Thanksgiving Stuffing Throwdown
As a child, I never got very excited about Thanksgiving. I come from a large family, so we usually did it potluck style and everyone brought a dish. Stuffing was often from a box or just a simple recipe without much flavor. I often skipped it and opted for more mashed potatoes (my favorite!).
Then, one year my sister was in charge of the stuffing and made the most delicious roasted brussel sprout and sausage stuffing. Some family members mourned the loss of the boxed stuffing, but for me, it was the first time I was actually tempted to eat stuffing! After that experience, I realized that I actually like stuffing, just not the boxed stuff.
So this year Michelle and I decided to go on a quest to create the best stuffing. We looked all over for ideas and came up with a bunch of new recipes that we brought into the office for taste testing. Some failed, like our butternut squash stuffing. But at the end of the day, we had four recipes that beat out the rest. It basically came down to what people preferred: sweet, spicy, savory, or simple.
We did decide on a winner, but since the other three stuffings were also popular, we included links to their recipes down below. So here they are:
- Sweet-’n-savory Stuffing (Winner!)
- Bacon Jalapeño Stuffing
- Sausage Kale Fennel Stuffing
- Simple Stuffing
While some taste testers were passionate about a few of the other stuffings, they still voted Sweet-’n-savory Stuffing as their first or second pick. Filled with bacon, pine nuts, leeks, and apples, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory, so you really can’t go wrong! If I was going to make a stuffing dish for Thanksgiving, this would be the one.
Now, if I was going to a friendsgiving with a bunch of foodies, I’d probably go with the Sausage Kale Fennel Stuffing. This one was the most surprising to the taste testers and super popular. It’s a bit unusual, but super delicious, so if you have more open-minded friends and family members who really like the heat, then this stuffing is the way to go.
For the Bacon Jalapeño Stuffing, we only added one jalapeño, so it wasn’t too spicy. (Michelle likes to make hers with three jalapeños for extra heat!) This one’s a great recipe if you want to switch things up. Plus, it tastes even better in leftovers! We threw it in frittatas and breakfast waffles, and it was amazing.
Lastly, some taste testers were adamant that basic is best. And our Simple Stuffing is just what you would expect in a stuffing—onions, celery, and fresh herbs all sauteed in butter to bring out that classic stuffing flavor. This recipe is a great option for traditionalists or those looking for a vegetarian stuffing.
So, which stuffing will you make?
Megan Ostler MS, RDN