14 Healthy Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes

Stuffing is the sleeper hit of the Thanksgiving meal. It doesn’t get the glory of the turkey or the oohs and ahhs of a spectacular dessert, but it's always there - warm, comforting, nostalgic, and often indulgent side dish.

Some people may choose to avoid this side dish altogether, as many stuffing recipes are rich in saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. While others may be satisfied in savoring a small portion of the real deal.

For those who eat gluten-free diets, gluten-free stuffing recipes are a must. Wherever your dietary needs and wants reside, there is good news; healthier stuffing recipes are available. We have lined up 14 recipes which include vegetarian, gluten free, and vegetable rich recipes.

Vegetarian Stuffing Cups 

vegetarian stuffing cups
Dana Angelo White

When you’re a stuffing lover, it’s all too easy to dish up a monument of bread cubes as big as Plymouth Rock. Prep for portion control by making these vegetarian stuffing cups from Verywell Fit in muffin tins. These right-sized individual cups use low-sodium vegetable broth to scale back on salt and a modest quarter cup of butter for reduced calories. Plus, a secret ingredient (pumpkin!) binds together whole grain bread cubes, onion, and celery. Pumpkin also amps up the nutrition profile by providing fiber, beta carotene, and vitamin C.

Vegetarian 'Sausage' Stuffing

Vegetarian Sausage Stuffing
Dietitian Debbie Dishes

Vegetarian sausage isn’t a contradiction in terms! (Not when you’re using a plant-based sausage, anyway.) Purchased meatless apple sage sausages lend their savory flavor to this veggie-packed stuffing from Dietitian Debbie Dishes. Choose whole wheat bread chunks (instead of white bread) to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Sweet Potato Unstuffing

Sweet Potato Unstuffing
The Real Food Dietitians

Ready for a recipe that thinks way outside the box (and the bird)? Instead of a bread base, this “unstuffing” recipe from The Real Food Dietitians uses vegetables like sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.

The result is a savory mixture with plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients. A heart-healthy avocado oil also stands in for butter. This one’s perfect for guests on a gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, or Whole30 diet.

Cornbread Stuffing With Ancho Chile and Chorizo

Cornbread Stuffing with Ancho Chile
The Spruce Eats / Robin Grose

Spice up your Thanksgiving by adding ancho chile to the mix in this cornbread stuffing from The Spruce Eats. The bell peppers provide plenty of immune-boosting vitamin C. Try this one alongside a spice-rubbed turkey or Mexican-themed sweet potato dish.

Don’t have the Mexican herb epazote this recipe calls for? Substitute fresh cilantro. 

Vegan Stuffing

The Best Vegan Stuffing
Delish Knowledge

If you or your guests are vegan, your meatless main dish of tofurkey or field roast deserves a delicious meatless stuffing to go with it. Thanks to this vegan stuffing recipe from Delish Knowledge, you’ll make a DIY tempeh sausage for meaty texture. Veggies and herbs round out the completely plant-based side dish. 

Wild Rice Stuffing

Wild Rice Stuffing
Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

An all-rice stuffing can end up overly dense and starchy. In this wild rice stuffing recipe from Simply Recipes, wild rice and bread croutons combine forces for a novel twist that’s not too heavy—and is pretty to look at, too!

In fact, it’s the color in wild rice that gives it some of its health benefits. Studies have shown that the pigmented phenolic compounds in this type of rice are responsible for some of its antioxidant activity.

Healthy Holiday Stuffing

Healthy Holiday Stuffing
Abbey's Kitchen

These days, there have never been more varieties of breads—including the bean-based rustic loaf in this holiday stuffing recipe from Abbey's Kitchen. Using a bread made with a blend of lentils, chickpeas, and peas helps this recipe provide a nice dose of plant-based protein.. Dried cherries add a pop of color and tartness, while mushrooms, celery, and herbs keep this recipe feeling familiar.

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Rice Stuffing

Gluten free vegetarian rice stuffing
The Spruce

Gluten-free guests will give thanks for this stuffing from The Spruce Eats that uses rice instead of bread. In spite of this change, this recipe sticks to traditional flavors, with mushrooms, celery, and poultry seasoning in the mix. All told, the prep takes 50 minutes—but quick-cooking rice will make it go even faster. 

Breadless Stuffing

Breadless Stuffing
The Organic Dietitian

Get on the ancient grain train with this easy barley and spelt stuffing from The Organic Dietitian. Barley is high in fiber, magnesium, and selenium. Research shows it may enhance the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Spelt also contains plenty of fiber and nutrients like manganese and zinc.

Leftovers of this unique stuffing make a tasty next-day grain bowl or cold grain salad.

Lentil Walnut Stuffing

lentil walnut stuffing
Kelly Jones Nutrition

Up your intake of healthy ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) omega-3 fatty acids with the two cups of walnuts in this healthy lentil walnut stuffing recipe from Kelly Jones Nutrition. Toasted nuts and cooked green lentils mix in the food processor to create a faux “meat” seasoned with herbs. The mixture then gets added to whole grain bread and veggies and baked in the oven.

Apple, Leek, and Mushroom Stuffing

Apple, Leek, and Mushroom Stuffing
The Domestic Dietitian

Calling all mushroom fans! Two whole pounds of baby portabellas get the ball rolling here, sautéed with apples and leeks, in this tasty stuffing from The Domestic Dietitian.

Mushrooms are considered the only high vitamin D plant foods, with one serving of portabellas providing 120% of your daily value. They’re also high in the antioxidant selenium, which supports reproductive, immune, and thyroid function.

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing Recipe
 The Spruce

Stuffing may typically be made with bread, but there’s no reason other grains can’t join the party, too. In this unusual take on the traditional side from The Spruce Eats, quinoa joins bread cubes for added protein, magnesium, fiber, and calcium. One serving provides 8 grams of protein and only 221 calories. Just be mindful that, since this recipe contains bread, it is not gluten-free.

Whole Grain Stuffing

The Best Whole Grain Stuffing
Cait's Plate

Think cinnamon is just for dessert? Think again. This whole grain stuffing recipe from Cait's Plate uses a full teaspoon of cinnamon for aroma and warmth—a perfect complement to the diced apple and apple sausage that mingle in the dish. Plus, whole grain bread ensures you'll get some fiber alongside the turkey and gravy. 

Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing

Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing
The Foodie Dietitian

On a busy holiday, it’s likely you have a thousand things on your (metaphorical) plate. Let the slow cooker tackle one of your many to-dos in this mushroom stuffing recipe from The Foodie Dietitian! With just a few minutes of prep, you can get stuffing ingredients like celery, mushrooms, herbs, and bread cubes into the Crock Pot, where they’ll simmer for three to four hours. When it’s time for dinner, simply stir and serve. The other bonus: this recipe feeds a crowd at 12 servings.

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