There are two types of eaters on thanksgiving. There are those, like my Papa, who refuse to eat (or even try) anything other than what they’re used to eating every. single. year. Then there are those (like me) who do love certain staples, but LOVE trying new things. Like me. And other food bloggers. Luckily for me (and for you, or we’d get super bored with my exact same thanksgiving posts every year) I am in the latter category.
Being open to new (thanksgiving) things was also a blessing in disguise when I figured out I was severely gluten and lactose intolerant. So I didn’t have a major breakdown/freakout when I couldn’t have those pillsbury fluffy croissant rolls, our traditional bread stuffing, or pumpkin/apple pie. I just figured I’d make my own versions of them so I could eat them. And, surprise surprise, some of my experiments turned out even BETTER than my old favorites. Love when that happens. Especially when you know what you’re cooking won’t make your insides explode or confine you to your bed for the next week. AND they taste great.
Wins all around.
That’s how this recipe was born. I was, admittedly, pretty sad when I couldn’t have my grandmother’s chicken apple sausage stuffing recipe, which was FULL of roasted garlic-rosemary bread and other gluten-like substances (read: death to my intestines and total body shutdown/PAIN/confined to my bed for about…5 days. Maybe more.) So I took some of my other favorite things like roasted squash, apples, bacon, apple cider, craisins, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg combined with some savory herbs like sage, marjoram, and thyme, threw them all together, and called it a grain-free stuffing. I even added in the chicken apple sausage.
Oh, and instead of doing a stuffed turkey, I used Nom Nom Paleo’s version where you butterfly the bird and rub some herbed ghee under the skin. Cooks PERFECTLY in an hour and a half. You heard that right. Hello, extra time and oven space.
So when you give a mouse a cookie…it makes spatchcocked turkey and grain free Butternut-Apple-Bacon Stuffing. That was the most confusing end to a circle story ever. But if you read that book when you were younger, you get my drift. About this stuffing though. So my family still makes the other one too for tradition’s sake, but they BEGGED for this one again this year. It’ll definitely be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table come thursday!
Yay thanksgiving!! Pro tip: you can also make this AHEAD of time for Thanksgiving, instead of last minute. We made it the morning of and heated it up for dinner. Yay for less kitchen madness!
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (or about 4 cups pre-cut)
- 2 apples, peeled and diced
- ½ package bacon, cut into lardons (think bacon bits!)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- ½ c chopped dried dates
- 3 Tbsp pure apple cider
- a few leaves of fresh sage, chopped
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried marjoram (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt + pepper, to taste
- (optional) 2 Aidell's chicken apple sausages, diced
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Toss the butternut squash and apples with one tablespoon melted coconut oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread out a baking sheet, and roast until tender but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes.
- When you put the squash in the oven, measure out and combine all your herbs/spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet, sauté the bacon until it starts to crisp up. Add your onion and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until very soft and slightly caramelized (about 10 minutes.)
- Remove the squash and apples from the oven. Using a wooden spoon, fold them into the cast iron with the onions and bacon. (If you’re going to add in the chicken apple sausage, now would be the time to stir those in).
- Add the apple cider, dried fruit, herbs, salt, and pepper, and give it a few stirs.
- Turn the heat to low and cook for an additional 5 minutes so the flavors come together or return to the oven and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.
- You can also substitute sweet potatoes or any other winter squash for the butternut squash. I've used a combination of banana squash and butternut and it was great!
To make this a main dish, add in 1 lb ground meat or sausage (chicken apple or roasted garlic would be great). You can brown it first and add it to the onions with the apples and squash, or add it the same time you begin to sauté the onions. You can also do this as a one-dish meal, just chop the squash and apples up a little smaller and add them with the onions.
For breakfast, add some poached eggs on top!!