Whole-Grain Stuffing with
Cranberries and Walnuts
What's Thanksgiving without cranberries? These bright red gems are native to North America and at one time whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their ships to prevent scurvy. Today we know that cranberries are packed with healthful nutrients and phytochemicals, with one serving providing at least 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and fiber. (Dietary fiber can act in several ways to lower cancer risk, including helping with weight control.)
Pair cranberries with another nutritional powerhouse – walnuts – and you’ve got a real winner. Although all nuts fit into a cancer-preventive diet, walnuts are quickly becoming superstars. English walnuts, one of the most popular nuts in the United States, contain the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, as well as high amounts of polyphenols – phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties, in addition to a broad range of other potentially protective compounds.
Impress your guests with this delicious stuffing that combines both cranberries and walnuts and you’ll all have one more thing to be thankful for!
- 1 24-oz. loaf sliced 100% whole wheat bread, one day old
- 2 cups dried cranberries, or mix of dried cranberries, cherries and golden raisins
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bunch scallions (green onions), trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 tsp. dried thyme, or to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3½ cups (about) canned non-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth, heated until hot
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange bread slices on oven rack and leave in oven until very dry but not brown, about 30 minutes. Shut off oven and allow bread to cool until easily handled. Transfer bread to large bowl. Turn oven back on and preheat to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, place dried fruit in large, heat-proof bowl and cover with very hot water. Let stand until water is lukewarm. Drain and set fruit aside in large bowl.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Place oil in pan and heat until very hot. Add onion and sauté, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent and golden. Stir in scallions and thyme. With slotted spoon, transfer mixture to bowl containing drained fruit.
In a large bowl break bread into coarse crumbs. Mix in dried fruit and sautéed onions. Mix in walnuts, parsley and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tossing gently so stuffing does not get compacted, and constantly so liquid is evenly distributed, add enough hot broth until mixture is moist but not wet. (Depending on type of bread used, additional broth may be needed.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding salt, pepper and thyme, if desired. If mixture seems dry, add additional hot broth, as desired. To bake stuffing, lightly coat a shallow baking pan with canola oil spray and transfer stuffing to 9x13" pan. Using canola oil spray, lightly coat the dull side of a sheet of foil large enough to seal pan. Cover and seal baking pan with foil (shiny side out) and bake about 1 hour. If less moist stuffing with a slightly crisp top is desired, remove foil halfway through baking time.
Serve immediately or store, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat chilled stuffing before serving.
Makes 9 cups (18 one-half cup servings).
Per serving: 175 calories, 4 g. total fat (<1 g. saturated fat), 28 g. carbohydrate, 6
g. protein, 4 g. dietary fiber, 293 g. sodium.