Wild Mushroom & Swiss Chard Stuffing

This Wild Mushroom Stuffing, made with ground pork, Swiss chard, sage, and a mixture of sourdough and multigrain bread is a unique and flavorful take on a classic Thanksgiving side dish.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

For many of us, the holidays are a time for giving thanks, breaking bread and traditions. After all, aren’t the things we look forward to most during the holidays the things we always do. It’s the annual neighborhood parties, that particular movie the whole family will sit down for, or those dinner table staples that somehow always taste better when grandma makes them. Our traditions may look very different, but it’s the joy they bring us that is the commonality.

For me, food is, and always has been, a large part of my memories and traditions from childhood. I don’t often remember the details of various circumstances or events, but I always remember what was on the table.

I can recall standing on the step stool next to the kitchen counter alongside my grandma as she tossed together her famous potato salad, or topped her perfectly chewy, yet soft scotcharoos with melted chocolate. Not to mention her Thanksgiving stuffing that I still can’t seem to make the way she does.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

As I look back on the moments that made me the most proud, content or joyful, they’re always the times where I was in the kitchen. Again, often standing on a step stool stirring an old wooden spoon through a barely bubbling béchamel sauce as my mom made her famous White Lily biscuits.

(Oddly enough, many of my childhood memories in the kitchen are those where I’m next to a hot stove or using a paring knife. I don’t know what that says about my mother…but you take that up with her.)

That’s why, when I was asked by Simply Organic how I Cook for Joy, it was an easy answer. And my response is simple really—the act of cooking with and for others brings me immense joy.

I love recreating old classics, especially during the holidays. Partially because it’s pretty hard to compete with Grandma’s secret recipe. But mostly because I find joy in the conversations and interest a revamped dish can spark. I live to see the “what is that” look on someone’s face when they try a new version of an old favorite.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

That’s where this Wild Mushroom Stuffing comes into play. And let me just get this out in the open. I grew up calling it stuffing, even though we never stuffed the bird. Maybe it’s a midwest this, maybe not. Either way, I find more people search for, and relate to, “stuffing” as opposed to “dressing.” Which, if you’re wondering, is the correct terminology for such side dish, more on that later.

Anyway. If you’re looking to mix up the Thanksgiving spread this year, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. To bring a little wholesomeness to this Thanksgiving side dish I opted to use a combination of sourdough and multigrain bread, although you can use whatever bread you prefer.

Instead of pork sausage I chose to use ground pork which is significantly leaner, but also less flavorful. To achieve those quintessential sausage flavors without all the extra fat, I turned to a few pantry staples; Simply Organic fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and grated fresh nutmeg.

And here’s the thing, fennel seeds are essential in this recipe. And you may notice that I’m using quite a bit of them—2 teaspoons, which is generally a lot for a recipe.

But fennel seeds not only evoke a sausage flavor, they also play incredibly well with the wild mushrooms, Swiss chard, sage, and lemon. A brief grind in a mortar and pestle, or chop (although they tend to fly all over the place), is all they require.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

How do you make stuffing/dressing?

Having been to many Friendsgivings and family Thanksgivings over the years, I’ve noticed many people’s understanding of stuffing is limited to what comes in a box. But I promise you, if you’ve never made homemade stuffing, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Here are the basics of what you’ll need:

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Spices — this is where you’re stuffing can either stand out, or get lost. More on this later.
  • Cubed bread that has been staled
  • Fresh herbs
  • Broth
  • Eggs
  • Optional add-ins:
    • Dried or fresh fruit such as dried cranberries or diced apples
    • Toasted and chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts
    • Meat such as sausage or turkey giblets

Here are the basics of what you’ll do:

  • Cook vegetables and meat (if using) in butter.
  • Combine cooked vegetables, meat, bread, spices, herbs and any add-ins with broth and eggs.
  • Transfer mixture to a baking dish and bake until cooked through and golden brown.

OK, so let’s talk spices. We know they’re essential to all kinds of dishes, but stuffing? Well, stuffing is a different beast altogether.

Because it’s made mostly of bread, stuffing can take a lot of spice without the dish getting overpowered. Moreover, since the classic components of stuffing (bread, eggs, celery) aren’t very flavor-forward, we must turn to ingredients that are sure to make a statement.

Herbs, nuts and dried fruit are all wonderful additions, but for the biggest and boldest flavors—and to create a stuffing that people can’t pass up—you’ve got to add some spices.

For this recipe I’ve turned to fennel seeds, which adds that classic sausage flavor (without all the extra grease), red pepper flakes and grated fresh nutmeg for a touch of mellow warmth.

Some other spices that would be a welcome addition include:

  • Ground cloves
  • White pepper
  • Mace
  • Celery seed
  • Ground ginger
  • Dried mustard

Photograph of stuffing ingredients on a white table

Why you shouldn’t cook your stuffing inside your turkey.

The biggest reason you shouldn’t cook stuffing inside a turkey is because it’s incredibly difficult to cook the stuffing to a safe internal temperature without overcooking the turkey itself. Which somewhat defeats the purpose, at least in my mind. You may achieve a flavorful stuffing, but you won’t make a flavorful, juicy turkey.


What’s the difference between dressing and stuffing?

The difference is minimal really. It all comes down to how the, eh-hem bread mixture shall we say, is cooked. When referred to correctly (which many of us do not do) stuffing is, well, stuffing when it’s cooked inside the bird. It’s “stuffing” the bird essentially.

Dressing is dressing when the bread mixture is cooked separately from the turkey, in its own dish.

The reason I refer to dressing as stuffing here is because it’s a more recognizable and widely used term. However, this is in fact a dressing recipe.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing  

Can stuffing be made ahead?

There are two ways you can prepare stuffing in advance.

To prepare stuffing 8 hours or less in advance:

Prepare stuffing mixture, transfer to baking dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

When ready to bake, transfer chilled stuffing to preheated oven and bake as directed, adding 5–10 minutes more as needed.

To prepare stuffing up to one day in advance:

Prepare stuffing recipe through baking. Let cooked stuffing cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Thirty minutes prior to serving, transfer chilled stuffing to a 350° oven and bake for 5–10 minutes until heated through. Broil stuffing for a few minutes to recrisp the top if needed. Finish stuffing with fresh parsley as directed in recipe.

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

I’m curious, how do you #CookforJoy? I’d love to hear your stories!

Happy holidays and joyful cooking to you!

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing


Wild Mushroom & Swiss Chard Stuffing

Photograph of a white baking dish of wild mushroom stuffing

This Wild Mushroom Stuffing, made with ground pork, Swiss chard, sage, and a mixture of sourdough and multigrain bread is a unique and flavorful take on a classic Thanksgiving side dish.

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1¼ hours
  • Total Time: 1½ hours
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Side dish


½ pound lean ground pork

2 teaspoons Simply Organic fennel seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and sliced (such as shiitakes, porcini, chanterelle, and/or cremini)

1 cup sliced shallots (2–3 shallots)

3 celery ribs, minced

2 cups chopped Swiss chard or kale

3 tablespoons minced fresh Sage

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

½ pound cubed sourdough bread, staled (4 cups)

½ pound cubed hearty multigrain bread, staled (4 cups)

½ cup chopped parsley + more for garnish

1 teaspoons minced lemon zest

1¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 eggs


Arrange oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°. Coat a 3-quart or 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or butter.

Cook pork in a sauté pan over medium heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in fennel seeds, pepper flakes, and nutmeg, cook 1 minute; season with salt and black pepper and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat butter and oil in now empty sauté pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and shallots and cook until liquid is released and evaporated and mushrooms are browned 10–12 minutes.

Stir in celery and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chard, sage, and garlic and cook 30 seconds. Deglaze pan with lemon juice then transfer to bowl with pork; season with salt and pepper.

Add bread, parsley, and zest to bowl with mushrooms and pork and toss to combine.

Whisk together broth and eggs then pour over bread mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Transfer dressing to prepared baking dish and cover tightly with a piece of foil lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake dressing, covered, 20 minutes. Remove foil from dish and continue baking dressing for 30–40 more minutes until top is golden brown and edges are crisp.

Let dressing cool 5 minutes, sprinkle with additional chopped parsley and serve.

This sponsored post is in partnership with Simply Organic and TheFeedFeed. As always the thoughts, opinions, recipe, photos and content are all my own.



  1. We made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was a huge hit. It paired awesome with filet mignon and Brussel sprouts (also from ZK).

  2. We made this for Christmas Eve and it was a huge hit. The stuffing paired so well with filet mignon and Brussel sprouts (from ZK).

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