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Thanksgiving Recipe Makeovers: Grain-free stuffing

In the northern hemisphere, the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching. It is a day to reflect on our blessings, spend time with family and friends and enjoy a meal together. For many Americans, it’s a day to feast. But traditional Thanksgiving food includes heavy casseroles, turkey and gravy, potatoes and pie — not exactly the picture of nutrition.

Nevertheless, even those of us dedicated to a healthy diet can find it difficult to say no to classic dishes this time of year. It can be hard to stick to a nutrition plan around the holidays. But at Hope4Cancer, we are convinced that the Thanksgiving table can be full of delicious and nutritious options! All November, we are featuring Thanksgiving recipe “makeovers,” which include traditional ingredients prepared in healthy ways.

Stuffing is the quintessential comfort food — savory, warm and pairs well with other dishes. But this Grain-Free Stuffing recipe relies not on carb-and-sugar-laden bread, but on fresh vegetables and herbs! This is a looser and lighter stuffing with plenty of flavor.

Parsnips are the main ingredient. While they’re a less familiar vegetable, there are many reasons to make it a staple. Parsnips can reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar, which can aid in cardiovascular health. They also strengthen the immune system! And they include an impressive range of vitamins, like vitamin B, C, E and K.

If you haven’t prepared parsnips before, don’t be intimidated: simply peel them, just like carrots. Not a parsnip person? Feel free to substitute an equal quantity of cauliflower for a similar end result.

In this grain-free stuffing, parsnips pair with carrots, onions and mushrooms, as well as garlic, thyme and sage. Enjoy this nutritious take on a Thanksgiving favorite!

Thanksgiving Recipe Makeovers: Grain-free stuffing

Serves 4-6


  • 4 cups parsnips, washed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, washed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (From 4-6 sprigs)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage (10-12 leaves), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange the four cups of chopped parsnips into a single layer on one of the lined baking sheets. On the second baking sheet, arrange the chopped carrots and onion into a single layer.
  3. Roast both pans of vegetables at 400F for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Halfway through roasting, lightly toss the vegetables with a spatula to prevent burning. If the onions are cooking faster than parsnips and carrots, remove them earlier.
  4. While the vegetables are roasting, melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic for five minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender.
  5. When the vegetables are roasted, transfer the parsnips, carrots, onions and sauteed mushroom mixture to a large food processor. Add in the fresh thyme, chopped sage and salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Using the food processor, quickly “pulse” the vegetable mixture so ingredients are combined, yet still have a chunky “stuffing-like” texture.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm.

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