Step away from the box, America.

By Kirsten Nunez
November 06, 2020

If you typically eat a plate of stuffing with a side of turkey, you might want to think about a healthy version instead of the basic one from the box. Why? Whereas standard stuffing uses white bread, these options call for whole, real ingredients. Besides, homemade stuffing will always beat the boxed kind—but we’ll let you be the judge of that. Start with these 6 healthy stuffing alternatives for your next holiday spread.

Credit: HadelProductions

Wild rice stuffing

Though rice is often eaten as an entrée, it makes for a delicious stuffing. It’s gluten free and contains fiber, magnesium, and zinc, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Serve wild rice stuffing with roasted chicken for a hearty meal.

Cauliflower stuffing

With a well-seasoned cauliflower stuffing, you won’t even miss the boxed stuff—promise. Moreover, cruciferous veggies like cauliflower are rich in fiber and folate, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Quinoa stuffing

For a healthy carb option, try quinoa stuffing. Not only does quinoa have fiber and magnesium, but it’s one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s also gluten-free ­and vegan, making it ideal for guests with dietary restrictions.

Farro stuffing

Make a rustic farro stuffing with earthy ingredients like mushrooms and sage. The ancient grain boasts a nutty flavor and robust texture, so it’s perfect for the holidays. Plus, farro is rich in protein and antioxidants, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Rye bread stuffing

Can’t pass up the bread? Make rye stuffing for a nutritious twist. As a whole grain, rye bread is rich in fiber, which is crucial for healthy digestion. And compared to refined wheat bread, rye is less likely to cause inflammation and blood sugar spikes, according to a 2018 article in Trends in Food Science & Technology.

Chickpea stuffing

If you’re planning a plant-based dinner, chickpeas have your back. Simply season and smash canned chickpeas, then roast in an acorn squash or pumpkin. With every bite, you’ll get a generous dose of protein, good fats, and vitamin C, according to a 2016 review in Nutrients.