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Bread-free stuffing good for any occasion

By Betty Shimabukuro

LAST UPDATED: 9:05 p.m. HST, Nov 21, 2014

Even if you can grapple with a turkey only once a year, there are still many post-Thanksgiving reasons to make stuffing.

A tasty stuffing, made with bread, rice, taro, sweet potatoes, whatever, makes a fine accompaniment to a roast chicken, grilled pork chop or salmon fillet, steak, roast duck or a hearty vegetable such as pumpkin or butternut squash.

True stuffing lovers will even eat it as a main dish.

So I don't consider it too late to answer Gary Beck's request for stuffings made without bread (he is on a gluten-free diet). Beck has been experimenting with other types of stuffing -- including sausage, chestnuts, sauerkraut, noodles, mushrooms and potatoes -- and was particularly interested some ideas using wild rice.

Most wild rice stuffings incorporate dried fruit and sometimes fresh apples. I made one a few Thanksgivings ago stuffed into a kabocha. It's definitely worth sharing. Also, in trying to find Beck something different, I came across the first recipe here, which uses smoked oysters. It was designed for stuffing Cornish hens.

Which all goes to show, stuffing isn't just for turkeys. In fact, it doesn't even have to be stuffed into anything.

Wild Rice and Smoked Oyster Stuffing

Adapted from
1 cup wild rice
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 3-ounce tins smoked oysters, drained
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup chicken stock

Cook rice in 3 cups water on stovetop or in rice cooker.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter over medium-high heat; saute celery, onion, garlic, peppers and ginger until soft and starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in sage; cook 30 seconds. Stir mixture into rice with oysters, parsley, salt and pepper.

Beat egg with stock; mix into rice. Transfer mixture to casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes. Or use to stuff 8 Cornish hens (roast hens to an internal temperature of 180 degrees). Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving, stuffing only: 220 calories, 10 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 11 g protein

Basmati Rice Stuffing

Adapted from "Splendid Grain," by Rebecca Wood (William Morrow, 1997)
3 cups vegetable stock
1-1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tart apple, diced
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring stock to boil in large pot. Stir in rice and salt. Lower heat and simmer, covered, about 40 minutes (or use rice cooker). Remove from heat; stir in fruit, syrup and spices. Transfer to casserole dish. Sprinkle with orange juice and bake 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving, stuffing only: 220 calories, 2 g fat, no saturated fat or cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 4 g protein 

Stuffed kabocha: Using a 3- to 4-pound kabocha, cut out a 4-inch circle from stem side and scoop out seeds. Rub inside with butter, salt and pepper, then bake both shell and stem "lid" 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Stuff and bake again for 30 minutes or until the kabocha is tender.


Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. E-mail requests to

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