Marks Daily Apple
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13 Nov

Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing

The name says it all. Stuffing, when made with the traditional loaf of bread, is a heavy addition to the holiday table that can leave you feeling, well, stuffed. As if the table weren’t already collapsing under the weight of a giant bird and a half-dozen side-dishes, tradition demands that a big dish of what is essentially just a loaf of bread cut up into pieces, be included, too. Well, phooey on tradition. We’re not saying that stuffing shouldn’t be served at all, we’re just saying, why limit yourself to stuffing made with bread?

The attributes that make stuffing so popular – a mild, comforting flavor and rich, indulgent texture – can be achieved with all sorts of different ingredients. Our favorite combination this holiday season is a buttery blend of cauliflower, mushrooms and leeks baked until soft and caramelized and covered with an intensely nutty blend of hazelnuts and fresh herbs.

Just like all your friends and relatives will be showing up for Thanksgiving dinner barely recognizable in their best duds, the cauliflower in this dish undergoes a similar transformation. This is not the plain, crunchy cruciferous you’ve become accustomed to and even grown to love despite a slightly sulfuric aroma. For this stuffing, the long cooking time and co-mingling with other ingredients transforms the cauliflower into something extra special. We’re tempted to give hazelnuts all the credit. While roasting nuts for long periods of time is not recommended on a regular basis because of possible oxidation, roasting them for added flavor in the occasional holiday dish should be enjoyed, not over-analyzed. The roasted hazelnuts in this stuffing bring a rich texture and a depth of flavor that just can’t be achieved with raw nuts.

Along these same lines, but with a totally different flavor, Fruit and Nut Stuffing is another holiday option. In fact, these two types of stuffing are different enough that both can grace the table if you like. So go ahead, put two bowls of stuffings on your table this year and enjoy them both without any guilt.

Ingredients:


  • 3/4 cup butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 leek
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter and sauté mushrooms, leek and celery for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms soften a bit. Combine with cauliflower florets in a 13×9 inch rimmed baking pan.

In a food processor, combine hazelnuts, juice of one lemon, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, parsley, salt and 1/4 cup of melted butter.

Pulse until the mixture is well-blended and the hazelnuts are in tiny pieces, but it’s not nearly as smooth as a paste.

Spoon the mixture on the top of the cauliflower and mushrooms and mix well.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 35-45 minutes, stirring several times so the stuffing does not burn or stick to the pan. It is these last 35-45 minutes that are crucial to finishing the dish. The hazelnuts will brown and lose moisture, becoming caramelized and a bit crunchy again.

This stuffing can be baked a day ahead and then covered and re-heated before serving. Right before serving, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon top and add more salt if needed.


You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. This looks lovely…will be trying it!

    Vicky wrote on August 7th, 2011
  2. Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing | Mark's Daily Apple I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing | Mark's Daily AppleBest Regards Cindy

    invest liberty reserve wrote on February 13th, 2012
  3. Going to rush into the kitchen and stuff some peppers with this mixture. Thanks for a great recipe.

    snowmoonelk wrote on May 27th, 2012
  4. This was delicious. I mixed some sour cream and ground beef in with it, along with some extra garlic granules and a little salt. Amazingly good!

    Jodey wrote on August 1st, 2012
  5. Had this for Thanksgiving tonight. It was delicious. We only used 1/2 c butter as described in the recipe and went light on the lemon at the end. It tasted great with my flourless gravy.

    mommymd wrote on October 8th, 2012
  6. We do the cauliflower stuffing ALL THE TIME!!! My sisters, not very adventurous with foods, absolutely love the stuffing and always ask for it for family functions. It’s amazing.

    Angela wrote on November 26th, 2013
  7. The second lemon isn’t accounted for anywhere.
    We are still doing it, we’ll still make it work, but revising the lemon and butter issues in the posted recipe would be quite helpful.

    Happy thanksgiving, all

    Cindy wrote on November 27th, 2013
    • whoops..
      Just saw the second lemon
      Apologies!

      Cindy wrote on November 27th, 2013
    • Cindy, the second lemon is squeezed over the mixture right before serving – this statement is in the very last sentence of the post. The final 1/4 c butter… can’t answer that one. :) I’ve got this recipe in the oven right now; making it ahead for tomorrow. I’ve made it for several dinners now and it’s always a hit no matter the individual dietary preference.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all my primal/paleo friends!

      Megan wrote on November 27th, 2013
  8. This was amazing! A few tips:

    1. chop the cauliflower small. half-inch square pieces are good. I want to try it diced in the processor too, I bet that would be really good.

    2. reduce lemon by half, as another commenter mentioned. the too-lemony-ness was the only drawback of this dish.

    3. we added a big caramelized diced onion. delish.

    4. I’d like to try this with something sweet added, perhaps some cranberries, raisins, or maybe some diced sweet chicken sausage.

    Leigh wrote on November 29th, 2013

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