Cauliflower and Hazelnut Stuffing
Continuing the test kitchen gluten-free stuffing adventures outlined in my previous post Gluten-Free Chicken Sausage and Apple Stuffing…
In my search for the ultimate gluten-free Thanksgiving stuffing recipes, I ventured into the breadless varieties. There are plenty of bread substitutes to use, and I think the key is to find something that is very mild in flavor to use as a “filler” amidst the aromatic cooked meat, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Popular choices I found include rice (wild rice or brown rice would be ideal), and the whole family of pulses (chickpeas or lentils sounded best). The one version I found most intriguing was using cauliflower. I had seen a recipe for cauliflower “rice” that I wanted to try, and figured that if rice was a good bread substitue for stuffing, why not cauliflower? I went online for some guidance and found this winner via Mark’s Daily Apple blog: Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing.
I adore the earthy flavors of mushrooms which pairs well with the mild crunch of the cauliflower that is slow roasted. But the real kicker of this recipe is the nutty-citrus-fresh-herb mixture that is tossed with the veggies to provide a fabulous texture. I tweaked the recipe to include the vegetables and fruit I had used for the Gluten-Free Chicken Sausage and Apple Stuffing because I had made both stuffings simultaneously. I personally just think stuffing needs to have apples! So here goes:
Cauliflower and Hazelnut Stuffing (recipe adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple)
Yields: 6 servings
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, halved
- 1 C chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
- 1 C chopped onion (about 1/2 large onion)
- 1/2 C apple, cored and diced
- 1 C hazelnuts
- 1/2 C + 2 T olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 C fresh parsley, rough chopped
- 1 T fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat 2 T olive oil and add the celery. Cook for about 2 minutes until it just begins to soften (about 2 minutes) and then add the onion and apples. Cook for two minutes, continue to stir frequently. Add the mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables and fruit are soft and aromatic. Remove from heat and combine with the cauliflower florets.
In a food processor, combine hazelnuts, juice of one lemon, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, parsley, salt and 1/4 C olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is well-blended and the hazelnuts are in tiny pieces, but it’s not nearly as smooth as a paste.
Spoon the mixture on the top of the cooked vegetables and fruit and mix well. Transfer to a greased 13×9″ baking pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to 375°F (190°C) and bake another 35 minutes, stirring several times so the stuffing does not burn or stick to the pan. At this point the hazelnuts will brown and lose moisture, becoming caramelized and a bit crunchy again.
This stuffing can be baked a day ahead and then covered and re-heated before serving. Right before serving, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon top and add more salt if needed.