Best Ever Paleo Stuffing (Dressing)

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in Dinner, grain-free, Paleo, pork, Thanksgiving | 27 comments

Best Ever Paleo Stuffing (Dressing)

Everyone’s got that one Thanksgiving dish, right? The one that has to be on the table. If missing, you get all pouty and you might even sulk, because whoever spent the past four days cooking neglected to take the time to make the dish that you look forward to all year.

The nerve.

For me, it’s stuffing. I don’t even really care what animal is at the center of the table. I’ve never gotten all that excited about squash or sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower for you low-carbers) are always delicious, but it would be a gross exaggeration to say that I get excited about them.

paleo stuffing

My uncle Allan makes the best stuffing. Hands down. The best. I was a bit shocked the first time I attended a Thanksgiving hosted by someone other than my Aunt and Uncle. Their stuffing was different. What the heck.

There are, apparently, a gazillion different takes on stuffing (or dressing, if it’s not actually stuffed inside the bird. I still call it stuffing. I don’t care what Martha says. Dressing goes on salad.) There’s the sourdough variety, I’m sure a popular choice here in my beloved San Francisco. I did for a moment ponder the idea of making a version with a loaf from Bread SRSLY– the best gluten-free sourdough in all the land. I also considered making Allan’s recipe with gluten-free cornbread. That’s what I did last year, and it was incredible. But then I got a message from my friend Johnny from Eating For Idiots, asking for some Paleo Thanksgiving pointers. He was comparing Paleo stuffing recipes, none of which looked like the one I love, and can’t have Thanksgiving without. It felt like a challenge I had to accept.

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In true compulsive recipe developer fashion, I was in the car in about 15 seconds, list in hand. I could already smell Thanksgiving.

Best Ever Paleo Stuffing.

1 pound ground pork
2 cups diced onions
2 cups diced bell peppers
4 cups (about 1 pound) diced mushrooms
2 cups diced apples
8 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
~ 2 T duck fat, bacon fat, butter, or coconut oil. (I used duck fat)
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
1 T fresh thyme, minced
2-3 leaves fresh sage (or 1/2 t dried)
sea salt
4 eggs
1/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 T coconut flour

  • Prepare all of your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350°.
  • Melt about 2 teaspoons of your fat of choice in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pork and cook until it just browns, 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Pour off excess liquid from your skillet and add another teaspoon of fat.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Saute until golden brown and soft, 6-8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the pork.
  • Add another teaspoon of fat, and saute bell peppers for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  • Throw in yet another teaspoon of fat, turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the mushrooms. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  • To the large bowl, add the apples, pecans, cranberries, herbs, and a good pinch of salt.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, chicken or turkey stock, and coconut flour. Add a pinch of salt if you’re stock isn’t salted.
  • Pour the liquid into the large bowl and mix.
  • Pour the whole thing into an oven safe casserole and bake for one hour.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. It will firm up a bit.

Why on earth am I making you sauté all of the vegetables separately? 

For two reasons:

  1. It’s a lot of stuff, you probably don’t have a pan that fits it all.
  2. If you cook it all at the same time, you’ll wind up steaming, not sautéing.

paleo stuffing

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  1. Wow, that looks amazing! Wish my husband liked stuffing like this…he’s a “classic” guy (bread, onions, celery, herbs). But I might have to make this for me!

  2. I wonder if this would be as good with sausage instead of “pork”, if ykwim?

    • There is so much flavor from the other ingredients, I’m not sure… It won’t be bad by any means, but I’m guessing that sausage would lend itself better to a simpler recipe. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

      • Well, I already bought the plain ground pork – I’ll trust your judgement before I start tweaking. :) Thanks again for all of your recipes!

  3. After viewing several paleo stuffing recipes I am making this one! Thanks for your genius once again :)

  4. How many people does this recipe serve?

    • I cooked it in a pan that’s about 12″x8″. As part of a Thanksgiving spread, where everyone takes small amounts of everything, I’d say you could about get 8-10 servings out of this. If I make it again soon (which I plan to) I will give you a more accurate answer!

      • Thanks! Perfect for our thanksgiving!

  5. Could I make this ahead and reheat?

    • I think so. The reason I didn’t put it in the make ahead and freeze section on my Thanksgivukkah guide is because I haven’t tried it. So I’m not 100% sure what freezing it will do to the texture of the veggies in it. But if I were to guess, I’d say it should be fine!

      • I was thinking just a day ahead and putting it in the refrigerator. Just looking to cut down on the actual stuff I have to make on the big day.

      • You can make almost everything ahead. Check out the schedule I put together, it might be really helpful!

      • Thanks!! I’m excited to try this! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Love it. Prepping is an act of love.

  7. Okay, why do you drain off the pork fat instead of just using it to saute in?

    • You could do that… I find that ground meat tends to render somewhat watery fat, so not as good for browning the ingredients you put in next. But not a bad thing, either!

  8. I did a trial run of this recipe tonight and the flavor is fantastic … I am wondering if the finished product is as you intended… I can’t tell from your photo but my egg mixture ended up at the bottom of the casserole dish and cooked like a souffle of sorts at the bottom…so when I servie it, it definitely has egg components throughout…is that as you intended?

    • The egg acts more as a binder, than something that is apparent in the end result (when I made it, anyway) Did you mix it with the coconut flour before stirring it into the meat mixture?

      • Yes, I did mix it as instructed … and now it’s totally perfect. I thought maybe I used too big of a casserole dish (13 x9) but now I don’t think it matters. It was just my initial freak-out straight out of the oven/straight into the dish. Mixing it a bit, it all incorporated well and it truly is a keeper, delicious, & addictive. Thank you!

  9. I’m wondering about turning this into a main dish by adding an additional pound of ground pork. Other than needing to adjust the seasonings, would there anything else to worry about?

  10. How many does the recipe feed?

    • As a Thanksgiving side dish with a lot of other stuff, probably 6-8 easily!

  11. The heck with Thanksgiving, this will be a yummy breakfast to just have on hand, made in individual containers to heat up and go! Thanks! can’t wait to try it!

  12. My family would revolt if we didn’t have our southern cornbread ‘dressing’. So instead I am going to make this for thanksgiving breakfast along side some eggs. Yum!

  13. Any possible substitutes for the mushrooms? The recipe sounds good, but the ‘shrooms, I can’t stomach and it happens to be a major ingredient, so can’t really omit them. Maybe zucchini?

    • I’d just omit them! They’re there to add a mushroom flavor, but there is enough other stuff in the recipe that it will still taste great. Once they’re cooked down, they don’t really add much bulk to the overall dish.

  14. I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday, with a few tweaks to make it more like my mom’s stuffing, and it was fabulous! My major subs were celery for green pepper, pork breakfast sausage instead of ground pork and only used fresh sage, no other herbs. I also added chestnuts. Sooo good! I didn’t even miss my bread stuffing. Thank you!


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