Call it stuffing, or call it dressing, it’s just not a holiday turkey without it! For me, stuffing is an essential part of holiday dinners. Indeed, I used to have what I like to call an “indulgence” (a term I prefer to “cheat”) on holidays largely so I could have stuffing! Since then, however, I’ve learned to cut back on the carb count of my turkey stuffing. Here are some ideas:
- Use low carb bread, “light” bread, or a bread with added fiber. It’s pretty easy to find bread with a usable carb count of 6 grams or less per slice. That’s roughly half the usable carb count of the average slice of commercial white bread — and the extra fiber will gentle the blood sugar impact, to boot. My favorite low carb bread is from Natural Ovens of Manitowoc; I’ll be ordering several loaves in time for the holidays.
- As a Yankee, I’m used to stuffing made from wheat bread, but if your roots lie in the South, you’ve likely grown up on cornbread stuffing. You’ll need to make your own cornbread if you want to keep the carbs reasonably low. Here’s a recipe for a good Southern-style cornbread:
Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread
- 1 cup whole grain cornmeal
- 1 cup almond meal, homemade
- 6 tablespoons flax seed meal
- 6 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
Preheat your oven to 425. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat at the same time.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, almond meal, flax seed meal, vanilla whey protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix these dry ingredients together until everything is evenly distributed.
Measure your buttermilk, break the eggs into it, and whisk the two together, but do not pour them into your dry ingredients yet!
When the oven and the skillet are up to temperature, pour the buttermilk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and whisk until everything is wet.
CAREFULLY remove that smoking-hot skillet from the oven. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray, and throw the butter in the bottom, quickly sloshing it around the bottom of the skillet. Pour in your batter, and put the skillet back in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving with butter and/or low sugar preserves.
12 servings, each with: 202 Calories; 9g Fat; 12g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 43mg Cholesterol; 554mg Sodium.
(Reprinted by permission from The Every Calorie Counts Cookbook by Dana Carpender, 2006 Fair Winds Press)
I have been known to bake this batter in a cast-iron cornstick mold for a festive holiday quick bread. Wonderful.
* I have had very low carb stuffing that was remarkably like cornbread stuffing, made from – of all things – crushed pork rinds. The recipe comes from my ertswhile friend Trish Z. who very kindly let me use it in 500 More! Low-Carb Recipes. Here it is!
Pork Rind Stuffing
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- salt and pepper, to taste
- poultry seasoning, to taste
- 1 packet splenda or other sweetener
- 1/4 stick butter
- 1/4 cup cream
- 3 1/2 ounces chicken broth (about 1/4 can)
- 10 ounces pork rinds, crushed a bit
- 4 eggs
Saute celery, onions, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, sweetener, and butter in a frying pan, until transparent and tender. Add other ingredients and mix together until the pork rinds are coated and moist. Put into baking dish and bake for 35 to 50 minutes until set like regular bread stuffing. Feel free to add more eggs or cream to get to texture you are used to. Some people also add mushroom, sage, sausage or oysters.
Assuming 8 servings, each will have: 276 Calories; 18g Fat; 25g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber.
You can also dilute the carbs in your stuffing by adding lower carb ingredients. Like this:
- Increase the ratio of vegetables to bread. Much of the flavor of stuffing comes from the celery and onions, both of which are considerably lower carb than even the lowest carb bread.
- Add sliced, sauteed mushrooms. They add a delectable flavor, and are very low in carbohydrate — 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, before cooking, contains only 2.3 grams of carbohydrate, with 0.8 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of just 1.5 grams. A couple of cups of mushrooms will bulk up the volume and pump up the flavor, while cutting the carb count per serving!
- Nuts add a wonderful flavor and crunch to dressing, and they’re quite healthful. Walnuts or pecans would be my choice, but almonds would be good, too. 1 cup of chopped walnuts contains 16 grams of carbohydrate, with 7.8 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 8.2 grams. 1 cup of pecans has 15 grams of carbohydrate, with 10.5 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of just 4.5 grams. And 1 cup of slivered almonds contains 21 grams of carbohydrate, with 12.7 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 8.3 grams. If you add nuts to your stuffing, saute them a bit of butter first, until they smell toasty, to bring out their flavor and increase their crispness.
- My mom always put cooked, crumbled pork sausage in her stuffing. It tastes wonderful, and of course it’s very low carb. My sister makes her dressing with as much sausage as bread!
- Less traditionally, you can make a great dressing with no bread at all. Try this quick-and-simple skillet recipe:
Apple Walnut Dressing
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 crisp, tart apple
- 2 large stalks celery
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup shelled walnuts
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or Vege-Sal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Start the butter melting in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
Quarter the apple and trim out the core, whack each quarter into two pieces (making eighths), and drop them in your food processor with the S-blade in place. Whack each stalk of celery into 4-5 big chunks, and throw them in, too. Quarter the onion, peel, and throw it in, and then dump in the walnuts. Pulse the food processor until everything’s a medium consistency.
Dump this mixture, along with the mushrooms, into the butter in the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and saute everything for a minute or two, stirring. Then cover it, and let it cook for 10 minutes, uncovering every 3 minutes or so to stir the whole thing again.
Stir in the salt and poultry seasoning, let it cook for another minute or two, and serve.
6-8 servings. Assuming 6, each will have 9 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 6 grams.
© 2010 by Dana Carpender. Used by permission of the author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.