Spring Stuffing with Leeks & Mushrooms

There's no messing with Thanksgiving's favorite stuffing, no-sir-ee. I only-only-only make the same turkey dressing that my mom and her mom made. But other times of the year? I'm happy to experiment with other recipes. Here, the stuffing is lightened for spring, it's packed with celery, leeks and mushrooms. It's easy enough for a weeknight, perfectly delicious for a holiday meal. My last notes read, "VVVG" (that's code for Very Very Good) and "Make More Often!"
Spring Stuffing with Leeks & Mushrooms ♥ KitchenParade.com, lighter for spring, perfect with roast or rotisserie chicken.

Let's Stuff the Stuffing Tradition. Just Not On Thanksgiving.

Many families happily stuff with tradition at Thanksgiving.

I love to try new dishes. But on the fourth Thursday in November, there’s no debate or deliberation: no recipe but my mother’s will do. And Mom’s recipe came from her mother! Sausage Stuffing it will be, no other!

Is our family recipe so special? Not really. It starts with pork sausage so is quite rich. It has the requisite onion, celery, sage and thyme.

No peppers, fruit or cornbread: none of the must-have ingredients in other families’ traditions.

But for now? It’s April not November. The leaves are turning green not drifting down. So let’s experiment now, without risk of dashing long-held tradition.

For an easy weekend supper, serve Spring Stuffing with a roasted chicken. Since chicken roasts at a high temperature for an hour, add the stuffing’s baking dish to the oven for only the last 30 minutes or so. Even then, watch carefully to avoid burning.

Or here’s another idea. Look for a whole turkey breast, then mound the stuffing beneath the meat before roasting. The turkey juice will drip into the stuffing – delicious.

Or here's still another. Start the stuffing, then send someone for a rotisserie chicken. Just like that, #WinnerChickenDinner!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Makes 5 cups
  • 5 slices (about 8oz/225g) heavy whole-grain bread, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, white and light-green parts only cut into half moons (see how to clean leeks)
  • 3 ribs celery, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 16 ounces (454g) fresh mushrooms, stems trimmed, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or other herbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

OVEN-DRY THE BREAD Arrange the bread cubes in single layer on baking sheet. Place in a 350F/175C oven, no need to preheat. Dry the cubes until slightly toasted, about 20 minutes.

ON THE STOVE Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or heavy skillet on medium high, then melt the butter until foamy. Add the leeks, celery and mushrooms as they’re prepped, stirring in each addition to coat with fat. Stirring often, sauté until soft and golden. Add garlic, cook 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in sage, thyme and parsley and cook about 1 minute.

Separately, whisk the eggs, broth and salt and pepper in a large bowl, then fold in the bread cubes, stirring well to really let the bread cubes soak up the liquid. Turn the egg/bread mixture into the vegetables in the pot on the stove, stirring just until combined. Reduce heat to medium, cook 4 – 5 minutes until the egg cooks and the liquid is nearly absorbed.

Serve immediately, all hot and steamy!

Alternatively, transfer to greased baking dish, refrigerate and later reheat at 350F/180C 30 – 45 minutes until heated through.

ALANNA's TIPS Any stuffing will turn into a gelatinous mess when over-cooked so use your heating time judiciously. For this stuffing, I am partial to a whole-grain bread, My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe is excellent, so is the Healthnut bread from Arnold/Brownberry. Just be sure to add the bread all at once, not a few pieces at a time, so each piece gets the chance to soak up the eggy liquid. Leeks are a half-pain to rinse and cut up on a busy worknight. I have great luck with frozen leeks from Trader Joe's and add them to the skillet still frozen. They do need a little chopping once they're softened a bit, but still, the convenience is appreciated. Taste-wise, fresh herbs such as parsley brighten the flavors but also add color to an otherwise distinctively "brown" food. Or just eat with your eyes closed! Or by candlelight! Serve the stuffing with Slow Cooker Turkey Breast or Fast Roast Chicken.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving, assumes 1/2 cup: 124 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 48mg Cholesterol; 231mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 3g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 3 This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in fat, carbs and portion size and increases in low-to-no-calorie flavorings and nutrient- and fiber-rich vegetables.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.