Wild rice mushroom stuffing?!
I know, I know, but stick with me, okay?
Beleive me, I LOVE a good bread stuffing as much as everyone else. In fact, it might be one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. Still, variety is the spice of life, my friends!
Why not try some wild rice mushroom stuffing in addition to your regular bread stuffing, or instead of? I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
The advantage to the wild rice mushroom stuffing is that it can be made up to a few days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave or the oven the day of.
I have yet to still host a Thanksgiving – maybe one day, when I have a larger kitchen and dining room. BUT I have helped out on Thanksgiving day enough to know how much work goes into it and how many dishes need to be washed and how much space is required. If you can check off one of the main side dishes a day or two in advance then you’ll be one step ahead the day of.
OR you could help your host out and offer to bring this wild rice mushroom stuffing with you. All you have to do is heat it up when you get there! You’ll pretty much be a hero!
What I love about this wild rice mushroom stuffing with bacon is all of the flavors and textures it has. You’ve got the tender, starchy chewy short grain rice mixed with the chewiness and heartiness of the wild rice – makes for a great texture combo. Then there are some sweet, tender apples, with meaty mushrooms and onions, crunchy celery. All of the classic herbs make and appearance: sage, thyme, and rosemary are what help to make this stuffing extra flavorful. Then we top it all off with some crispy apple wood smoked bacon for a little salty crunch! Now tell me that doesn’t sound good?!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there are some dried cherries in there for an extra fruitiness. Of course, you could use dried cranberries or rasins, if you prefer. Just don’t leave them out like I almost did because they plump up and get all juicy and delicious! YUM!
The other great thing about serving this wild rice mushroom stuffing is that it’s gluten free. Because we all know how sad it is to miss out on stuffing during a Thanksgiving feast!
Let’s talk about stuffing vs dressing for a minute, shall we?!
Technically stuffing is what you stuff inside a turkey while dressing is what you eat on the side that hasn’t been cooked in the turkey. Technically, as I wrote this recipe it is dressing, but let’s be real, unless you’re a major food nerd (like me) everyone calls it stuffing, regardless of how it was cooked, right?!
I did not test this wild rice mushroom stuffing as actual stuffing, but I don’t see why you couldn’t stuff some of it in the bird and cook it. I think with those extra turkey juices soaking into all of the rice it would be quite tasty. Someone please try it and let me know how it goes!!!! Kthanks!
I hope you enjoy this wild rice and mushroom stuffing as much as we did. TBH if you really can’t wrap your head around rice stuffing in place of bread stuffing just make this as a side dish because it’s delicious and deserves to be on your Thanksgiving table next to your regular bread stuffing! You don’t even have to call it stuffing. Just call it tasty wild rice stuff with bacon!
If you are looking for a healthier take on traditional bread stuffing try my healthier stuffing, made with sprouted bread and quinoa (not gluten free).
For more Thanksgiving sides try my gluten free green bean casserole, Brussels sprouts salad with warm bacon dressing, pumpkin scalloped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate, sweet potato casserole with spiced pecans, slow cooker sweet and spicy cranberry sauce, and roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts with pomegranate. (<- I just planned your entire Thanksgiving menu right here – except for the Turkey of course! LOL).
- 4½ cups low sodium chicken broth (or use half water, half broth)
- 1¼ cups short grain brown rice
- 1¼ cups wild rice
- Bacon & Veggies
- 6 pieces of apple wood smoked bacon (really any bacon will do but that apple wood smoked bacon goes well with the apples)
- 1 Onion
- 12 ounces Mushrooms, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon teaspoons each fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary, chopped (or sub 1 teaspoon dried)
- 4 stalks Celery, chopped
- 2 to 3 sweet baking Apples, chopped (honeycrisp, Jonathans, golden delicious, etc)
- ⅔ cup dried fruit: cranberries, cherries, or raisins
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
- Cook the rice: Add the chicken broth to a large stock pot or dutch oven that has a tight fitting lid (use one that is larger than you really need for the rice. We will use it to mix everything together at the end instead of dirtying another bowl). Bring the broth to a boil and add the rice, stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Fluff with a fork and keep the lid on the pot to keep the rice warm.
- Cook the bacon: While the rice is cooking heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over low heat. Add the bacon strips and cook until crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes per side. Remove and drain the bacon on a paper towel, allow to cool. DO NOT DISCARD BACON GREASE
- Cook the veggies: To the pan with the bacon grease add the onions and mushrooms. Saute until they are tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the herbs, garlic, celery, and apples. Saute until the celery is tender but still crunchy and the apples are mostly tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Finish: Transfer the veggies to the pot with the cooked rice. Add the dried cranberries/cherries/raisins salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. I usually end up adding a lot extra dried thyme, sage, and rosemary here, especially the sage.
- Serve: Transfer the stuffing to a serving bowl or platter and crumble the bacon on top, serve immediately. If not serving right away you can easily transfer it to a casserole dish and reheat in the oven. (<- this would also work if you want to make the stuffing a day or two ahead of time, it reheats really nicely)
-chop any of the veggies up to 1 day ahead of time - EXCEPT for the apple, it will brown
-Make the entire stuffing dish up to 1 o 2 days ahead of time. Reheat in an oven or even a microwave. Crumble the bacon just before serving
Recipe heavily adapted from Giada De Laurentiis