You guys were relentless about this cauliflower stuffing.
You wrote me.
You messaged me on Facebook.
You responded to posts.
“Nikki, try the Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Stuffing Mix,” you said. “We need to know how it is!” you said.
I am nothing if not at your service. So here we are.
WARNING: There are no process pictures for this review but there’s a good reason. Because the prep took place here:
On Facebook Live! So if you want to see how long it took to prep and cook the whole thing, be sure to watch that. It also has the beginnings of a Foodie requested recipe remix that I was working on. (See how much I love you all???)
Anyhoo…let’s get on with it. I know you’ve got things to do.
So I admit I was a bit skeptical about riced cauliflower stuffing. Because…sigh. Ok. So granted…stuffing is not exclusively bread. Really all stuffing means is something you put into something else. Traditionally peppers are stuffed with rice and veggies. You sometimes stuff meats with cheese. So I get that stuffing doesn’t have to involve bread. (I mean, obviously since I make non-bread stuffing I know that’s true.)
But I was a bit skeptical about how cauliflower would stand in for the bread. Because it’s got a lot of water. And you usually have to go through a few steps to get it to taste like something other than nothing. But I was willing to keep an open mind, Foodies. For you.
This is the first things I look at when I examine new foods. I was very impressed that I knew what all the ingredients were. At it’s most basic, the stuffing includes cauliflower, carrots, cranberries (well, craisins) and celery with traditional stuffing spices that come as a frozen sauce in that is mixed throughout the bag.
The bag says there are four, one-cup servings. Each is:
- 60 calories
- 0g fat
- 13g total carbs
- 2g fiber
- 8g sugars
- 6 of those 8g are added sugars
- 1g protein
The added sugar comes from the craisins (which have added sugar) and a bit of maple syrup, per the ingredients list.
How I changed it
I’m not really a “cranberry in my stuffing” kind of gal. I don’t hate it. But I don’t love it. Plus this stuffing also has carrots, which are sweet, and cauliflower that has a slight sweetness. So I started off by browning up 8 oz. (half a package) of Jennie-O Lean ground turkey sausage. (TIP: When you do that you’ll want to use non-stick or a bit of olive oil. It’s so lean it won’t create it’s own oil and will stick to the pan.)
From there, I threw the stuffing mix in and…ZOMIGOSH IT SMELLED LIKE STUFFING! Like legit stuffing. Sage? Yep. Rosemary. She showed up for the party too. Onions, garlic, and all the wonderful things that make stuffing stuffing-y…all those wonderful smells wafted around me as I cooked this.
The package says to cook it covered about 7 minutes, then to uncover it so that the liquid can cook off. That was about how it went for me.
Sure, it smelled like stuffing. But how did it taste?
All in all, I liked it! But.
There are a few changes I’d make. (But then there always are.)
Namely, because Jennie-O sausage is lower sodium, it didn’t have the level of salt I wanted to counteract the cranberries and carrots, so it was still a bit on the sweet side. A sprinkle of salt easily fixed that.
The other thing that was missing for me was crunch! In a traditional bread dressing, it’s been baked and has crunchy bits at the top. I. Lived. For. Those. They were noticeably absent here. But that’s easily remedied. Just take a dry pan and get it hot on the stove. Dump in about 1/2 c. chopped walnuts and dry-toast them just until you can smell then, then throw that in there. Also if you add just enough salt, I think you could also get away with a diced granny smith apple in there and that would be a flavor texture home RUN.
I would totally buy this and hook it up, “Nikki style!”
WARNING: I truly do not believe there are four, one-cup servings in the package. Not sure if they meant pre- or post-cooking, but what you see above is a cereal bowl. But that’s ok because you know what that means, Foodies?
I’m not stuck with stuffing for the rest of my life! That’s a good thing. After a few helpings, I’m sort of over it so I don’t need a lot of it. Shortly after I made and snapped these pics, La Petite Diva (my youngest daughter) wandered downstairs and wanted to taste some and liked it. So between her and I, the stuffing wouldn’t last forever.
You might be wondering the cost. It’s $2.99/bag. If you are planning to make it for more than just yourself, I would suggest you get 2-3 bags, especially if you don’t plan on putting sausage in it.
But, overall, nice job, Trader Joe’s!
To get more information on this product, hit up the Trader Joe’s website.
What to do if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you
I live in a city, but I try to be sensitive that not everyone does. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, the good news is this, recipe is so easy to DIY it’s ridiculous. Here’s what you’re going to do:
- Step One: Get yourself a bag of riced cauliflower (they sell them at most stores now). Cook it in a saucepan with about 1.5 cups of either turkey or chicken broth, a whole clove of garlic and your favorite stuffing spices (usually sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsely…you can find some good spice blend recipes on the web, so search for what you like!)
- Step Two: While the cauliflower is cooking, set a skillet over high heat and add a little bit of olive oil. Saute some diced onions, diced carrots (from raw, not canned), and finely diced celery and cook until the carrots are tender. Add sausage (if desired) and brown until fully cooked.
- Step Three: Drain cauliflower but reserve the liquid. Throw the cauliflower into the mixture and saute for a few minutes before adding the remaining liquid back in along with about 1/3 c. craisins that you’ve rinsed (to get the outer coating of sugar off). Cook it uncovered until the liquid evaporates. Taste test and then adjust seasonings as desired then cover and let stand until you’re ready to serve.
See? Easy peasy. I would venture to guess this endeavor would take maybe 25 minutes. Maybe.
So there you have it, Foodies. Cauliflower stuffing. I never would have thought I’d like this but it’s just proof positive that amazing things happen when you play with your food!
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