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Low carb stuffings for Thanksgiving and Christmas

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How to make stuffing

Stuffing adds an extra interesting element to any meal, but you don't have to save your stuffing for Thanksgiving or Christmas or even for the turkey! Any of the stuffings in this article would also be delicious if used for a roast chicken dinner. We especially love to add fruit and serve with pork steaks or chops, or even roast pork and gravy.
Cranberry walnut stuffing

The facts on stuffing your face

Generally, the amounts in these recipes will stuff a medium- to large-sized turkey for a family gathering. As a general rule of thumb, use a third to half the recipe to stuff a chicken or to roast separately in a pan to serve with pork.

To roast separately, butter a suitably sized baking pan, spoon the mixture in and smooth the top. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes until the top is crispy. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can use one of these recipes to stuff a joint of boneless pork, too!

Stuffing is not generally difficult for low carbers to convert. It's just a question of finding the right kind of ingredient to replace the high carb elements like breadcrumbs, potatoes, biscuits, cornbread, high carb fruit and sugary fruit juices. Here are a few ideas:

  • Almond flour will come to the rescue to stand in for breadcrumbs and other starchy combinations. It will soak up juices and bulk up a stuffing mix in a similar way to breadcrumbs.
  • Fruit juices can generally be replaced with a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice mixed with water.
  • Sausage meat can be substituted with fresh ground pork to avoid the carby fillers often used in sausage-making.
  • An egg can be added to any of these recipes if you like your stuffing to be more solid so it can be served by the slice. Adding an egg also adds extra protein, which low carbers will always welcome.

How to create a low carb stuffing

Basically, it's as easy as throwing all the ingredients into a bowl and stirring them together before stuffing it into either a turkey or a pan before cooking! Some recipes don't even require that you soften an onion in butter to begin, but the flavor will be better if you do. It doesn't even matter if the proportions are not quite as the recipe states or if you add extra herbs, spices or ingredients. It will still turn out delicious. So don't be afraid to improvise a little — you might be pleasantly surprised with your own handiwork!

The art of stuffing a turkey

Stuffing a turkey can be messy, and we do not recommend using your hands because that makes it even worse. Use a large serving spoon as the neatest way of getting the stuffing into the turkey. If you are stuffing a chicken, simply use a smaller spoon.

Pack the stuffing well into the cavity using the back of the spoon to press it in. It's quite surprising how much stuffing you need for larger birds. Afterward, you can tie the bird up with string to help stop the stuffing from coming out during roasting. However, if you prefer you can use an egg in your recipe to help keep it all together. You can skip both the string and the egg if you want, as most of the stuffing will remain in the bird anyway. Even if it does fall out, it just adds flavor to the gravy you can make using the juices from the pan when the turkey is finished cooking.

Of course, it is essential that turkeys and chickens are cooked thoroughly to avoid the possibility of food poisoning. Therefore, it's very important to weigh your turkey after you have stuffed it with your choice of stuffing in order to calculate the cooking time. This will ensure not only that your stuffing is cooked, but also the turkey! You can also use a food thermometer to ensure the temperature of the bird and the stuffing is where it is supposed to be.

Low carb stuffing recipes

Cranberry and walnut stuffing

This recipe is a version of a traditional American recipe. Like many recipes for stuffing, the original recipe contained apples, but as apples are a higher carb fruit, we have substituted cranberries, which have the dual effect of making the stuffing lower carb than the regular recipe and also adding a little extra seasonal color and flavor.

Makes 15 (1/2-cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or defrosted if fresh-frozen) 
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Cook the celery and onion together until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the celery and onion mixture.
  3. Use the mixture to stuff the turkey, weighing the bird before roasting to calculate the correct cooking time. Roast as directed on the package.

Per serving: 7.0g carbs, 2.8g fiber, 18g total fat, 26mg cholesterol, 7g protein, 120mg sodium, 216 calories

Pork, sage and onion stuffing

This is a traditional English recipe. The advantage of this stuffing is that it contains no fruit, is particularly low in carbs, but still has a delicious flavor.

Makes 15 (3/4-cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet or saucepan, fry the onion until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Weigh the turkey after stuffing to calculate the complete roasting time. Roast as directed on the package.

Per serving: 1.8g carbs, 0.6g fiber, 16g total fat, 48mg cholesterol, 11g protein, 123mg sodium, 196 calories

Deborah's apricot and ginger stuffing

If you are in the mood for a lighter, meatless stuffing, then this recipe is definitely one to try. Apricots are lower carb fruits. It goes very well with pork dishes when baked in a pan in the oven and served with the meat separately.

Makes 15 (1/4-cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1-1/2 cups apricots, chopped (fresh or canned in water, drained) 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion, cook for about 5-10 minutes until softened.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well. The mixture should come together and look fairly wet, but if it doesn't, add a few tablespoons of water until it holds together in the pan.
  3. Use the mixture to stuff the turkey. Weigh the stuffed turkey to calculate the complete cooking time. Roast as directed.

Per serving: 5.6g carbs, 2.0g fiber, 9g total fat, 8mg cholesterol, 3g protein, 101mg sodium, 113 calories

More Thanksgiving recipes

Thanksgiving side dishes
Thanksgiving stuffing alternatives
Thanksgiving recipes you can make in advance

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