Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice Cranberries and Almonds
On Monday, I was on a flight to Nashville, doing my in-flight thing (a.k.a. attempting to negotiate the placement of my laptop, coffee, and baggie of plane peanuts on my tiny tray table), when the woman two rows behind me began complaining rather conspicuously that she had no idea what to make for Thanksgiving this year. Her daughter’s new boyfriend was gluten free and her son had become a vegan. It took all of my powers of self-restraint not to turn around and call back to her, “Hi! I know what you should make. Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds!”
A warm and cozy slow cooker recipe that will leave your oven available and can be made completely in advance, this Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds could be the Switzerland of Thanksgiving sides. It’s universal, plays nicely with everyone, looks absolutely beautiful, and as you know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting Swiss chocolate or cheese fondue, it is DELICIOUS.
Dietary choices are a prevalent topic, to the extent that it’s become totally normal to discuss everything you may or may not choose to eat, while in the middle of eating something else. I have a friend who is vegetarian, one allergic to dairy, and one with celiac disease (gluten free), so I’ve become more accustomed to thinking through the dishes I bring to group gatherings. I want all of my friends to be able to participate in the meal.
While dietary restrictions can be a cause for chagrin (as the women behind me on the flight will no doubt tell you), the experience has also made me more aware of the wonderful, diet-friendly recipes that ARE available for all to enjoy, not simply the ones that aren’t.
Per usual, I shopped for the ingredients for this crock pot stuffing at Pick ‘n Save, my local grocery store with whom I partner each month to create fresh, seasonal recipes. The store has launched a new line of products called Simple Truth that are minimally processed and designed to make healthy eating easier and more affordable. For today’s Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds, I used the low-sodium chicken broth, and if you need to keep the recipe strictly vegan or vegetarian, the vegetable broth is a perfect choice for the recipe too.
Even if none of your guests are vegan or gluten free or anything other than hungry, I’m going to declaratively state that you should make this Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds recipe anyway. The nutty wild rice and cranberries taste of everything autumn, the almonds add a pleasing crunch, and the mushrooms give the stuffing savoriness and depth. If the flavor alone doesn’t convince you, let the simplicity of the prep. This is quite possibly the easiest Thanksgiving stuffing you will ever make!
A word to the wise, if you use a 3-quart slow cooker (as I did), it will be VERY full. Don’t panic—everything fits, you just need to stir gently. This crock pot stuffing also saves beautifully, so in addition to being an easy holiday option, I can see it as go-to side dish for weeknight meals too.
Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries and Almonds
Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds. An easy, DELICIOUS gluten free stuffing recipe everyone can enjoy!
Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 hours (on low); 2-3 hours (on high)
Total Time: 5-6 hours (on low); 2-3 hours (on high)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, finely sliced
- 16 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked brown and wild rice blend, rinsed and drained
- 5 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and celery and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high, then add the mushrooms. Let cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a 3 or 4-quart slow cooker, stir together the wild rice blend and sautéed vegetables. Carefully pour in the chicken broth (if using a 3 quart slow cooker, it will be full nearly to the top). Gently stir, then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until the rice is tender. Turn off the slow cooker, then stir in the cranberries, sage, and thyme. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper as desired. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top. Serve warm.
- Leftover Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to two months.
- Make it ahead: the celery, mushrooms, and onions can be sautéed up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Add all the ingredients to the crock pot just before cooking.
Serving Size: 1 (of 12, about 1 cup)
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 218
- Total Fat: 6g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 248mg
- Carbohydrates: 38g
- Fiber: 7g
- Sugar: 3g
- Protein: 7g
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