You won't miss the extra fat one bit in this delicious and lightened-up whole wheat stuffing recipe, complete with dried cherries and chopped pecans. Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for helping me to share this recipe with you.
My sure-fire recipe for a successful Thanksgiving is simple. A plateful of stuffing smothered in gravy and topped with a sizeable dollop of cranberry sauce. That’s it. That’s all I need. And even though I appreciate the thought of wild rice or oyster stuffing that are traditional on many holiday tables, Thanksgiving (and Christmas too, for that matter) just isn’t the same without a pan of bread stuffing, soaked in turkey (or chicken) stock and infused with sage and thyme.
Even though I can turn out a pretty acceptable dish of stuffing by now, nothing compares to one made by my dad. He is our stuffing connoisseur, taking care to choose the best bread and rising early to meticulously cut off the crusts and tear the pieces with a fork to achieve a rustic look. I take the lazy man’s route by cutting the bread with a knife, but always prefer my dad’s version.
Never in all his years of making stuffing has my dad included anything but bread, herbs, celery and stock, but I have a feeling that he would approve of this version with dried Montmorency tart cherries and chopped pecans. If he doesn’t give me the side-eye at Christmas this year, I may just try it out. (Cue reprimand via email from Dad in 3…2…1. He always reads my posts, so my dried cherry and pecan plan won’t stay secret for long.)
First, I’ll have to convince him that the dried cherries add a wonderful sweet-tart flavor and lovely toothy chew to the savory stuffing. If that doesn’t work, I’ll remind him of the multitude of potential health benefits that Montmorency tart cherries offer, including anti-inflammatory properties, an abundance of heart healthy flavonoids and a dose of melatonin, which has been shown to help regulate sleep cycles.
If all of that convincing doesn’t do the trick, then I may be resigned to making two pans of stuffing – one Dad’s way and one my way. I make that sound like an inconvenience but, really, making two pans means more leftovers. And that can only be good!
If you prefer to make this stuffing vegetarian or vegan, simply replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
Montmorency tart cherries can be found in well-stocked grocery stores, as well as healthy food stores, such as Whole Foods. We always have tart cherries available in at least two forms in our house, and we use them daily in nut mixes, in rice salads and in baked oatmeal.
Other healthy recipes with dried cherries:
Cookin' Canuck's One-Pot Farro with Butternut Squash & Dried Cherries
Cookin' Canuck's Dried Cherry & Orange Cranberry Sauce
Running to the Kitchen's Cinnamon Ginger Kabocha Squash Soup with Tart Cherry Drizzle
Drool Worthy Daily's Tart Cherry Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Garden Fresh Foodie's Tart Cherry Sorbet
Whole Wheat Stuffing Recipe with Dried Cherries & Pecans
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup diced celery
- ½ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 11 cups cubed crusts removed whole wheat bread
- 1 ½ cups 99% fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian/vegan
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
- ½ cup chopped raw pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 7- by 11-inch baking dish (see Note) with cooking spray.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, parsley, sage, thyme and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequently, until the celery is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and stir in the onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth and toss to combine.
- Stir in the dried cherries and pecans.
- Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Bake until the stuffing is heated through and a light crust forms on top, 20 to 25 minutes.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute as part of a year-long brand ambassadorship. All opinions are my own. This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!