Kale and Butternut Squash Stuffing

Swapping traditional Thanksgiving foods with healthier options can be easy, delicious and just as satisfying. Creating a dish that satisfies everyone’s dietary restrictions can be difficult. It can be easy to split a recipe into different parts to make one part the traditional way and the other with a special-diet twist.

The recipe below already satisfies dietary needs for anyone who is lactose-free or diabetic. Anyone who deals with diabetes during the holidays needs to remember that moderation is key to enjoying your favorite foods. If you are looking for a vegetarian dish, remove the Italian turkey sausage and swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth. For anyone that is gluten-free, simply replace the traditional bread choice for your favorite gluten-free option and make sure the broth you choose is gluten-free. Everyone will be thankful they can add stuffing to their plate on Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan

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kale and butternut squash stuffing


  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
  • 3 small leeks, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 loaf stale whole-wheat bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for vegetarian)

Kale and Butternut Squash Stuffing

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two small or one large casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, if using. Cook until browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon.
3. Add butternut squash, leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook until leeks are soft, stirring occasionally. Add kale, cover, and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until wilted.
4. Add bread and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and toss to distribute oil. Whisk egg and chicken broth together in a separate bowl, and then add to pot. Toss bread mixture around to coat and cook for about a minute, until liquid is absorbed.
5. Add stuffing to prepared casserole dish(es) and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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  1. This is my favorite dressing ever! I’ve noticed different versions and some exact versions—all list 5 T of olive oil in the ingredients but use only 4 T in the instructions. None of the recipes list the number of calories per serving which I would love to know. Although the ingredients do not list what size loaf of bread to use, I’ve tried both 12 ounces and 16 ounces and found the sixteen ounces absorbed the broth much better. I also use a 1 lb bag of frozen, cubed butternut squash because it is so much easier. For the leeks, I use only the white and light green parts as noted in similar recipes. If anyone is able to find the number of calories with these specific ingredients, I would greatly appreciate the info!

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