Wild Rice, Macadamia, and Fall Fruit Stuffing

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Stuffing, Reimagined

Thanksgiving stuffing gets an ingredient and nutritional makeover! This is definitely not a classic stuffing. Instead, this version is loaded with flavor, texture, and whole food ingredients to nourish the body. I can guarantee you'll come back to this one again and again; I know we certainly have.

I always saw classic stuffing as a kid and thought it was just the weirdest. Soggy bread crumbs stuffed inside a turkey's cavity?? I could just never wrap my head around it. It wasn't until I started making my own stuffings, based in chewy wild rice instead of bread, that I got excited about them. This version unites long-grained wild rice, succulent caramelized onions, crunchy buttery macadamias, sweet fall fruits, and fragrant seasonal herbs for a holiday-worthy dish.

Healthy, vegan Thanksgiving feast

Macadamias in Stuffing?

I'm guessing you've never heard of a macadamia stuffing before. My wonderful friends at Mauna Loa Macadamias deserve full credit for this awesome idea. They asked me to work on a macadamia stuffing recipe this holiday season and I was immediately smitten with the idea. I'm so excited for you to try this!

As you know, macadamias are my absolute most favorite nut. They have just the right amount of crunch, and a beautiful, delicate, almost buttery flavor. I have so many macadamia recipes on this blog already, both sweet and savory. I love to use them in everything from blondies to granola to salads to sweet potato dishes. I even have a macadamia taco filling and a macadamia flatbread!

I have to say, though, that this stuffing might just be my favorite macadamia recipe. I know pecans or walnuts might be more traditional, but they both tend to get a little soggy. I'm quite sure I'll be putting macadamias in my stuffing from now on, and I'll certainly be making this stuffing recipe at least a few times each fall!

Wild rice stuffing with macadamias and seasonal fruit

Make It Work for YOU

Some of you may take issue with this, but I've actually listed this recipe in the "main course" category since that's how we've been enjoying it. This stuffing is just so satisfying and hearty, and has a lot of protein thanks to the macadamias. Paired with some roasted veggies or a big harvest salad, it makes for a great fall dinner.

That said, stuffing is so versatile and you can use this dish in many different ways. Serve it as a side for Thanksgiving, or stuff it into roasted squash for a stunning plant-based centerpiece. Mix it into salads for extra texture, or bring it as a healthy lunch option. The recipe makes a pretty big batch, probably enough for 3-4 main courses, 6-8 hearty sides, or 10-12 small sides, although you can certainly double it if you need to feed a crowd or want leftovers (yes please!).

Make-Ahead Tips

Good news! This recipe is very make-ahead friendly. You can cook the rice and prepare up through Step 6 several days in advance. Store the rice mixture in a sealed container in the fridge. Before serving, transfer the rice back to a skillet and start at step 7: add the macadamias and apple, cooking for just several minutes to bring the flavors together and soften the apple. If needed, add another splash of apple cider to the rice to re-moisten it. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh fall fruits.

Healthy, vegan stuffing for Thanksgiving

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Long-grained wild rice. I love this recipe most with a really long-grained, dark-colored rice. Most artisan grocery stores will have wild rice in their bulk bins so you can buy only as much as you need. Make sure to check the cooking instructions, since the amount of water you use and the cooking time can both vary considerably.
  • Sweet onion
  • Cooking oil of choice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh rosemary, marjoram, sage, and thyme. Hint: many stores sell these herbs together in a single, less expensive pack. Keep your eyes out for "Bouquet Garnis", "Stuffing Herbs", "Turkey Roasting Herbs", etc.
  • Dried cranberries. Try to find ones that are unsweetened or fruit juice sweetened. Dried cranberries can hide a lot of sneaky sugar.
  • Apple cider
  • Optional: cayenne. The intention is not to make the stuffing spicy, but rather to provide a very subtle warmth in the background, so use just the tiniest bit. You can always taste it and add more if desired.
  • Macadamias. Mauna Loa, of course! My greatest love!
  • Apples
  • Fresh cranberries. Optional, but they make for such a beautiful, seasonal garnish.
  • Persimmon. Another optional but special seasonal treat.

Wild rice stuffing on a Thanksgiving table

Closing Thoughts

Doesn't this comforting stuffing seem so perfect for Thanksgiving or any fall meal? It has such cozy, decadent vibes, yet is made with whole food ingredients to nourish the body. This is definitely not your average stuffing, and while it requires a bit of time to make, I can assure you it's worth every second. Let's say goodbye to bland, soggy stuffings and instead embrace this plant-based, flavorful, nutritious version.

With ingredients and flavors like this, I plan to be making this one at least several times each fall!

Wild rice stuffing, green beans, roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Chaider Rum Punch

Pumpkin Hummus

Apple Cider Harvest Salad

If Green Beans Went to Southern Spain

No-Bake Ginger Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with Mauna Loa Macadamias. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Wild Rice, Macadamia, and Fall Fruit Stuffing

Filled with festive harvest flavors, this holiday-appropriate stuffing is much better for the body than a traditional stuffing. It features chewy wild rice, crunchy macadamias, sweet seasonal fruits, and aromatic fall herbs. Make this hearty dish for Thanksgiving or even all fall long!

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c long-grained wild rice
  • Sweet onion
  • Cooking oil of choice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of fresh marjoram
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 c unsweetened (or fruit juice sweetened) dried cranberries
  • 2 c apple cider
  • Optional: pinch of cayenne
  • 8 oz Mauna Loa Hawaiian Sea Salt Macadamia Nuts
  • One large or two small apples
  • Handful of fresh cranberries
  • Fuyu persimmon

Instructions

  1. Cook the wild rice as directed.
  2. While the rice cooks, dice the sweet onion and place it in a very large skillet. Sauté the onion in a dash of cooking oil over medium heat until caramelized, adding generous salt and pepper.
  3. While the onion cooks, mince the rosemary, marjoram, and sage very finely, and strip the thyme leaves from their stems.
  4. Once the onion is caramelized, decrease the heat to medium/low. Add the herbs and dried cranberries to the skillet, then carefully pour the apple cider over the top. Cook the cider down until it has reduced by half, forming a rich, sweet reduction.
  5. When the rice is finished cooking, add it to the skillet and toss, allowing the rice to absorb the flavorful cider reduction. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Optional: add a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste. The intention is not to make the stuffing spicy, but rather to provide a very subtle warmth in the background.
  7. Chop the macadamias coarsely and add them to the rice.
  8. Dice the apple and add it to the rice.
  9. Cook the completed stuffing over low heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apple is just barely tender and all of the cider has been absorbed.
  10. Transfer the stuffing to a serving dish and garnish with fresh cranberries, fuyu persimmon slices, and additional herbs.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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