Make your Thanksgiving a little healthier with Smoky Ciabetta Stuffing with Fennel, Grapes and Apples. It has all the flavor of stuffing without all the fat.
Smoky Ciabetta Stuffing with Fennel, Grapes and Apples makes me so incredibly excited for Thanksgiving. This stuffing has it all; garlic, carrots, fennel, grapes, apples and especially smoked paprika. I wanted a stuffing that would pair nicely with my Spanish influenced, Sangria Glazed Turkey. The apples and grapes were a natural fit. All fruit I love from sangria. The fennel adds another layer of flavor and well, I love it. The real star is the smoked paprika that brings it all together.
This stuffing is a bite of sheer deliciousness. It has crunch, slight sweetness, tartness and smokiness. It is a symphony of flavors. (That is one of my favorite lines. I try not to over use it.) I imagined myself the conductor orchestrating each flavor into the perfect note. This stuffing was a labor of love. It took me forever to figure it out, though. In the beginning, I didn’t have the paprika in it. It was a little flat. All the flavors were not singing in harmony. I needed something to pull the song together and create a wonderful sound. When I hit upon the smoked paprika, I knew it was exactly what I needed. It did not disappoint.
For the most part, I don’t worry about buying a particular brand of spices. There are two exceptions; chili powder and paprika. I buy my paprika from The Spice House on the internet. I buy a very small portion but get good quality. It is worth the added splurge. You can certainly use any smoked paprika. Just make sure it is “smoked” not regular paprika. My little package lasts a long time. If you happen to have a wonderful spice shop by you, try their smoked paprika. I wish we had something like that here. Some day I may just open the Food Done Light Gourmet Store and sell wonderful spices of my own.
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Happy Healthy Eating,
Smoky Ciabetta Stuffing with Fennel, Grapes and Apples
- 8 cups Ciabetta or hearty whole wheat bread cut into ½ cubes
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. oil
- 2 cups diced Onion
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 2 cups diced Fennel
- 1 cup diced grapes
- 1 cup diced apple
- 2 tsp. smoky paprika
- 1 tbsp. fresh Rosemary
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. kosher Salt
- ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 cup low sodium chicken Broth
- 1 Egg
Preheat oven to 425°.
Place bread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Pour cubes into a large bowl.
Reduce oven to 350°.
Melt butter and oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, carrot and fennel. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are just soft.
Add grapes, apple, smoky paprika, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for 4 minutes.
Add to bowl of bread.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and chicken broth. Pour into the bowl.
Toss ingredients to fully combine.
Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour in the stuffing mixture. Cover with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Make ahead tips:
- The day before, you can cut and toast your bread.
- Cut all the vegetables and fruit, except the apples.
- You can saute the onion, garlic, carrot and fennel the day before but do not add it to the bread.
- The morning of Thanksgiving, you can mix it all together and put into your baking dish. Cover with foil and put in the refrigerator until it is time to bake.
But wait, there’s more. Check out these deliciously, healthy Thanksgiving recipes: