Adapting favourite recipes to be allergen-friendly for yourself or friends and family with allergies or ingredient sensitivities can be daunting – if you don’t know where to start!
Each month FBC member and nutritionist, Sondi Bruner, will take a favourite dish and show you how to adapt it to be allergen-friendly, as well as delicious and healthy. She’ll even toss in some vegetarian or vegan options where appropriate. This month, she takes on a holiday classic with a gluten free stuffing recipe that can also be dairy free, vegetarian and even vegan!
As a Jewish girl growing up in Toronto, I didn’t have many opportunities to eat stuffing. While we visited Swiss Chalet each year for the ‘Festive Special’, the draws were primarily the chalet sauce and the Toblerone bar, not the sticky clump of bread, carrots and celery.
Since stuffing wasn’t a dish ever prepared for me at home, I don’t have any deep-rooted emotional attachments to the way it ‘should’ be made. This means that stuffing is a blank canvas upon which I can splash a multitude of textures and flavours. Fun, right?
Most classic stuffing recipes contain the following ingredients:
- Chicken Broth
If you’re looking to make stuffing more allergen-friendly this holiday season, here are a few swaps for you to consider.
Bread Substitutes For Stuffing Recipes
There are a multitude of store-bought gluten-free breads to choose from, and this is likely your best bet for swapping 1:1 if you’ve got a favourite family recipe you’re dying to adapt. Many large Canadian cities are home to boutique gluten-free bakeries that bake fresh breads you could use in stuffing, too.
Some brands are loaded with refined flours, starches and preservatives that aren’t health-supportive, so don’t forget to read labels and pick options that aren’t junky.
Have you ever tried cornbread as a base for your stuffing? I have, and it’s delightful. Whatever kind of gluten-free bread you choose, remember that they’re drier than glutenous breads, so add extra liquid to your recipe (an extra third or half a cup will do).
Depending on your definition of stuffing, you don’t have to use bread at all. Whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat are naturally gluten-free and taste amazing when mixed with sautéed onions, vegetables, herbs, dried fruit and nuts or seeds (if nut allergies aren’t an issue).
Go Dairy-Free in Your Stuffing Recipe
It’s easy to cook dairy-free stuffing by using coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter. I swap them 1:1 in recipes and am always happy with the results. If you’re leery of coconut oil, find one that is neutral-flavoured, as some brands taste more coconutty than others.
Eliminate Eggs in Stuffing
If you’re looking for an eggless binder, try using a flax egg or a chia egg. Stir one tbsp of ground flax or chia seed into four tbsp of water. After about five minutes, the mixture will gel up nicely.
Given that many stuffing dishes are meant to be scoop-able, I don’t think firm structural integrity is essential here. I’ve dropped both regular eggs and flax/chia eggs from my classic stuffing and it still holds together really well just by using vegetable broth or olive oil.
If you’re using store-bought broth or bouillon cubes, they may have wheat flour added to them. Check your labels, or use homemade stocks. If you’ve got vegetarians or vegans in the crowd, vegetable broth works beautifully.
Do you have an allergen-friendly stuffing recipe? Please share a link to the recipe in the comments!
- 6 slices gluten-free bread, cut into 1-cm cubes (about 3 cups worth) – I used this brand http://www.silverhillsbakery.ca/gluten-free/
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 large carrot, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 sages leaves, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put the onions, celery and carrots in a pan or pot. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, and sauté over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Dump your gluten-free bread into a large bowl. Add in the vegetables, sage and salt and stir well. Pour in the vegetable broth, and gently mix until everything is moistened.
- Drizzle an 8-inch pan with olive oil. Pour your stuffing into the pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Check out more of Sondi's Allergen Friendly Recipe Remixes for other ideas on how to make your recipes more allergen friendly
Sondi Bruner is a holistic nutritionist, freelance writer and food blogger. She educates people who follow allergen-friendly diets about how to eat simply, deliciously and safely, allowing them to rediscover the pleasure of food. When she’s wearing her writer’s hat, she works with natural health brands to create content that will help their customers live fulfilling, healthful lives. Find out more at www.sondibruner.com. Or you can follow Sondi on Facebook or Twitter