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Easy Recipes for Healthy Low Fat Dressing

Updated on February 5, 2013

How and Why to Make Your Stuffing Healthy

My Mother always warned me that stuffing cooked inside the cavity of the turkey or chicken is unhealthy. The stuffing can be dangerous when cooking directions and preparation steps are not followed to the letter. The internal temperature for a roasted chicken or oven cooked turkey and its stuffing must reach 165 degrees. You must take the temperature of the poultry as well as the center of the stuffing with a thermometer to ensure that is cooked to 165 degrees. The best way to insure that you are serving a safe and healthy stuffing is to cook the stuffing separately from the chicken or turkey. Thanksgiving meals and dressing recipe can be safe for all by following these simple tips.

By avoiding the cooking of dressing inside the turkey you avoid the chance of aquiring a food borne illness like salmonilla. This is only one way that cooking outside of the bird helps to keep you healthy. Cooking stuffing in a pan outside of the bird allows you to control the fat content of the stuffing recipe. This can help you contol the calories and keep a stuffing recipe heart healthy. Many low fat recipes for stuffing are available. Cooking stuffing outside the bird, prevents the recipe from absorbing fat-laden drippings.

Stuffing, like a traditional Thanksgiving recipe, gets a bad wrap as a side dish because people consider it a fattening dish. Also, when one thinks of stuffing one also thinks of all the other food that is served along side of it: gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls with butter, candied yams and dessert like pecan pie. All those dishes add up to a lot of fat and calories being consumed in one sitting. While watching your weight, you can modify your recipes and create more healthful low-fat options. Stuffing can be a healthy option as a side dish. According to an online article in TIME by Janice M. Horowitz called "Stuffing Yourself Healthy" new research shows that bread crust from baked bread may have a cancer deterring antioxidant. It is called called pronyl-lysine.When making dressing use a healthful whole wheat bread or whole grain bread.

Because the main ingredient in stuffing is bread, stuffing lends itself nicely to the addition of many different ingredients. The possibilities are endless when cooking a stuffing as a side dish. Try stuffing with wild rice, dried fruits or nuts, fresh apples or figs, fresh herbs and use broth or apple sauce instead of butter to add flavor and the reduce fat content. Here are some unique low-fat and healthy stuffing recipe suggestions. Use them at Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays or just as a great side dish for your dinner time meals.

Fresh Sage
Fresh Sage | Source

Low Fat Low Sodium Sausage Stuffing/Dressing

This low fat bread dressing recipe makes a perfect addition your holiday table.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

  • 4 ounces chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb. day-old cubed whole grain bread
  • 1 14 oz. can fat free/low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten


Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook sausage meat until browned, breaking it into chunks with a spatula. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 tsp canola oil to skillet. Add onion, celery and mushrooms, and sauté until tender. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes with cooked sausage, vegetable mixture, herbs and pepper. Whisk together broth and egg, and pour over stuffing mixture. Toss well to coat.

Spoon stuffing into 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until browned.

Makes 12 servings

Per Serving: Calories 134, Calories from Fat 24, Total Fat 2.7g (sat 0.6g), Cholesterol 23mg, Sodium 341mg, Carbohydrate 21.8g, Fiber 1.6g, Protein 6.5g

The History of Stuffing or Dressing

The earliest records of stuffing and dressing come from a Roman cookbook. Stuffing ingredients consisting of grain, organ meats, vegetables, herbs and nuts were used to stuff chicken, pig and hare. The term farce is the term used for stuffing during the middle ages. The word farce comes from the Latin, farcir which means to stuff.

A farce is also a small play performed to keep audiences entertained at larger productions and ceremonies. By the 1500's the term stuffing was common place for a recipe used to stuff a meat. The Victorians disliked this word and referred to stuffing as dressing. Dressing is still used today as an alternate word for stuffing, however, when performing an Internet search using the word dressing, often recipes for sauces and salad dressings come up. So, it is that the term stuffing takes precedent over the term dressing for a bread based recipe used to fill a meat dish.

When baking your low fat dressing, it is preferrable to use a glass baking tray or a ceramic one. You will avoid a metallic or tinny taste by using a glass tray or ceramic cooking vessel. Glass or ceramic cooking dishes with lids will keep your stuffing moist and are an easy way to store the left overs.

Hazelnuts and Pear
Hazelnuts and Pear | Source

Hazelnut and Pear Low Fat Stuffing/Dressing

2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

3/4 c. chopped red bell pepper

2 1/4 c. cubed French bread or cubed whole grain bread

2 tsp. brown sugar

3/4 tsp. poultry seasoning

3/4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth divided

3 tbsp. hazelnuts

3 c. peeled, cored, diced pear (about 3 pears)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once. Remove nuts from oven and turn them out onto a towel. Roll up the towel and rub off the skins of the hazelnuts. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the pear and sprinkle with sugar. Cook for 15 minutes or until very brown, stirring often. Add 1/2 cup broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until pear is tender and liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add bell pepper, onions, poultry seasoning and garlic and cook 3 more minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/4 cup broth, nuts, bread cubes, salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Spoon the dressing into a 1-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

The recipe yields 8 servings with just 2.5 grams of fat per serving.

1 cup of this stuffing = 75 calories.


Low Fat Cornbread Stuffing



1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 package, 10 oz. frozen corn, thawed and drained


2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell pepper
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Corn Bread: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Stir in milk, egg whites, melted butter and corn kernals. Pour into prepared glass bakin dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and cut into cubes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Spread corn bread on jelly-roll pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring once.

Spray a 13x9-inch glass baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Stuffing: Combine onions, celery, diced bell pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth in Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Add spinach and cover and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cubed corn bread, remaining 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, the fennel seed, salt, the black pepper and red pepper.

Spoon stuffing mixture into prepared pan; cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

Try baking these in the recommended cast iron corn pans (see above) for individual servings that make a great presentation. Reduce cooking time by fifteen minutes covered and 5 minutes uncovered.

203 calories, 3 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein per serving. This recipe is low in fat.

Holiday Recipes


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    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Thanks p.p.

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Some great suffing ideas here! I'm a big fan of stuffing with my turkey, and I'm sure I'll use some of these recepies this christmas!


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