Paleo Stuffing with Sausage, Sweet Potato and Apple (gluten-free, dairy-free)

This Paleo stuffing is so good you’ll want to make it for more than just Thanksgiving!

Italian sausage, sweet potato, apple, pecans, dried cherries and herbs pack a lot of flavor into a side dish that could also be a main dish for dinner.

Plus this healthy stuffing recipe just happens to be Whole30, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free.

grain-free stuffing with sausage, sweet potato, apple, nuts and herbs in a white baking dish

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Paleo stuffing stuffed with goodness

There are so many delicious kinds of stuffing – classic, cornbread, mushroom, oyster, etc.

But this kind of stuffing – full of sweet potatoes, apple, pecans, celery, dried cherries and herbs – just feels like fall, Thanksgiving and cozy, hearty, homey food all in one.

You might wonder where the bread is in this no-bread stuffing, but the sweet potatoes act as the carby bread substitute while adding more flavor than plain ol’ bread ever does.

Plus it’s easy to make (it’s basically just chopping and stirring) and easy to double to feed a crowd.

And there’s so many ways to customize it! See below for substitutions and variations.

 

What you need for this Paleo stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • Italian sausage
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb. total)
  • 1 apple – I like using Granny Smith so it’s not too sweet (see Substitutions and Variations below)
  • dried cherries (to keep this Paleo/Whole30, use dried cherries sweetened only with juice, not sugar, or unsweetened dried cherries)
  • pecans
  • chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh sage
  • apple cider vinegar
  • fine sea salt
  • ground black pepper

 

Equipment:

Paleo Thanksgiving stuffing with sausage, sweet potato and apple in a white baking dish

How to make this Paleo stuffing recipe

First, heat the oven to 400º.

Next, toast the pecans. Add the pecans to a cold, dry, large skillet or Dutch oven. Turn on the heat to medium and toss occasionally, until they start to brown and smell nutty, about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Then brown the Italian sausage in the same pan. If your sausage is still in links, you’ll have to squeeze the meat out of the casings.

While it’s browning, peel and dice the onion and sweet potatoes and dice the celery.

Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon (to keep the fat in the pan) and add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the vegetables and salt to the pan and sauté in the fat until they’re somewhat softened, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, core and chop the apple (no need to peel).

Add the apple, dried cherries and apple cider vinegar and sauté just until the apple begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mince the fresh herbs.

Pour the veggie and apple mixture into the bowl with the sausage.

Whisk the chicken broth with the egg and add to the bowl along with the herbs and black pepper.

Toss everything together and then pour into an ungreased 8×8″ baking dish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let rest for 10 minutes, then dig in!

 

Substitutions and variations

  • You can use mild or spicy Italian sausage.
  • You can use turkey Italian sausage if it’s not too lean. Turkey and chicken sausage tends to be leaner than pork sausage. If they’re too lean your stuffing will be too dry.
  • Other good apples to use are Jonagold, Honeycrisp or Braeburn.
  • You can use dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. Again, if Paleo/Whole30, use dried cranberries that are sweetened with juice, not sugar.
  • You can also use chopped, pitted dates instead of dried cherries.
  • You can use walnuts instead of pecans.
  • You can use white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
  • You can use dried herbs instead of fresh. Just use 2 teaspoons each of dried rosemary and dried sage.

healthy Thanksgiving stuffing with sausage, sweet potato and apple in a white baking dish

Doubling this Paleo stuffing

You can double this recipe. Use a 9×13″ pan and check at 40 minutes but know it might need another 5-15 minutes to fully bake and brown properly.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Brussels Sprouts Casserole (Paleo, gluten-free, vegan)
  2. Date and Orange Cranberry Sauce (Paleo, Whole30, vegan)
  3. Pumpkin Pie (Paleo, gluten-free, nut-free)
  4. Pecan Pie (Paleo, gluten-free)
  5. 3-Ingredient Curried Sweet Potato Soup (Paleo, gluten-free, Whole30, vegan)
  6. Braised Red Cabbage (Paleo, gluten-free, Whole30, vegan, keto)
Paleo stuffing with sausage, sweet potato and apple in a white baking dish next to a dish of celery, onion and herbs
grain-free stuffing with sausage, sweet potato, apple, nuts and herbs in a white baking dish
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Paleo Stuffing with Sausage, Sweet Potato and Apple

Italian sausage, sweet potatoes, apples, nuts, dried fruit and herbs create a flavor-packed side dish for Thanksgiving or even a great dinner! Plus this healthy stuffing recipe happens to be Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
resting time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: paleo stuffing, paleo thanksgiving, sausage stuffing, sweet potato stuffing
Servings: 6 people
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Italian sausage (casings removed, if still in links)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
  • teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 medium apple, preferably Granny Smith
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 400°.
  • Add the pecans to a cold, dry, large skillet or Dutch oven. Turn the heat on medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pecans are darker in spots and smell nutty, about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and wipe out the skillet. Roughly chop the nuts and add to a large mixing bowl.
  • In the clean skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking it down into little chunks, until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the sausage into the bowl with the nuts, leaving the fat in the pan.
  • While the sausage is cooking, peel and dice the onion and sweet potatoes and dice the celery. After the sausage is removed, add the veggies to the pan along with the salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  • While the veggies are cooking, core and dice the apple (no need to peel). Once the veggies have begun to soften, add the apple, dried cherries and apple cider vinegar. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the apple begins to soften and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Scrape into the bowl with the sausage.
  • In a small bowl or measuring glass, whisk the chicken broth and egg together. Add to the sausage and veggies along with the minced herbs and black pepper. Toss everything together until well combined and the liquid is somewhat absorbed.
  • Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8x8" / 2-quart baking dish and gently pat down so the top is evenly flat. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until baked through and the top has browned. Let rest for 10 minutes, then dig in!

Notes

Substitutions and variations
  • You can use mild or spicy Italian sausage.
  • You can use turkey Italian sausage if it's not too lean. Turkey and chicken sausage tends to be leaner than pork sausage. If they're too lean your stuffing will be too dry.
  • Other good apples to use are Jonagold, Honeycrisp or Braeburn.
  • You can use dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. Again, if Paleo/Whole30, use dried cranberries that are sweetened with juice, not sugar.
  • You can also use chopped, pitted dates instead of dried cherries.
  • You can use walnuts instead of pecans.
  • You can use white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
  • You can use dried herbs instead of fresh. Just use 2 teaspoons each of dried rosemary and dried sage.
Doubling the recipe
You can double this recipe. Use a 9x13" pan and check at 40 minutes but know it might need another 5-15 minutes to fully bake and brown properly.

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