Serious Eats: Recipes

Healthy & Delicious: Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Who knew stuffing could be healthy? Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

bug-holiday-turkey-100px.pngThere are certain times in our lives when eating smart, watching our weight, and exercising are the best things we can do for ourselves.

Thanksgiving is not one of those times.

That said, it doesn't hurt to include Turkey Day dishes that are both delicious and incidentally, healthy. Homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts are all pretty solid choices, and a little bit of dark meat never hurt anybody. With some careful planning, you can add stuffing to that list, as well.

This Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing is an adaptation of Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh's popular Food Network recipe. The original version was fairly lean to start out, and with a few tweaks, it came to a highly respectable 209 calories per serving, with around 6 grams of fat and 5.5 grams of fiber. Plus, it's delicious. Curse me for trotting out light cooking clich├ęs, but no one will know it's a lean stuffing.

To healthy up the dish, I swapped sweet Italian turkey sausage in for breakfast sausage, reduced the meat quantity, drastically knocked back the butter, and increased the apple to make up for lost bulk. A Vidalia stood in for leeks, as well, because leeks are roughly a million dollars at my local Key Food. As always, changes are reflected here.

What's extra nice is these kinds of substitutions can be made in a lot of stuffing recipes. Frequently enough, there are so many flavors competing anyway, you never miss the butter and oil. (Note: my dad's stuffing excluded. He is the Paula Deen of Thanksgiving side dishes.) Give it a shot with your favorite, and see what happens.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, and go ahead and have that second piece of pie. It's okay. I promise.

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