Last updated December 30, 2015

Pancetta Kale Stuffing from ZestuousFace it. Thanksgiving is a brown and white starchy holiday. The table is full of bread, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese… It’s always hard to find room for something green.

Sure you can make one more side dish, but it’s not that easy. Everyone wants their traditional favorites, so one more dish means more time in the kitchen, more calories and more dishes to clean.

Ugh! No thanks. I already feel like I need to walk 10 miles after I eat a turkey day feast.

Here’s a solution…add some super greens to a traditional dish. Which dish? Stuffing of course. This dish is already a cornucopia of bread, veggies and meat. One more ingredient can’t hurt, especially if it’s kale.

Kale has been called one of the world’s healthiest foods because it’s full of nutrients that have been shown to prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. In order to keep those nutrients as strong as possible, mix the kale into the stuffing raw. Don’t sauté it with the other veggies.

This recipe includes some other alternate veggies in it, too, like fennel and poblano peppers. I also like to use rye bread and multigrain bread for a richer and healthier combination.

If you’re nervous about switching things up too much, just make your standard stuffing (even if it comes from a box). Just before you put it in the oven, stir in 1 cup raw chopped kale. Your family isn’t likely to notice the change, but inside you’ll know that you added a healthy choice.

Pancetta Kale Stuffing

Pancetta Kale Stuffing


  • 2 loaves of bread (1 rye and 1 multigrain are great choices)
  • 5 ozs. diced pancetta
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup fennel, diced
  • ½ cup poblano pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Zestuous Poultry Powder
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup kale, chopped

Cube the bread and spread onto a cookie sheet. Dry out in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place the bread in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, brown the pancetta over medium-high heat. Add the onion, fennel, poblano, garlic, mushrooms, sage and Zestuous Poultry Powder and sauté, until tender.

Add in the butter, mustard and salt and stir until melted. Add the chicken broth.

Pour the vegetable and broth mixture into the bowl of bread cubes. Toss gently to coat. Mix in the kale. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan and bake covered in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown.