This sausage stuffing recipe prepared with Italian sausage, kale, and provolone cheese is a wonderful combination of savory, hearty, and cheesy. It’s the perfect way to mix up your traditional stuffing routine.
This Italian sausage stuffing goes way back in my family. It’s a wonderful recipe for those of you looking to break free from more traditional options. Stale bread cubes mixed with onions, celery, garlic, and perfectly browned Italian sausage soak up the flavors of festive, savory herbs. Adding tomato paste and wilted kale gives this heartwarming side a Tuscan twist that I just can’t get enough of, but the real kicker is the smattering of melted provolone cheese throughout. It’s a treat!
Why We Love This Sausage Stuffing
- Not your typical stuffing. As much as I love my classic Traditional Stuffing Recipe, this is such a fun break from the norm.
- Versatile. It is to swap ingredients in and out of this recipe to make it your own. Try a different cheese. Experiment with sweet, mild, or spicy sausage. Swap kale out for a different green. Feel free to get creative!
- Make-ahead magic. Holidays can get hectic, and it’s great to have a dish or two you can make ahead of time to minimize the pressure the day of. This is one of them.
Ingredients For Sausage Stuffing
- Stale white bread – I use white bread since it easily soaks up all the flavors that you add to it.
- Veggies – Yellow onions, celery, and garlic.
- Mild or hot Italian sausage – Be sure to remove the casings before browning.
- Paprika – Sweet or smoked will work.
- Tomato paste
- Herbs and seasoning – Dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried sage, salt and pepper.
- Kale – Spinach, chard, or collard greens would also do the trick.
- Low-sodium chicken broth – You could use beef broth instead.
- Fresh parsley
- Cubed provolone cheese – Muenster is a great substitute for Provolone cheese here. Swiss cheese or mozzarella would also do the trick.
How to Make Sausage Stuffing
- Prep. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.
- Saute the veggies. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and celery and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Brown the sausage. Add the garlic, sausage, and paprika. Cook the meat until browned and cooked through, breaking it up as you go. Stir in tomato paste, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir in the kale and cook until softened.
- Add liquid. Stir in the broth, bring it to a simmer, and remove from the heat.
- Put it all together. Whisk together the eggs and parsley in a large mixing bowl, add the bread cubes and the sausage mixture, and stir to combine. Stir in the cheese.
- Bake. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking pan and scatter the remaining butter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.
- Choose the right bread. This stuffing has so much going on in terms of flavor. You want to choose a pretty neutral bread that will soak up all of the flavors and let them shine. I tend toward plain white bread but feel free to experiment.
- Dry bread cubes. It might be tempting to ignore the “stale” in the “stale bread cubes” but you will be sorry if you do. Using bread cubes that are not stale will end you with soggy, mushy stuffing. Pop them in the oven at 350°F for ~12-15 minutes to dry out if you don’t have stale bread on hand.
- Low sodium. I highly recommend using low-sodium broth here. You want to allow yourself the opportunity to adjust the seasoning of the overall dish to your liking. Because the sausage in this recipe inevitably brings a lot of flavors to the table, choosing a low-sodium broth will help you take back that control.
- Be gentle. When combining the bread cubes, sausage/broth mixture, and eggs, you want to mix just until everything is combined. Overworking the mixture will cause the bread cubes to break apart and become mushy.
How To Prepare Sausage Stuffing In Advance
Spread the stuffing into a baking dish and, instead of baking it, allow it to cool, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge up to 1 day in advance. When the time comes, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking it just as you normally would.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- To store. Once the stuffing has cooled completely, cover it tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap or seal it in an airtight container. Sausage stuffing will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To reheat. Allow the stuffing to thaw in the fridge (if applicable) before baking, covered with aluminum foil, at 350°F for 30 minutes and then uncovered for another 10 minutes.
Holiday Side Dish Ideas
Don’t let this magnificent stuffing hang out alone. Pair it with one or two or all of the following holiday sides.
- 1 pound stale white bread, cubed
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- ½ tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped (1 bunch just refers to how much you can grab in one hand)
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup cubed provolone cheese
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish and set aside.
In a Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes.
Add garlic and stir in the sausage and paprika; cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon for about 6 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.
Stir in tomato paste and season with thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper. Add the kale and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the broth and bring to a simmer; remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and parsley. Add in the prepared bread cubes and the sausage mixture; stir to combine. Stir in the cheese.
Transfer to the baking dish.
Chop the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into several pieces and dot over the stuffing.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and continue to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve.
- Bread cubes: I almost always choose plain, sliced white bread since it easily soaks up all the great flavors that you add to it. If you decide to make your own bread cubes, I suggest baking/drying them at 350˚F for 15 minutes but start checking at 12 minutes.
- To Make Ahead: Prepare this dish one day ahead, but don’t bake it. Cover the baking dish and set it in the fridge overnight. When ready to bake it, take it out of the fridge and let it stand for 20 minutes on the counter to bring it close to room temperature. Bake and serve warm.
- If you do not want to use kale, try it with spinach or other hearty greens, like chard or collard greens.
- Muenster is an excellent substitute for Provolone cheese. Swiss cheese is good, too, and you can always use mozzarella.
Calories: 491 kcal | Carbohydrates: 35 g | Protein: 23 g | Fat: 28 g | Saturated Fat: 13 g | Cholesterol: 115 mg | Sodium: 628 mg | Potassium: 579 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 2615 IU | Vitamin C: 26.2 mg | Calcium: 339 mg | Iron: 3.8 mg
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.