced pecan pit to, LOVES it! That being said, if you were to have thanksgiving dinner with my family in Oklahoma, you would have to have Fried rice and wontons, homemade chicken & noodles, three layer dessert, and angel food cake... in addition to the traditional foods. We go all out. America is the great melting pot and we exploit it to its fullest potential on thanksgiving!

  45. OMGosh this dressing looks wonderful. I so enjoyed reading about the food blog commenting. I once had a food blog but couldn't keep up with it and my regular blog too. The fourth essential to our Thanksgiving dinner is Pumpkin Pie. I can't use Splenda, or any artificial sweetener for that matter, so this is going to be a challenge.

  46. Mash pototos to go with that gravy of course!

  47. I think the fourth most important Thanksgiving food is pumpkin pie. Thanks for sharing the great recipes!

  48. OOOH! Sounds luscious. And, since I make my stuffing "Italian Style"....with sausage and raisins...this might really do the trick. Being a new LapBander myself and trying to stay within eating guidelines, I check your site often! Although I never said HELLO. So, HELLO!!! I guess I like contests! (and food!) Great Site! Visit my blog (although it's not nearly as informative as yours!) if you get a chance!

  49. Pumpkin pie. Absolutely. With real whipped cream.

    Although cranberry sauce....hmm....

    Green bean casserole is wayyyy down the list for me 'cause we always had creamed peas with pearl onions. I'd never even heard of g.b. casserole until I got married...

    Btw, I just discovered this blog this afternoon. Some yummy-looking recipes I can't wait to try!

  50. Kalyn, Thank you for the great SBD ideas. I'd have to say an essential Thanksgiving item would be cranberries!

  51. The fourth most essential Thanksgiving food item is cranberry -anything....sauce, relish, salad! The savory of the other items needs the sweet/tart cranberry as a complement! No Thanksgiving is complete without it! -Marsha Laird

  52. The Italian Sausage stuffing sounds great. Pumpkin pie is my essential T-Day food. I made the SB version yesterday, and it was SUPURB! It is even better today. Flavors must have mellowed out overnight. 55 lbs. lost on SB for me, and still going strong! Thanks,Dawn

  53. Thanks to Jan, a sharp-eyed reader who noticed I left out the egg and parsley in the mixing instructions for this stuffing! I have edited the post to add those ingredients. Apparently most of you figured it out, but I do apologize for the omission.

  54. I made this stuffing for my Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit! I used a stuffing bag and put as much of the recipe into the turkey as I could, and put the rest in a casserole dish. It was absolutely delicious! I will definitely make it again. I found your website in a search for a stuffing recipe. Thanks so much!

  55. Thanks, Kalyn! You are a culinary wizard. I just discovered your recipes, but I have to give you a huge shout out! Wishing you a great day...

  56. The fourth most essential Thanksgiving food for my family is Lasagna. Yes we always serve an additional non turkey entre at Thanksgiving.

  57. Thanks Debbie. The contest was in 2006 so I posted your comment without the e-mail address. I do recommend this cookbook though!

  58. The most important food for Thanksgiving besides turkey stuffing and gravy for me is the squash. From a lot of information that I have come across pumpkin (a type of squash) was served at the "First Thanksgiving" but not pumpkin pies as the pilgrims did not have much sugar, and no ovens in which to bake.
    Here is an interesting article I came across with a journal entry from 1621 and a sample of what may have been on the menu for the first Thanksgiving. Happy reading. Laura
    The Pilgrims' Menu
    Foods That May Have Been on the Menu

    Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster
    Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles
    Meat: Venison, Seal
    Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn
    Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots
    Fruit: Plums, Grapes
    Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns
    Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips
    What Was Not on the Menu

    Surprisingly, the following foods, all considered staples of the modern Thanksgiving meal, didn't appear on the pilgrims's first feast table:

    Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England.
    Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.
    Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.
    Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time.
    Pumpkin Pie: It's not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.
    Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it's unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.
    Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it's possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.

    Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation.
    First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:

    "Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

    Happy Thanksgiving to you Kalyn.

  59. Haha! I just noticed the contest was for 2 years ago!! Happy Thanksgiving anyway and enjoy the trivia. 8)

  60. Laura, interesting information. And not to worry, plenty of other people have left comments without noticing that the contest was over!

  61. The fourth most essential dish at Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce!

    I just discovered this site today after searching for the South Beach stuffing recipe all week (which my husband made last year for Thanksgiving) and was ready to give up. What a keeper--Thanks!

  62. It's a tie for me between cranberry sauce (either the raw kind made with oranges or the cooked kind) and pumpkin pie. Since cranberries are only available such a short time and always become available right before Thanksgiving, I think I'm leaning toward cranberries.

    Last year I made the most amazing (AMAAAZING!) cranberry sauce with orange juice, cardamom and port. Oooh La la! decadent and yummy. So hope I can find that recipe before the day is out!

  63. I am not real good when it comes to figuring out measurements of stuff like 4 cups of bread cubes. Can you tell me about how many slices of bread it would take to achieve this amount? Sure would help. Don't want to over/under buy. I try not to keep much bread in the house. Thanks so much!

  64. In the recipe for Whole Wheat Stuffing "Muffins" I measured that 8-9 slices bread was about 5 cups of bread cubes, but it will depend on the bread you're using.

  65. I just added this weblog to my feed reader, excellent stuff. Can not get enough!

  66. Cranberry sauce is number 4, and not the canned stuff. Get out the food processor or grinder, package of fresh cranberries, sweetener to taste, and a whole orange, peel and all. Zap. Done.

  67. I think I'm going to try this with Ezekiel Sprouted grain bread. I'm so excited to have found your site!


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