How to make your stuffing recipe unique this Thanksgiving

Stuffing is a staple of Thanksgiving dinner, but these creative recipes can make it even better than before. (Leanne Harloff/Emerald)

Thanksgiving is so close you can almost smell it. In less than a week, the usual favorites are sure to be seen on tables across the country: mashed potatoes, turkey (or Tofurky), cranberry sauce, mouthwatering stuffing and more. Many families alter some dishes slightly to add a twist to classic recipes. These three unique stuffing dishes will provide you with new ideas to bring home for Thanksgiving this year.

Mozzarella Filled Stuffing Balls

What you’ll need:

  1. 3 cups stuffing, cold (here’s a simple recipe for classic stuffing)
  2. 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  5. 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  6. Vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. Cut the mozzarella into 16 cubes
  2. Beat egg in a small bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs with Parmesan
  4. In your hand, take a small ball of stuffing and wrap it around a cube of Mozzarella
  5. Roll the stuffing into a ball
  6. Dip the ball into the egg and then cover it in the breadcrumb mixture
  7. Fry the ball in hot vegetable oil until browned
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

Tip: If you don’t want to fry these, you can just put the rolled stuffing balls in the oven or microwave for a few minutes to melt the Mozzarella. If using this technique, don’t add the egg or breadcrumbs.

Vegan Sourdough Stuffing

What you’ll need:

  1. 12 loosely packed cups of sourdough bread (To get this, cut 2 medium-sized loaves of sourdough bread into small squares)
  2. ¼ cup olive oil
  3. 1 cup onion, diced
  4. 1 cup celery, diced
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 4 cups mushrooms, sliced
  7. 1 tablespoon thyme
  8. 1 tablespoon rosemary
  9. 1 tablespoon ground sage
  10. ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  11. 3 cups vegetable broth
  12. salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place sourdough cubes on a baking pan and place in oven until toasted golden brown (about 10-15 minutes)
  3. Remove cubes from oven and place in a mixing bowl
  4. In a large saucepan, add olive oil, onion, celery and garlic
  5. Sauté 5 minutes or until soft
  6. Add mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and ground sage
  7. Sauté 6 minutes or until mushrooms are softened
  8. Add broth and salt and pepper to taste
  9. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  10. Take off of heat and stir in bread cubes
  11. Place mixture into a baking dish and cover with foil
  12. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes
  13. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes
  14. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!

Tip: If the mixture seems too watery before baking, add more bread cubes to the mix. Also, feel free to use other types of bread if you don’t want to use sourdough. Any kind of bread can be prepared in the same way.

Stuffing Muffins with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

What you’ll need:

  1. Mashed potatoes (here’s a simple recipe for classic mashed potatoes)
  2. Gravy (here’s a simple recipe for classic gravy)
  3. 8 cups of bread cubes
  4. 3 tablespoons salted butter
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 5 cups celery, diced
  8. 1 teaspoon thyme
  9. 1 teaspoon rosemary
  10. 3 cups vegetable broth

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place bread cubes on a baking pan and place in oven until toasted golden brown, about 10 minutes
  3. Remove cubes from oven and place in a mixing bowl
  4. In a large saucepan, add butter, onion, garlic and celery
  5. Sauté 10-15 minutes or until soft
  6. Stir in thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste
  7. Add broth and simmer for 2 minutes
  8. Take off heat and slowly add bread cubes to broth mixture
  9. Grease a mini muffin tray
  10. Spoon stuffing mixture into each muffin spot
  11. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown
  12. Remove from oven and pop stuffing muffins out of the tray
  13. Place a scoop of mashed potato on top
  14. Drizzle on gravy and enjoy!

Tip: Try to slice the bread cubes smaller than normal so that they will stay together better as muffins. Also, use an ice cream scoop to put the mashed potatoes on top of the stuffing muffins for a perfectly rounded top.

Please consider donating to the Emerald. We are an independent non-profit dedicated to supporting and educating this generation's best journalists. Your donation helps pay equipment costs, travel, payroll, and more!