Lightened Up Spring Stuffing

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A couple weeks ago, a reader named Cara emailed me with a recipe request for a vegan spring stuffing. Her complaint with traditional stuffing was that it felt too much like autumn instead of spring; it tends to be heavy, instead of light and fresh.

Cara is onto something here, don’t you think?

I love when I get recipe requests because I feel like I have a mission instead of just aimlessly trying to think up recipe ideas all the time. It’s also fun to be presented with a “problem” and then hopefully making someone happy with the end result.

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I got to work rounding up some of my favourite green spring-time vegetables like asparagus, green onions, and peas. I also picked up some fresh parsley and thyme for flavour. This is turning out to be one green spring stuffing!

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I also recommend using a hearty seed & raisin/cranberry bread (from your grocer’s bakery is fine!). The raisins and cranberries in the bread will add just a hint of sweetness, but it won’t overwhelm the stuffing. The seeds will also add texture and the thick crust will prevent the entire thing from turning to mush. I have no idea how this stuffing would turn out with another type of bread.

When you get home, slice the bread and roughly chop it up (or tear it) into 1 inch chunks. I like to leave my pieces a bit large to add texture to the finished product. Place the bread onto a baking sheet and leave out for 10-12 hours to dry out (I put mine in the oven (turned off) because Sketchie loves to steal bread!)

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The next day we can officially begin. Sauté the olive oil, minced garlic, carrots, and asparagus until they are just tender. Be sure not to overcook it as you want the veggies to retain some crispness in the stuffing.

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Now add in the peas and edamame and cook until heated through. Next, is the part that you do not want to skip – season the vegetables very well! I used a generous amount of Herbamare and ground black pepper. The Herbamare was fantastic in this, so if you can pick some up, I highly recommend it.

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Remove from heat and stir in the bread.

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followed by the fresh and dried herbs.

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Finally, gently stir in 1 cup of vegetable broth. Many stuffing recipes tend to call for 2 cups or more of broth, but I didn’t want this one too heavy and saturated so I just used one cup.

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Transfer it to a greased casserole dish, cover, and bake for 27-30 minutes at 400F.

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Remove the lid and allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes if desired. It stays hot for a loooong time. I went upstairs, did some computer work, and came back 20 minutes later to still find warm stuffing! :)

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What you’ll have is an incredibly light stuffing bursting with spring vegetables. The bread pieces on top remain a bit crusty, while the bread underneath gets really soft, saturated, and doughy.

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Traditional stuffing usually gets a bad reputation for being one of the unhealthiest dishes at your dinner table. Well, now it doesn’t have to be any longer.

It’s actually so healthy, it makes a killer breakfast. I actually made this at 8:30am last week and inhaled a plate for breakfast…just throwing that out there!

IMG 8787   Lightened Up Spring Stuffing

Lightened Up Spring Stuffing

A lightened up stuffing that you can feel good about this spring. Many stuffing recipes tend to call for 2 cups or more broth, but I didn’t want this one too heavy and saturated so I just used one cup. Also, feel free to use frozen peas and edamame like I did. Just be sure to thaw overnight in the fridge and rinse and drain prior to use. I also suggest using a crusty seed & fruit bread from your local grocery or bakery. This type of bread will hold up much better in the recipe, as well as provide a light sweet flavour from the cranberries and raisins.

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Yield: ~5-6 cups (estimate only)

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf crusty seed & cranberry raisin bread, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces (5-6 cups packed)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup peeled & finely chopped carrots
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and finely chopped
  • 1 cup peas (if using frozen, thaw and drain first)
  • 1 cup edamame (if using frozen, thaw and drain first)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 8-9 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Herbamare (or salt) & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup veggie broth or more if desired

 

1. Roughly chop (or tear) bread  into 1 inch chunks. Place the bread onto a baking sheet and in the (turned-off) oven overnight or for about 10-12 hours. This lets the bread firm up and get a bit hard so it retains its shape in the stuffing. If using frozen peas and edamame, place in fridge overnight to thaw. Rinse and drain before use.

2. The next day, preheat oven to 400F and grease a 2.3 L/2.5 qt. casserole dish. Heat a large skillet or wok with 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic, carrots, and asparagus and sauté until just tender, about 8 minutes or so. Season well.

3. Now, add in the (drained) peas, edamame, fresh lemon juice, and green onions and sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and season again with Herbamare & pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

4. Gently, stir in the cup of broth, being careful not to overmix the bread. Transfer to prepared dish, cover, and bake for 28-30 minutes. Carefully remove lid and allow to cool for 5 mins or so before serving.

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Here’s little behind the scenes action for you, using my homemade photography board, diffuser, and props (herbs, burlap, and napkins). I’m also still loving Helene’s book. I highly recommend Plate to Pixel if you are getting serious about food photography. I’m trying to practice a ton in hopes that I will feel comfortable shooting all of my cookbook photography.

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If you are looking for a main dish to serve the stuffing with, I suggest trying the amazing Lentil Walnut Loaf. I’ve also updated my featured recipes in recipage to reflect some of my fav holiday dinner side dishes like balsamic green beans and high protein mashed potatoes.

Coming up, a mini & portable chocolate peanut butter dessert that will blow ya mind.

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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen April 2, 2012

yum…looks delicious, Ange!

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Emily @ LivingLongfellow April 2, 2012

You’re right, that would make a wonderful breakfast. I may try to assemble this for a mother’s day brunch.

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Kale Crusaders April 2, 2012

Wow, I really thought you had an outdoor patio for those “outdoor picnic table shots.” Impressive!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 2, 2012

Eric will be delighted to hear that!

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Brittany@FloydsKitchen April 2, 2012

I used to hate stuffing…until now! Oh my! Of course only you could change something that I didnt like, into something I need to make asap!

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Zoe@lose weight and gain health April 2, 2012

Your photos today are amazing – especially the first three. I thought I was on ‘Tartlette’ for a minute which is my favourite photography blog.

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Amanda @ Sweet Release April 2, 2012

This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try.

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Deirdre April 2, 2012

This looks so delicious and although it is lightened up, it is still hearty enough to satisfy pre-warm weather. Thanks for sharing your creative genius!

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Moni Meals April 2, 2012

oh my Angela! this is spectacular. I would love to make this tonight! I actually have almost everything I need too. I have a very similiar Spring dish too. I love these Seasons, we are so blessed, are we not? :)

oh and this mini/portable chocolate peanut butter dessert that will blow MY mind…BRING IT!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 2, 2012

heh I will, don’t you worry. Enjoy if you end up making it!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 2, 2012

Yum! This looks SO good. Thanks for the recipe! Nice to see you have your whole setup ready to rock in the new place! Some nice lighting too from the looks of it. I always say ‘had I known I was going to be taking pictures of a billion different recipes by a window, I would have picked a different house’ the lighting in here can be so terrible at times!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 2, 2012

haha yea I know what you mean. The lighting in our old house wasn’t great because of all the trees & shade. Now, it’s the opposite…I can shoot any time of the day here. I always joke to eric that it will be really hard when we go to buy our next house heh

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Aly April 2, 2012

This looks so, so good!! Have you ever prepared stuffed artichokes? They are definitely in season and we love them in this Italian household! You have to try them!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 2, 2012

No I havent but it’s def. on my list! yummm

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Jessica @ Hungrygems April 2, 2012

Hearty, festive, brown and filing are things I think of when I picture stuffing typically- but now perhaps bright, light, green and spring are going to be my new words!

And the photos look great!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 2, 2012

Why didn’t I think about it myself? Awesome idea!

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Magda April 3, 2012

This is awesome! I’m definitely making this soon, but I have one question as I have zero experience in making any kind of stuffing. Will it still be good the next day or will it get all soggy?

BTW, I’m not a native English speaker and it’s always been funny for me that this kind of dish is called stuffing or (even funnier ;)) dressing. For me stuffing is something you use to stuff something else (other than yourself ;)) and dressing is something I add to my salad ;) Newer mind the name though, this one is on my to-make list!

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Life's a Bowl April 3, 2012

This is a great idea! Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving Day treat but I never understood why we don’t make stuffing any other time of the year?! I love adding diced apple/ pear for some sweetness and baking it in muffin tins to get crispy edges :)

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 3, 2012

Fabulous! I love the idea of spring stuffing! It looks so good!!! Great way to get my bread fix while having healthy veggies!!

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Dr Julie George April 3, 2012

I recently started reading your blog and I read it for hours. Thank you for introducing me to new recipes. On my blog site I nominated you for the Liebster Award.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 3, 2012

Thank you so much Julie :)

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Karen Wapinski April 3, 2012

This looks incredibly good; I can’t wait to make this tonight ^_^

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Miranda @ working mom works out April 3, 2012

This looks amazing. I think the sweetness of the bread would be key… I wonder if I can find a suitable gluten-free replacement.

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LizAshlee April 3, 2012

How creative…nice to see something out of the ordinary pop up…you never think about stuffing in the spring..great idea!

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Diane @ Life of Di. April 3, 2012

This looks absolutely delicious! I will have to make it soon – maybe even for Easter (it’ll be my contribution!) :)

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Gena April 4, 2012

Great recipe, Ange!

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Cara April 4, 2012

I’m so excited!! I’m FAMOUS! ;-) Looking forward to making this for Easter dinner with my family. Looks FESTIVE–just what I was looking for!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 4, 2012

So glad you saw this post!!! :) I hope you like it…it’s my first time making anything like this, so hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.

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Meghan @ Making Love In the Kitchen April 5, 2012

Lovely! Good on you for ditchin’ the microwave, it is all around bad news. I always say- why wouldn’t you replace your microwave with a juicer?? It would do you a world of good.

This recipe looks absolutely delish! Thanks for sharing!

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Isabelle April 5, 2012

Hi Angela,
Found out about your blog through this recipe a few days ago. Did this one last night and everyone LOVED it, nothing left in the kiddos plates. Straight in the “Recipe to keep” binder.
Thank you

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

wow, kids love it too? Amazing!

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Isabelle April 8, 2012

oh yeah, my kids love food, all the food: From French (I am French, hubby is British) to chinese, japanese, mexican, indian… spicy or not, vegetables… deserts.. They loved your green monster smoothie the other day, I had not told them what was in it, they had to guess, but drank the lot in 2 min flat! Everything is homemade in our house, next step is to teach them how to cook, which they want to learn too.
The one problem: my older son (he’s 16) won’t touch raw veggies, so no salads, which is very annoying especially in the summer!

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Marian April 5, 2012

Made this today for a lunch potluck. I baked it this morning and it was still warm enough to eat at lunch, and it was a huge hit! I’m a grad student, so I had to take it with me to my morning class and torture myself and others with the amazing smell for 2 hours! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

Aw, I’m SO happy to hear that it was a hit! :)

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Hannah April 5, 2012

What a great idea!! I’ve never tried to make stuffing since going gluten free…but I may just have to try this! Do you think it could hold up with a gluten free brand of bread?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

I’m not sure Hannah, I haven’t really worked with any GF bread before so I’m not sure how it behaves. I would probably try looking online to see if anyone has done it already and it might give you a few ideas as to how it would behave.

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Anna April 5, 2012

This was my first time making stuffing. It was delicious! The next time, I think I’ll put some more veggies and less bread. The veggies were so flavorful on their own (even with dried parsley instead of fresh.) I used a white baguette.

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Susan April 6, 2012

Fantastic combo – I love cranberry raisin bread. Your photography is beautiful and your antiqued prop board turned out great

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

Thank you Susan!

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Natalie April 8, 2012

Wow, this looks absolutely incredible. Stuffing is my absolute favorite Thanksgiving food… it never occured to me to enjoy it all year round. Definitely adding to my must-make list!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2012

hope you enjoy it!

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oceanside orthodontist April 8, 2012

I’ve been looking for a recipe that I can finally try out asparagus with, and this might be it. You even added edamame to the dish. I’ll definitely bookmark this and try it out for this weekend.

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Jenny April 8, 2012

Asparagus in stuffing! What a fantastic idea!

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Jill November 18, 2012

What is the best way to store leftovers? And could you make a day in advance? Looking forward to trying this one out on Thanksgiving!

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Ursula April 3, 2013

I made this stuffing for Easter and it was a hit with both the meat-eaters and vegetarians! Thanks for the idea and I’m looking forward to the cookbook coming becoming available.

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Audrey April 20, 2014

I enjoyed this recipe, however I think there might be different sizes of loafs. Mine had way too much bread and when making it again I would probably use half of amount of bread next time. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes!

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