Let's be honest here, Thanksgiving is about stuffing. Stuffing the turkey, stuffing your face, and, of course, the perennial Thanksgiving side dish. Stuffing is easily one of the best, and most important, aspects of the holiday spread.
In creating this classic dish, many people opt for the boxed variety, and there's nothing wrong with that. It tastes delicious and, as it requires very little work, it's a great addition to an already taxing meal. That being said, however, it is not the only option for simple stuffing recipes if you're looking to try something different this Thanksgiving. If you're craving something more unusual — quinoa stuffing, anyone? — or you just want to try your hand at making your own perfect side dish, there are myriad recipes out there that will give you the satisfaction of knowing your stuffing did not come from a box, without giving you the ageda of adding another complicated concoction to your kitchen on such a high-stress cooking day.
So why not try one of these recipes, and cut corner somewhere else. I hears there are pretty fantastic frozen pies on the market.
With celery, carrots and lemongrass, I Am A Food Blog's lemongrass stuffing adds a fresh, unexpected flavor to your spread. Just take note — the recipe as written only serves two, so if you've hosting a bigger party, be sure to increase.
2Savory Crockpot Stuffing
Family Fresh Meals' crockpot stuffing uses all the classic flavors of a traditional recipe. And what's easier than using a slow cooker? Once you've browned your sausage and sautéed your veggies, just throw everything in the crockpot and your work is done.
3Apple Walnut Stuffing
This one is the best of both worlds. Budget Bites' apple walnut stuffing utilizes stuffing mix, but adds fresh flavors with sweet apple and walnuts, making it easy, cheap and delicious.
For a totally classic Thanksgiving stuffing, try Mel's Kitchen Café's stuffing recipe. To make even easier, you can do all of the time-taxing prep work on Wednesday night for smooth sailing on Thursday morning.
5Kale And Shitake Mushroom Stuffing
Sure, holidays are all about tradition, but that doesn't mean you can't spice them up with some current creations. Love and Lemons' kale and Shitake stuffing adds very 2015-esque flavors to the classic dish, which will please both your teenage nieces and nephews as well as your great aunts and uncles.
6Thanksgiving Stuffing Balls
There are two things that make Lick My Spoon's stuffing balls recipe fantastic. First, they're in ball form, which means they're unique, fun and easily served. Second, you can make them in advance to cut down on Turkey Day stress.
7Sausage And Mushroom Stuffing
She Wears Many Hats' sausage and mushroom stuffing uses unexpected flavors like soy sauce and ginger. And you only have to chop mushroom and onion, which makes this recipe easy peasy.
Ok, so this one requires a decent amount of dicing and chopping, but Budget Byte's artichoke stuffing raises the bar on Thanksgiving side dishes by adding artichokes and feta cheese. So enroll a sous chef to help with the chopping, and indulge in this amazing stuffing.
9Bundt Pan Stuffing
This one is kind of a cheat, but who cares. A Spicy Perspective's stuffing in a bundt pan uses a pre-made stuffing, but gives it original presentational flair. (If you do want truly homemade, make any of the other stuffings on this list, and then add the bundt pan layout.)
Easy and healthy, Food Doodles' quinoa stuffing pleases everyone, including any gluten-free guests you might be hosting this holiday.
11Slow Cooker Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
Another slow cooker recipe, Damn Delicious’ cranberry pecan stuffing mixes the sweet and the savory. And it’s ridiculously easy — throw it all in the crockpot and let it be.
12Wild Rice Stuffing
It's not hard, but this one does take some time, since you have to fully cook the rice before assembling the stuffing. Cooking for Keeps' wild rice stuffing brings something completely original to the table. Not only do you have rice, but with sausage, hazelnuts and cranberries, this dish is sure to please.
13Cornbread, Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
Or, if you want something utterly classic, you can also try Cooking For Keeps' stuffing with cornbread, sweet Italian sausage and cranberries. All of the traditional flavors, easily and deliciously assembled.
Images: Courtesy of Food Doodles (2); I Am A Food Blog; Family Fresh Meals; Budget Bites (2); Mel's Kitchen Café; Love and Lemons; Lick My Spoon; She Wears Many Hats; A Spicy Perspective; Damn Delicious; Cooking for Keeps (2)