I’m not sure what it is about cauliflower, but this vegetable seems to be magical. It makes a great gluten-free replacement for flour when making pizza dough, and you can reduce your carb intake by swapping cauliflower rice for regular white rice. Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? Well, I wasn’t exactly sure it would be able to replace stale bread in stuffing–one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides. Spoiler alert: Cauliflower nailed it again! This Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing recipe is almost as good as the original (and, maybe a little bit better).
This year, skip the carbohydrate-rich sides and make our healthier Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing instead. It has all the same flavor as traditional stuffing, but it contains a fraction of the calories and significantly less carbohydrates. Your whole family will love this low-carb, gluten-free, Paleo stuffing! And, although we didn’t intend it to be, this recipe is also completely vegan and uses all plant-based ingredients. No one will notice, though, because the mushrooms create a beautiful texture, mimicking ground sausage.
The Key To Success With This Recipe
There’s always a tiny secret to making recipes like our Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing a complete success. For this recipe, our tip is really simple: Don’t crowd the sheet pan. Like any good sheet pan recipe, giving your stuffing space as it cooks will make the difference between beautifully caramelized vegetables and soft, soggy ones.
You see, vegetables are mostly made up of water. As you cook the veggies at a high temperature (like the 450 degrees F on this recipe), that water is released in the form of steam. When there’s no water left to release, the vegetables start to turn golden brown. They get extra-sweet and really go from being mediocre to incredible.
If you overcrowd the sheet pan, that steam gets trapped in between the vegetables. Instead of releasing into the oven, it creates moisture on the bottom of the sheet pan. So you won’t end up with beautifully caramelized vegetables in your Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing. The result will be sort of sad, soggy vegetables that just lack flavor overall. No one wants that!
When you spread your vegetables onto the sheet pan, give them some space–about a quarter inch between each veggie. You don’t have to measure. A good rule of thumb is if it looks overcrowded, it probably is! It’s definitely a bummer to have to wash a second sheet pan, but it would be significantly better to split your stuffing onto two sheet pans than to have less-than-steller stuffing.
Make It Your Own
Like we said, we didn’t aim for this recipe to be vegan, but it just turned out that way. If your family is full of red-blooded meat eaters and they wouldn’t stand for a vegan dish, feel free to add your favorite sausage or chopped bacon to this Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing. Make sure you fully cook it ahead of time. Then, you can add your cooked meat of choice when you turn the pan halfway through.
Or, if your favorite stuffing recipe includes cranberries, walnuts, or pecans, go ahead and add them in. You’ll want to add any dried fruit after the dish is finished cooking (similar to granola), but you can add the nuts halfway through when you turn the sheet pan.
Once you’ve finished making this Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing, let us know how it went! Drop us a line in the comments. We’d especially love to know if your family liked it better than traditional stuffing. I know that mine did!
Yield: 10 Servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 55 | Total Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g Protein: 1 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 112 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 2
- 1 large head Cauliflower (about 1-pound), cut into small florets
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery, small diced
- 1 cup finely chopped crimini mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower florets, onion, celery, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir the mixture until all of the vegetables are well coated in the seasonings.
- Spread the mixture in a single layer on the sheet pan, using two pans if necessary.
- Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway, until the cauliflower is golden brown and the onions are caramelized.
- Top the stuffing with the fresh parsley before serving.