On Thanksgiving, it’s all about the side dishes, baby.
And while cranberry sauce is my main squeeze, stuffing is a close second.
But like cranberry sauce, most store-bought boxed stuffings are filled with some very very questionable ingredients. Exhibit A:
Ingredients: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ONIONS*, SALT, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, COOKED TURKEY AND TURKEY BROTH, YEAST, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, CELERY*, PARSLEY*, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SPICE, SUGAR, CARAMEL COLOR, MALTODEXTRIN, TURMERIC, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, WITH BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID, AND PROPYL GALLATE AS PRESERVATIVES. *DRIED.
I copied and pasted these ingredients from the company’s website so I’m sorry about the all caps… but I might as well be screaming these ingredients because HOLY MOLEY, THEY’RE AWFUL.
High fructose corn syrup… please don’t even make me go there. Hydrolyzed soy protein, disodium guanylate, and disodium inosinate are all fancy/deceiving names for MSG. BHA and BHT have actually been banned for use in other countries. Partially hydrogenated oils = trans fats = health nightmare. And propyl gallate has been linked to liver and kidney damage.
Luckily, it’s a breeze to make healthy homemade sprouted grain stuffing!
So what’s the deal with sprouted grains?
Oh I’m so glad you asked! First of all, sprouted grains are actually technically vegetables… let’s let that sink in.
This is because sprouted grains are essentially soaked until they begin to sprout — i.e. grow into a little plant! Unlike refined grains which are metabolized very quickly and cause blood sugar levels to spike, sprouted grains take much longer to digest (like a protein), making you feel satiated and full. And unlike whole grains which are tough to digest and can overwork the pancreas, sprouted grains are much more easily digested (like a vegetable). Sprouted grains also contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than regular grains. To boot, the anti-nutrient phytic acid (which binds to minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron and prevents them from being absorbed) and gluten (a protein to which many people are sensitive) naturally found in grains are significantly reduced when grains are sprouted.
So let’s get to it!
Sprouted grain bread is of course the star of this side-dish show. I used the classic Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread from Food For Life (can be found in the freezer section at Whole Goods). The ingredients are as follows: Organic sprouted wheat, filtered water, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic malted barley, organic sprouted lentils, organic sprouted soybeans, organic sprouted spelt, fresh yeast, organic wheat gluten, sea salt. Much different than the above ingredients, huh?
I also added a bunch of other yummy goodies that I happen to like in a stuffing… but this recipe is totally customizable. The bare bones are the bread and stock (and the onion and celery, I’d argue) while everything else is really just a matter of preference.
- 2 cups stock/broth (I used organic vegetable broth)
- 1/2 loaf sprouted grain bread
- 1 white onion
- 3 stalks of celery
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon Real salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Other spices of choice to taste!
Cut the bread into small cubes (about 16 per slice of bread, so cut it 3 times in both directions). Then toast the bread by placing the slices on a baking sheet and baking them at 350° for 5-10 minutes.
While the bread is toasting, dice the onion and celery. Add them to a large pot with the ghee (or your oil of choice) and cook over medium heat until soft.
Add the stock, cranberries, walnuts, and spices. Stir and then add the toasted bread pieces. Stir everything together to moisten the bread. Cover the pot and allow it to sit for a few minutes on low heat, the steam continuing to moisten the bread. (You may wish to add more stock if you prefer a more moist stuffing.)
After the stuffing is to your desired consistency and taste — voilà! There you have it, a healthy homemade sprouted grain stuffing.