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Broccoli Rabe Holiday Stuffing Cups

Who can resist holiday stuffing? Not in our house! But it’s always nice to have a tasty lower-calorie version. (To make this stuffing recipe even lower in calories, an alternative is to make it with low-calorie bread.) These stuffing cups are baked until golden brown and are filled with traditional flavors and some surprising ingredients, like aquafaba, which acts as a binder. Have your stuffing and eat your vegetables too with this cozy vegetarian and vegan-friendly option.

Recipe by Shannon Summers

Shannon Summers, a master certified health education specialist (MCHES) with a M.Ed. in health education, as well as a B.S. in nutritional science, believes that better health starts with a few simple steps, like integrating more plant-based foods into your diet. The voice behind Homegrown Provisions, Shannon and her family live and work on a lavender farm in western Washington.

Serves: 4
Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hour 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 cups firm sandwich loaf bread, cubed*
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup crimini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • 2 cups broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped (florets and trimmed stems; save large leaves for Broccoli Rabe Recovery Juice)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse grain sea salt, plus a pinch for sweating the mushrooms
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp poultry seasoning, or ground sage of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ½ tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp pear juice
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba**
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar or champagne vinegar
  • Vegetarian and/or vegan-friendly white wine (optional)
  • Fresh sage leaves (optional garnish)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cubed bread to the sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool. Once the bread is out of the oven, turn up the oven temperature to 350°F.

2. While the bread is toasting, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the minced shallots until translucent, then add in the celery and diced apple and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the shallot/celery/apple mixture with a slotted spoon and place in a medium-sized bowl.

3. Add a small splash of white wine (or you can use leftover aquafaba) to the skillet to deglaze. Then add the diced mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes, adding a pinch of sea salt and white pepper near the end sautéing. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and add them to the shallot mixture.

4. Deglaze the skillet again with a little white wine and add the chopped broccoli rabe. Sauté the rabe for 2-3 minutes, then remove the rabe and add to the shallot/mushroom mixture. Bonus: reserve a few sautéed broccoli rabe florets for topping.

5. Add poultry seasoning, salt and walnuts (optional) to the sautéed vegetable mixture and gently stir to coat. Then add the maple syrup and pear juice, and stir to coat. Set aside.

6. Using a stand mixer with a wire whip or hand mixer with a whisk, beat the aquafaba with cream of tartar or champagne vinegar for approximately 10 minutes, or until peaks form. Set aside.

7. In a large bowl, add the sautéed vegetables and toasted bread. (Set aside the parchment lined baking sheet.) Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to gently combine. Then gently fold in the whipped aquafaba and evenly and well coat the mixture.

8. Evenly spoon the stuffing into well-greased ramekins. Gently pressing the initially spooned stuffing down with the back of your spoon, then generously adding more stuffing to top. (Do not pack the top of the stuffing cups too tightly.)

9. Cover each stuffing cup loosely with tin foil. Place the cups on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes. The last 5 minutes of baking, remove the foil (for a slightly crisp, golden brown stuffing top) and carefully add any reserved broccoli rabe florets for a pop of color.

10. Allow the stuffing cups to cool on a wire cooling rack before topping with sage leaves as a garnish and serving.

Cook’s Note:

* This recipe is lower in calories than the average bread stuffing, which comes in at over 400 calories for an 8 oz. serving. For an even lower calorie option, select low-calorie bread (estimated 175 calories per 8 oz. serving).

** For an easy access option, obtain the aquafaba from the liquid/brine found in a can of chickpeas.

For a completely vegan option, select vegan bread and wine of your choice.

Time Saver: If you are using a stand mixture to whip the aquafaba, simply start the process while the bread is toasting; allowing the stand mixer to do all of the hard work, while you sauté the vegetables and proceed with the rest of the recipe. This should cut down on about 10 minutes of hands-on time.

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