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!