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:
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!
© 2010 by Dana Carpender. Used by permission of the author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.