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The Holidays, But Healthy: Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

Autumn is the season of Air + Space (Vata), so Ayurveda recommends that we ditch the iced drinks and salads and indulge in warm, cooked, and well-spiced foods. This Wild Rice Stuffing recipe by Kate O’Donnell is the perfect comfort food for the season.

This dish includes the vata-balancing flavors of sweet, sour, and salty. While the cooked apples benefit the gut, the pungent cranberries heat up the digestion, making it much easier to digest the high protein and fiber of the wild rice. I like to cook in a handful of walnuts, making it the perfect vegetarian meal. You could also serve this dish as-written for a perfect side.

With all the balancing properties of these ingredients and the savory flavors of Thanksgiving, this healthy stuffing recipe is something that your tongue and your gut can agree on!

What is 'Vata'? Learn more about Ayurveda here.

Discover your own Ayurvedic constitution by taking Lisa's free dosha quiz!

Healthy Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 6 cups sprouted-wheat bread cubes 
(about 6–7 slices)

  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth

  • 1 cup wild rice

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tsp ghee, separated

  • 2 cups diced celery (about 4 stalks)

  • 2 cups diced fennel (1–2 bulbs)

  • 2 cups diced apples (1–2 apples)

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

  • ½ cup diced, fresh cranberries


  1. On a baking sheet, spread bread cubes and leave on the counter overnight to dry, or heat oven to 350° and place baking sheet on top rack, baking until bread dries about 15 minutes.

  2. In a large saucepan, boil broth. Add rice, and cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer until grains soften and begin to split, 75 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered.

  3. Heat oven to 400°.

  4. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt ¼ cup ghee. Add celery and fennel, and sauté until vegetables are translucent, 5 minutes. Add apples and sauté, stirring, 5 minutes. Add sage, thyme, salt, and black pepper; cook until herbs begin to brown, 2–3 minutes.

  5. Grease a glass 9x13-inch baking dish with the remaining 2 tsp ghee. In a bowl, combine bread cubes, rice, fennel-and-apple mixture, applesauce, and cranberries; pour stuffing into greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until heated through, 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top browns, 10–15 minutes.


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