Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing

This Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing is so flavourful. Crisp on top with a beautifully soft yet robust texture you won’t even notice it is vegetarian, let alone gluten-free.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

This is the stuffing recipe that I bring to our festive table every year. My mother-in-law is vegetarian so when Luke and I first started hosting Christmas at our house I put aside my trusted sausagemeat recipe and set about creating a new family favourite that everyone could enjoy.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

I actually prefer this Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing to my sausage version as there is always so much meat on the festive table from the turkey to the ham to the pigs in blankets. The addition of a herby hearty stuffing is exactly the right accompaniment to the rest of the meal.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

I use whole peeled vacuum packed chestnuts to make the stuffing which are so easy to use and are widely available at this time of year. They are also delicious directly from the packet and have a wonderful earthy flavour with a crumbly creamy texture. The chestnuts pair exceedingly well with the rustic notes of the fresh sage and the sweet onions.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

The only bit of faff in this recipe is caramelising the onions at the beginning of the recipe which is necessary to add the soft sweetness to the stuffing. Then all you need to do is mix the onions with the crumbled chestnuts, fresh breadcrumbs and fresh sage. A bit of seasoning, an egg to bind and a splash of double cream for moisture and there you have it. I usually prepare the stuffing a day or two in advance and pack it into an ovenproof dish to keep in the fridge ready for the oven. I don’t cook my stuffing in the bird cavity. Does anyone still do this anymore? But it’s lovely baked in a separate dish to create a crisp topping with the soft stuffing beneath.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

On the big day, after the turkey has been taken out of the oven, the stuffing goes in. It only needs to bake for 20 minutes so doesn’t clog up precious oven space for any length of time. I have also in the past formed stuffing balls with this recipe which also work really well as the surface of the balls get quite crunchy, a perfect contrast to the squishy insides.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

This Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing is like a very low key nut roast and it is certainly meaty enough in texture to be a pretty decent offering for your vegetarian guests at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Served alongside some powerhouse vegetable sides like the cauliflower cheese, which I also make every year, you can ensure everyone is going to be pretty well served at your festivities.

I urge you to give this Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing a try, it is so easy and delicious. If you do make this Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you make the recipe or use it as a building block for another delicious creation, I’d also love it if you tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing
This Gluten-Free Sage Chestnut Stuffing is so flavourful. Crisp on top with a beautifully soft yet robust texture you won’t even notice it is vegetarian.
Sage Chestnut Stuffing
Course side dish
Cuisine British
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large onions peeled and diced
  • 30 g unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon
  • 180 g whole peeled vacuum packed chestnuts
  • 15 g fresh sage leaves removed
  • 150 g gluten-free sourdough or the best gluten-free bread you can find
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Course side dish
Cuisine British
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large onions peeled and diced
  • 30 g unsalted butter + 1 teaspoon
  • 180 g whole peeled vacuum packed chestnuts
  • 15 g fresh sage leaves removed
  • 150 g gluten-free sourdough or the best gluten-free bread you can find
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sage Chestnut Stuffing
Instructions
  1. Place the onions in a saucepan along 30g butter and cook very gently for 30-40 minutes until the onions have caramelized.
  2. Tip the onions in a large mixing bowl then set aside whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Place the saucepan back on the heat and add the extra teaspoon of butter to melt. Drop the fresh sage into the saucepan and fry gently until starting to colour then remove and finely chop. Add to the onions.
  4. Break up the gluten-free sourdough and place in a food processor along with the chestnuts. Pulse briefly until they are roughly chopped. Then tip into the onions along with the beaten egg, double cream and seasoning.
  5. Press the stuffing into an ovenware dish and leave in the fridge overnight to set.
  6. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180°C/170°C fan/gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and crisp.

SHOP THE RECIPE

These Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts 180 g (Pack of 6) are gorgeous chestnuts, so yummy as a snack and so easy to use for this recipe.

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin which I bought when I was so jealous of everyone making their own houmous and pestos. That was easily over ten years ago and I use it nearly every day for all manner of kitchen jobs like whipping up dips, nut butters and flours and making breadcrumbs like for this recipe. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

The links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links given then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

Sage Chestnut Stuffing

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board with plates

Gluten-Free Yorkshire Puddings

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Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

 

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

I like to think of myself as a pretty easy eater. ‘I will pretty much eat anything’ I will self-righteously declare to all and sundry. But if you dare to serve me breakfast then you’ll generally find I throw a sudden and unpleasant temper tantrum.

You see in my opinion breakfast is the worst. An amalgamation of all my least favourite things to eat; some because I am intolerant – gluten, oats and to a lesser extent dairy and some because I outright think they are heinous devil foods – eggs, mushrooms and baked beans.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

So I have this horrid dichotomy of always waking up starving but delaying my body food until a more palatable meal comes my way, say lunch (although I am not averse to having lunch or even dinner for breakfast if I am feeling especially wanton).

Then, as the adverts say, I discovered protein shakes. Not smoothies, with endless helpings of fruit which dive me headlong into a sugar crash before 9am, but a less sweet and more nutrient packed shake. These take mere moments to prepare, just slam everything into the blender and whizz up, which I then consume whilst feeding Cole, clearing up his breakfast and getting him dressed. They are the ultimate fast food and don’t contain any ingredients that make my body want to heave – which can only be a good thing.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Whether you already have all these ingredients to hand depends on your love for health food shops. I am a bit of a health food junkie, in direct contrast to my cake obsession, and relish every nutrition fad going which means these shakes certainly don’t wuss out on that front. They are full of avocado, kale, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, hemp powder, flaxseed and of course matcha green tea powder and what made them an absolute winner for me was when I doused the whole lot in coconut water for liquidity. The result is creamy and refreshing and has been the perfect start to my day for a few weeks now.

Every ingredient in these Matcha Protein Breakfast Shakes has their place and are each filled with the most excellent health benefits, which you can google all about, plus because I have based the shake around protein, which you can find in the almond butter, chia seeds and hemp powder, it is so filling and satisfying.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

The star ingredient in this breakfast shake though is the matcha green tea powder which I have been experimenting with as an ingredient, mainly in my baking, for a while now. It has such a unique flavour that becomes quite addictive. I have found though that various brands have different strengths and at the moment I seem to have quite a strong one in my larder. So I only used one teaspoon of matcha powder here but certainly feel free to add more if you are not getting enough matcha through for your tastes. Or if you haven’t had matcha before then one teaspoon is certainly a good place to start. If you’re not sure where to get this or any other of the ingredients in the list start with amazon which stocks everything you need. The only other endorsement I can give this recipe is this – it has definitely made breakfast time a much happier place for me to be; meaning less temper tantrums.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

1 large shake

1 banana
½ avocado
25g kale (1 large handful), blanched
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
3 teaspoons hemp protein powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
250ml coconut water
3 ice cubes

  1. Bung it all in the blender, blitz until smooth and away you go!
Matcha-Protein-Breakfast-Shake

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese doesn’t have to be an inferior version. This cauliflower cheese is rich, creamy, cheesey and infused with roasted garlic, dijon mustard and plenty of white pepper.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board with plates

I’ve tried to steer clear of this subject on my blog since I began it as I didn’t want to have to pigeon hole myself into any particular diet or limit the recipes I wanted to share. However, I’ve realised I’ve been doing myself and you guys a disservice as it seems sometimes that I’ve told half a story. So, throwing two fingers up at my natural inclination to not bore you relentlessly by talking about me me me all the time, I thought sod it, it’s time to over-share.

The subject of gluten is deadly dull, too scientific, too all-encompassing and too been-there-done-that. There are bloggers, food writers, cooks and nutritionists that can talk about it much more eloquently than me. Don’t ask me why gluten is bad, why we were all fine with eating bread 50 years ago and now it’s suddenly poisonous to half the western world or even what gluten actually is, like a well meaning friend asked me the other day. I might have changed the subject rather quickly to talk about Daredevil on Netflix instead.

side shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish on a wooden board

However, today I’m coming clean to tell you about my destructive love affair with gluten and why you’ll find that if you look down my recipe list that perhaps 80% of the recipes on my blog are gluten-free (although steer clear of the biscuits and cakes section if you’re doing that). So as I wang on in these next few paragraphs and you are rolling your eyes at yet more nonsense about how gluten was created by the Devil to contaminate society and destroy us from within, just bear with me. Or just wait for my next post – it will probably involve copious amounts of white flour rendering all my woeful soul bearing here totally irrelevant.

About 10 years ago I felt really unwell. I won’t make more of it than it was but it was affecting my daily life. I felt completely lacklustre with no energy and was constantly sick, I had horrible digestive cramps and unless I ate every few hours I would pretty much collapse. It was odd, I was eating healthy and hearty meals, lots of vegetables, not much sugar. However, come 3pm every day I felt dreadful and I often had to leave work in the middle of the day as I simply couldn’t function. I remember being slumped on the bus on the way home, barely being able to keep my eyes open, feeling awful as I had no idea what was wrong. Naturally I thought I was allergic to work, like any normal twenty-two year old fresh out of university, and was wracked with concern that I was not destined be the dynamic cutting edge TV producer I had dreamed of being but would instead have to dump Luke and marry a millionaire pretty much in order to save my life.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish on a wooden board

I was in and out of the doctors, I had blood tests, allergy tests, thyroid tests. Everything was normal. My GP thought I might be clinically depressed and wrote me a prescription for anti-depressants. I threw it in the bin on the way out and got a new doctor.

At the same time though I had started to see a personal trainer and nutritionist who recommended cutting out gluten from my diet. I didn’t really know much about the gluten-free way of life back then. I had done Atkins like everyone else to lose weight but I didn’t really get the gluten thing. No one was really talking about it. Ha, how times have changed.

However, after a bit of trial and error (I was a bit of a slow student in that regard – what you mean I can’t eat flour tortillas) I gradually began to feel better. It didn’t take long for me to realise that come 3pm I was no longer crying or cramming a chocolate bar in my face to pick myself off the floor. My body ache and sickness had disappeared and with that I was able to be more productive at work and I started running and getting really rather healthy.

The End. I lived happily ever after and never did the big bad Gluten cross my path again, he was banished from my kingdom, Luke and I got married (sorry Mr Millionaire) and we had a wonderful baby boy whom we named Cole.

side shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board

Except real life dictates that there must be an epilogue. And so here it is. Since Cole was born in June last year gluten has made a major comeback for me. Turns out he wasn’t content sitting in the wings any longer but instead wanted a starring role yet again in my life. It hasn’t been just the odd cake or Yorkshire pudding because it’s the weekend but loaves of bread have passed these lips, a slip of the finger on my keyboard and packets of digestives have fallen helplessly into my Ocado shop.

I know I’m not alone when I confess that I have found these first few months of motherhood hard and as is my wont as a food loving, comfort eating, sugar addicted gal I have turned to food to get myself through it. Cake has been my 3am ally, tucked into the sleeves of my nursing chair and nibbled on throughout the night and toast has been my saviour when I’ve skipped another meal due to relentless crying, holding and feeding.

It is only now, 10 months in that I have calmed down enough to confront how sick I have been making myself. It’s not that anything has got any easier. Yes we have more of a routine but that goes out of the window more often that not. I have been getting more sleep but again just because I had a good seven hours uninterrupted last night doesn’t mean that I won’t be up and down every couple of hours tonight. However, for the most part it’s better.

Although, my health and my body have been left a wreck and I need to address the situation.

So having fessed up and outed myself as another one of those faddy diet people I would now like to talk to you about cauliflower cheese. Are you still with me? In the past I have always made cauliflower cheese with a traditional method of using a roux of butter, white flour and milk then adding the cheese. However because of this it has been a rare treat which only reared its delicious cheesy head at high days and holidays. Lately thought I have been whipping up a gluten-free version using only cornflour and milk instead of the roux. It’s so quick! Absolutely perfect as a smash and grab dinner for Cole and a lazy one for the two of us. The difference between the two versions is negligible and certainly one I can live with if it means I can have cauliflower cheese more frequently. It has even passed the Luke test who can be pretty severe in his judgment of gluten-free alternatives.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board

The secret to any decent cheese sauce I think is to use a mix of cheeses, here I’ve gone with mature cheddar for flavour and red Leicester for sweetness and colour, and then a dollop of Dijon mustard which really brings out the cheesiness. I’ve also begun adding roasted garlic into the mix which sounds like a bit of a faff but really all you need to do is pop the garlic cloves in the oven and they roast for 10 minutes as the cauliflower is put on to boil. However, I’m on a bit of a roasted garlic kick at the moment and so I’ve been roasting up whole heads at the weekend for use during my mid-week meals. They add a mellow flavour which gives the sauce depth. The final stir of the crème fraiche in at the end adds richness to the sauce and is completely optional but really why would you not?

Just the cornflour and the milk together is a little bland so the sauce does need these little extras to knock it up to the standard of a traditionally made sauce but it’s not any bother at all. There is no salt in this recipe as all my food is made with Cole in mind these days but you would probably like to add some to taste. It does make life easier when you find these gluten-free hacks that are actually just as delicious and the road back to my optimum self a little more straightforward to navigate.

Since posting this recipe in Autumn 2016, all my recipes going forward are gluten-free but I am still working on converting all the older recipes to gluten-free versions.

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese doesn't have to be an inferior version. This cauliflower cheese is rich, creamy, cheesey and infused with roasted garlic, dijon mustard and plenty of white pepper.
overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board
Course side dish
Cuisine British
Keyword cauliflower
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
4-6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 100 g red Leicester grated (+25g for grating on top)
  • 50 g mature cheddar grated (+25g for grating on the top)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves roasted and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
  • 15 g ground almonds
Course side dish
Cuisine British
Keyword cauliflower
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
4-6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 100 g red Leicester grated (+25g for grating on top)
  • 50 g mature cheddar grated (+25g for grating on the top)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves roasted and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
  • 15 g ground almonds
overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Separate the florets of the cauliflower then place in a large pan of boiling water. Bring up to a gentle simmer, then cook for 10 minutes. Drain and place the florets in an ovenproof dish.
  3. In a medium sized saucepan whisk the cornflour into the whole milk then once smooth switch on the heat and bring to a low boil.
  4. Sprinkle in the cheese and stir in until melted in.
  5. Add the mustard, pepper, garlic cloves and crème fraiche and stir in until it becomes a thick smooth sauce.
  6. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower florets then sprinkle on the extra cheese and the ground almonds.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes when the cheese should be bubbling and the almond breadcrumbs turning golden.

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Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Today I was very excited to make a silky warming butternut squash soup.  It was exactly what I was hankering for.  I took the stock out of the freezer last night, leered over the butternut in eager anticipation and fished out the chipotle from the very back of the cupboard.  I used a ladder and everything.  It was all systems go.  And then I smashed my kitchenaid blender.  I still don’t understand how as the glass on those things is about an inch thick.  But it briefly kissed the surface of my ceramic sink and shattered like the fragile heart of a tween.

So, basically, you are not getting soup and I’m getting a new blender.

courgette and aubergine3So stepping up to the plate is one of my absolute faves.  It’s probably the one I make the most often of a weekday.  So easy to throw together in the roasting tray straight after work.  Whack it in the oven, have a sit down with a glass of sparkling water, as it’s January, then serve with anything you like.  I have it the most with grilled lamb chops.  It might also be even better the next day taken out of the fridge and brought up to room temperature to have at your desk for lunch, I would never bother re-heating this.  I have eaten it with leftovers, with roast chicken, with garlicky yoghurt drizzled generously over and taken it to picnics.
courgette and aubergineDue to the amount of oil that the aubergine soaks up it’s very rich and so you don’t need a great deal, not that I usually let that stop me.

Oh, and the best thing about this dish… it doesn’t require a blender.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

2 aubergines
2 courgettes
60ml olive oil
¾ tsp sumac
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Wedge of lemon

  1. Top and tail the aubergine and courgette and then cut each one in half widthways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  2. Toss the wedges in the olive oil, sumac and plenty of seasoning and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Roast for 30-40 mins, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  3. Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven. Mix together with the herbs, squeeze the lemon wedge over and serve.