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squash and kale stuffing // food to glowLong time no see! Sorry for the tardiness in posting. In the three-and-a-bit years I have been writing Food to Glow I don’t think I have ever gone this long without committing food and thought to paper.

I’ve missed you!

And I feel a bit on the back foot with Thanksgiving. It is next week. Next week!

As an ex-pat American living in Britain, it is easily done. My fellow ex-pats and I don’t have calendars, grocery store displays, adverts, themed cooking shows and relatives angling for invites to remind us of this quintessential all-American holiday.

Yes, we have calendars. Of course we have calendars. But they don’t have Thanksgiving on them. Which, as all Americans know {but don’t necessarily remember}, is always the last Thursday in November. And most of us will be working. 🙁

squash and kale stuffing // food to glowYou might think me remembering a full week ahead makes it all okay. You would be wrong. I know you Americans reading this are nodding your head in agreement as you sip your pumpkin spice latte: There are lists to make, the house to clean and decorate, food for a long weekend of entertaining to prep and stash in the the freezer {or a neighbour’s freezer, if you are feeding them too}. Oodles of things to do, in fact. I feel a bit stressed just thinking of how it could be if I still lived there. I am certain that I would be the Thanksgiving equivalent of a bridezilla. Not one freaking over a botched manicure, I hasten to add. Freaking over a botched  gravy would be more my speed. Not if I try this one from Katie at The Muffin Myth though: Bookmarked and ready to try.

butternut squash stuffing stacks // food to glow

butternut squash stuffing stacks from 2013

Last year – also a kale and squash recipe! – I was unaccountably early rather than late for Thanksgiving. I felt very smug in 2013, my fridge and freezer bulging with seasonal bits and bobs rather than the usual blocks of tofu and {deliberately} fermenting pots of this and that. How I smiled at the tray of Kale Stuffing Butternut Squash Stacks, the homemade sweet potato casserole with its topping of vegan marshmallows, the box of trimmed Brussels sprouts. I think I even had the start of this Winter Vegetable Gratin with Truffle ‘Cream’. There was perhaps a supermarket goodie or two. Hey, I was working! But this year, I am only just now thinking what I might do.

Although the full menu for our tiny gathering is still in its formative stage, I do know this dressing/stuffing {same thing} will be on the menu. As well as a yummy sprout dish that went down very well in the development stage {or the ‘cobbling together stage’ as it is known around here}. I will post that next. It may convert a few sprout haters. Or at least that is the aim.

Until then, here’s my savoury, slightly sweet and tangy dressing recipe for you to peruse. It looks a bit ingredient -heavy, but I promise it is very straightforward, and uses easily-found ingredients. I have also put in an option to make this as a main course. Which I might just do myself on the Big Day. Which is now Saturday. Oh gah, I’m so confused!

Any of you ex-pats want to offer advice on how you celebrate your home country holidays? And for all of you, what is your favourite holiday and holiday menu? Any must-try dishes?

squash and kale stuffing // food to glow

One-Pan Squash and Kale Dressing {Stuffing}

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

A few notes before you read on. Although I use focaccia and seeded wholegrain breads in this recipe, it is perfectly amenable to being gluten-free. Or use any good bread{s} you fancy. And do mix and match with the herbs: I use parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme {it is hard to read this without humming the Simon and Garfunkel song} as well as oregano, ginger and paprika, but adjust to your own liking; I was just trying to slightly imitate – in a fresh way – the dried spices sometimes used in bought poultry seasoning. And lastly, because this is vegan, do taste and adjust the seasoning of the mixed stuffing before popping it in the pan: no raw eggs to fear here.

113g {3 cups} focaccia or ciabatta, small cubes – roughly ½ inch square

225g {6 cups} seeded wholegrain bread, small cubes

3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling the dish for baking

225g {2 & 2/3 cups/8 oz} leeks, cleaned and chopped

150g {3 stalks} celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

275g {2 ¼ cups/9.5 oz} winter squash of choice*, small cubes

1 heaped tbsp each chopped oregano, thyme and rosemary

1 heaped tsp chopped sage

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp white pepper

100g {1 & 2/3 packed cups} kale, washed and chopped

1 tsp lemon zest

60g {1/2 cup} broken pecan pieces

60g {1/4 cup} dried sour cherries or {unsweetened if possible} dried cranberries, rehydrating in water with a little lemon juice added if the berries are very dry looking

2 tbsp chopped parsley

337ml (1 ½ cups} vegetable stock or vegetarian chicken-flavoured stock {I use Marigold Swiss Bouillon Vegetable Stock powder mixed up with water} – with a little extra if needed

2 tbsp butter, coconut oil, vegan butter or oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds {optional}


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F. When warmed, tumble the bread cubes onto two trays and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. This is to dry out the cubes. You could instead leave the cubes out overnight to dry. Set aside in a very large mixing bowl. Increase the oven temperature to 180C/350F.

2. To keep this as a one-pan dish, heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet or stove-to-oven casserole dish {I use the latter}. Otherwise use a large frying pan. Once heated to low-medium temperature add the leeks, celery and garlic, sautéing until the vegetables have softened – about five minutes. Add the squash, herbs, paprika and pepper. Saute gently for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add in the kale, with a splash of water, and really turn everything over. Add in the pecans, sour cherries, lemon zest and parsley. Give it a thorough but gentle mix. Let the mixture cool slightly then tip into the bowl with the bread cubes and use your hands or two large spoons to toss everything together.

squash and kale stuffing // food to glow3. Melt the butter – if using – and set aside.

4. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel, lightly oil it and scrape in the bread and vegetable mixture. If you are using a different pan for baking, slick the bottom and sides with a little oil. Now carefully add the stock, ensuring that you anoint the whole pan evenly with the stock.

5. Use a pastry brush to gild the top of the stuffing mixture with butter or oil, as desired. Sprinkle over the seeds, if using. Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Making ahead: Cook the vegetables and herbs up to two days ahead, adding the pecans, lemon zest and parsley on the day {fine to add the cherries earlier}. Keep the dried bread separately, mixing together with the vegetables and topping with stock up to 2 hours in advance of baking.

Leftovers? This is scrummy reheated gently under foil, with little hollows scooped and eggs cracked into them. Or, steam slices of stuffing, finishing off under the grill or in a hot and oiled pan to get a nice crisp crust.

squash and kale stuffing // food to glowAs A Main Course: This is of course excellent stuffed into pre-cooked and hollowed winter squashes and presented as a main course.

Depending on how many you are serving, and the size of your squashes {aim for the size of a large grapefruit}, you will need to cut back on the ingredient amounts. As a guide, about half the recipe as listed should fill 8 onion squash halves {i.e. 4 whole}. But this is really your call. For my squashes I halved the squashes lengthways and scooped out the seeds. I then popped them cut-side down into an oven dish, adding enough water to come up about ½ an inch. I baked them – covered – for about thirty minutes, until the inside was soft enough to hollow out some more to make room for plenty of stuffing {watch though as they are hot!}. I piled in the stuffing mix, slicked it with butter and baked with foil on for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 15. This is just a guide. You may need more or less time, covering as needed to prevent the top cooking too quickly. Oh, and just to say that I would cut the pieces smaller next time to better fit the squash. And take pictures when there is still light outside! DSC_0157squash collageFancy a cornbread stuffing? Try this one from last year. It is what I usually serve at Christmas.

* Winter squashes to use include butternut, acorn, delicata, red kuru, and onion squash. Here is a pictorial guide to winter squash varieties. I used butternut squash for the stuffing and acorn squash and onion squash to stuff for the main course.

More festive side dishes: Fennel and Maple Roasted Carrots + Creamed Kale Two Ways, Orange and Spice Sweet Potto Casserole {Souffle}Southern Cornbread StuffingButternut Squash Stuffing StacksSauteed Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Sage CrumbsCranberry and Apple Sauce + Fresh Cranberry and Pomegranate RelishPear and Cranberry SlawWinter Slaw with Pears and Cranberries {these two are different!}. And a couple of desserts: Chocolate-Chestnut Truffle Cake, Chocolate-Walnut Pumpkin Pie, Sticky Three-Ginger Gingerbread with Vanilla-Apple Compote


23 thoughts on “One-Pan Squash and Kale Dressing with Sour Cherries and Pecans {Stuffing}

  1. Lovely, can I come to dinner??
    However much you feel that you are not ready, I am pretty much 100% sure that dinner at your house will be WONDERFUL 😀😀😀😀
    I always remember a christmas day in Dubai when the pest control guys arrived in the middle of our christmas lunch! Obviously, now, there’s christmas stuff everywhere in the UAE, but 30 years ago there wasn’t any 😕

    1. They must’ve wondered what in the world was going on. Thanks for the sweet comment, Elaine. 🙂

  2. Kellie, I was wondering where you’ve been. 😉 I really love the pecans and sour cherries in this stuffing. And if you think you’re behind in your Thanksgiving blog contributions, then I’m waay behind. I feel so disconnected from these American-only holidays over here!

    1. I kind of know what you mean. Unlike Katie at The Muffin Myth, I don’t have any ex-pat friends or colleagues to generate that essential holiday spirit. I wish it were different! If you are celebrating, I hope it is memorable. 🙂

  3. MealsWithMel says:

    Looks tasty!! Beautiful pictures too!!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Mel.

  4. Ooooh, this stuffing is calling my name! As an expat I miss my at-home holidays, but also have the benefit of a tight-like-family group of expat friends and we do all the holidays together. Since I’m Canadian we celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October but since most of our friends here are American I get to celebrate it all over again next week. This means more pie! More stuffing! More goodness! This stuffing reminds me of my mom’s family stuffing which is made with mashed potatoes in it. Squash and kale looks so lovely and seasonal, I can’t wait to try this one! And thanks for linking to my gravy, you’re a gem!

    1. Ah thanks for your kind words, Katie. I feel honoured this reminds you of your Mother’s stuffing. 🙂 I have also been a little jealous over the years that you have other North American friends to club in with to really do the holidays in style. And two Thanksgivings at that! Enjoy next week’s one. And I am really going to make your gravy. It looks perfect for us. 🙂

  5. lizzygoodthings says:

    Welcome back, Kellie… love this recipe… and happy Thanksgiving to you my friend.

  6. tastetingle says:

    This looks so delicious! So beautifully presented too 😍👌

  7. narf77 says:

    The best way to stop the stress of a variety of holidays is to move away from the epicentre of said holidays. I am planning on upping sticks and heading to Antarctica for the foreseeable future. No holidays there I am assured 😉 Glad to see you back and on form Ms Kelly 🙂

  8. This looks delicious!

  9. Sally says:

    Oh Kellie you are a genius. Looking for an alternative vegetarian stuffing for veg that didn’t always contain rice or lentils. This is it. Veggie teen will be delighted.

    1. Thanks! Dried bread, stock and some herbs are a good template with which to get creative. I bet some of your market-bought vegetables would be so fab in here. 🙂

  10. Urvashi Roe says:

    Stunning. As an expat in Japan we used to seek out everything British at the British Council. At the time – some 17/18 years ogo – it was the ONLY place you could eat a roast dinner and get a pint of guinness. Bliss.

  11. That sounds and looks so good. You alwasy come up with things I would never have thought of Kellie even though I use the same ingredients.

  12. Love the look of this stuffing! I’ve never called it dressing though, must be an American thing! 🙂

  13. Deena Kakaya says:

    Ah, now this is just so much prettier, tongue tingling and livelier than the usual dry-looking stuffing stuff out there. It looks easy to do to, so I am sharing this with my sister in law for Christmas time. Thank you! x

  14. Looks really taste and great camera work! Keep up the good work and come take look at my blog if you have some spare time!

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