Stuffing, or dressing as some call it, is perhaps one of my favorite parts of a holiday meal. There are so many delicious flavors and textures going on – it’s hard not to go back for seconds! This apple and chestnut stuffing is basically the best of holidays combined in a single dish.
In this stuffing, the onions, celery, and fresh sage give the dish the savory feel you’d expect (and they smell wonderful when you’re cooking). But then the apple interjects crisp, slightly sweet bites; and chestnuts make it extra special for the occasion. If you’ve only ever made the boxed variety, stuffing from scratch may seem like a challenging dish to prepare; thankfully, this version is easy to pull together. With all the craziness of holiday meals, it’s nice to have at least one low-stress dish up your sleeve.
One of the tricks to a delicious stuffing is to get the bread right. It’s important to select a high quality loaf. This recipe features whole grain bread which is not only healthier, but also makes it extra sturdy (a good thing for baked stuffing). Toasting the bread cubes is a necessary first step. You want to toast the bread until its golden brown on the outside and dry through the center. This way, the bread will soak up the fragrant broth – without getting too soft and mushy. I don’t know about you, but a soggy bread stuffing makes me a bit sad.
A quick note on preparing stuffing: I know there’s the age-old question of whether stuffing should be cooked inside or outside of the bird. My preference is to cook my stuffing on it’s own (rather than inside the bird). This helps to better control the cooking times required for each, and frankly, it eliminates the concern of bacteria. However, if you insist on stuffing your bird, you could most definitely give this recipe a go. It’ll be delicious either way!
Apple and Chestnut Stuffing
This Apple and Chestnut Stuffing is a healthier take on stuffing that's perfect for Thanksgiving!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 6 cups whole-grain bread cubes
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks chopped
- 3 cups coarsely chopped apples about 3 medium apples
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage or thyme
- ½ tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth or chicken broth
- ¾ cup chopped chestnuts roasted, approx. 4 oz.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Lightly coat a 3-quart baking dish with spray. Set aside.
Spread bread evenly on large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for15 minutes, rotating pan half-way through. Set aside.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
Add apples; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until apples are tender-crisp.
Combine onion mixture, bread, sage, salt, pepper, broth, and chestnuts in a large bowl; mix well.
Place stuffing in prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Good baking apple varieties include Jonathan, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Winesap and Braeburn. If you don’t have one of those available, you can use any apple you like.
- Italian or European chestnuts are best for this recipe. You can find whole or pre-shelled and roasted chestnuts in many stores, especially around the holidays. If you use whole chestnuts, they can take some time to peel. Make sure you take off the outer shell as well as the tough brown skin. There are instructions online that can show you how to peel chestnuts.
- The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.