Sweet Potato “Unstuffing” (Made without Bread)

If you love stuffing but are looking for something a little different from the norm, possibly a stuffing made without bread, or a stuffing option that you can serve to guests who may eat gluten free, dairy free, and/or vegan, then this is it! Your Thanksgiving table is about to get even more delicious with this colorful and delicious Sweet Potato Stuffing. It comes together with a variety of winter vegetables, toasted pecans, dried cherries, apples, mushrooms, and herbs that represent the flavor of stuffing that we all love. This unique take on stuffing is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter side-dish option to serve, a vegetable heavy side dish, or simply something new and fun to try.

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The recipe was originally published November 18, 2016; Updated November 11, 2022.

A thanksgiving Side Dish for everyone

This Sweet Potato Stuffing recipe will elevate your Thanksgiving menu in a way you didn’t think was possible. The delicious combination of plant-based ingredients comes together to create a full-flavor and healthy stuffing side dish. But you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy it. You could also serve it for a weeknight dinner or side. Just add your favorite protein for a meal that will satisfy.

Recipe Highlights: Sweet Potato Stuffing

  • An easy way to elevate your Thanksgiving menu
  • A stuffing recipe made without bread
  • Full of nutritious ingredients, including sweet potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, apples, and nuts
  • Makes a great weeknight meal or side when served with or without your favorite protein, such as pork or chicken
  • No extra steps – simply toss it all together and bake!
All ingredients for sweet potato unstuffing arranged in small bowls

Ingredients to Make Sweet Potato Unstuffing

Here’s what you need to bring this amazing tasting and wonderful smelling stuffing to your table!

  • Sweet potato – a hearty, starchy vegetables that add color and nutrition
  • Carrots – an every day veggie that add great texture
  • Brussels sprouts – a cruciferous vegetable that’s perfect for roasting
  • Celery ribs – a common ingredient in stuffing that adds a nice crunch
  • Mushrooms – we love the addition of mushrooms in this recipe, But if mushrooms aren’t for you, you can omit them
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Apple – adds a lovely touch of sweetness
  • Fresh thyme – may substitute dried thyme
  • Fresh rosemary – may substitute dried rosemary
  • Chili powder
  • Avocado oil or olive oil
  • Dried cherries – may substitute dried cranberries
  • Pecans – use any favorite nut, or omit for a nut-free stuffing

Find the ingredients list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Four baked sweet potatoes on a round plate, cut open, with a fork scooping out a small serving.

Ingredient Spotlight: Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a very nutrient-dense root vegetable. Here are a few standout reasons why we’re big fans of this long-storing vegetable:

  • Fiber – sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which is important for gut-heath. We recommend aiming for 25-30 grams of fiber per day and sweet potatoes will help you reach that
  • Antioxidants – a great source of antioxidants, sweet potatoes have been know to help lower inflammation
  • Beta-carotene – carrots aren’t the only vegetable bursting with beta carotene, a nutrient important for your vision. The orange variety of sweet potatoes with skin-on actually contains more beta-carotene than carrots

Read more about Sweet Potatoes in this article from Healthline

All Sweet Potato Recipes

A white casserole dish on a white background.

A favorite baking dish

This STAUB 9×13 baking dish is a dream. It’s so sturdy and great for casseroles, lasagnas, and recipes like this Sweet Potato Stuffing. Here are a few reasons we love to cook with it:

  • It has a porcelain-enamel finish that’s very scratch resistant
  • The stoneware retains heat exceptionally well, will not absorb moisture, and diffuses heat gently
  • It is microwave, freezer, broiler, and oven safe up to 572°F, and it’s also dishwasher safe

Shop here

How to make Sweet Potato Stuffing

After you get all of the vegetables and apple chopped, this recipe comes together quick with these basic steps:

  1. Combine the ingredients: In a large baking dish add all of the ingredients (except for the cherries and pecans). Toss the ingredients with your favorite oil (we recommend avocado oil or olive oil).
  2. Bake the unstuffing: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake. At 20 minutes into the baking time, remove the foil and add the pecans and dried cherries. Then bake an additional 20-25 minutes.
  3. Garnish and serve: Once the vegetables are nice and tender and starting to turn golden brown, the Sweet Potato Stuffing is ready to serve. Garnish with fresh herbs if you desire. If you need to keep the stuffing warm while you prepare the rest of the meal, transfer it to a slow cooker and set it on warm until the meal is ready.

For the complete directions, ingredient amounts, and nutrition analysis that lists calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium per serving, scroll down to the recipe card below.

Overhead view white casserole dish filled with sweet potato unstuffing topped with pecans and cranberries, a silver serving spoon in stuffing.

Glass storage container with lids stacked on each other.

An Easy Way to Store Leftovers

We love these airtight, glass storage containers. They are microwave, oven (base only) dishwasher, and freezer safe and the variety of sizes will fulfill all of your food storage needs.

How to store leftover Sweet Potato Stuffing: 

Store in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Shop containers here


Time Saving Tips and How to Make This Sweet Potato Stuffing Recipe Ahead

This recipe does require a little bit of chopping so prepping some of the ingredients ahead will help save you time whether you’re cooking up a Thanksgiving meal or a weeknight dinner.

  • We recommend chopping all of the ingredients the day before it’s on the menu. Toss the chopped apple in a little lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
  • You may bake this dish up ahead of time (the day you plan to serve it) and then keep it warm in a slow cooker set on the warm setting. That way you can keep your oven open for all of the other delicious foods you may be cooking for your holiday meal.
A silver serving spoon scooping up a serving of sweet potato unstuffing filled with dried cranberries, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts.

When to serve Sweet Potato Stuffing

We think this bread-free stuffing is a great choice for many occasions, including:

  • Thanksgiving – a must-make recipe for your holiday meal. It’s flavorful, it’s delicious, and a recipe that all will be surprised to enjoy
  • Weeknight side-dish – Sweet Potato Stuffing pairs great with pork or chicken, making it a nutritious and tasty weeknight meal
  • Special dinner – Have a fall or winter dinner date or special occasion meal with friends or family coming up? Make this Sweet Potato Stuffing and impress everyone at the table. Tip: It’s also great for serving to guests who may have special dietary needs, such as avoiding gluten, dairy, eggs, or meat.
  • Meal prep – we even love this recipe for meal prep because it reheats nicely. Portion it out into individual servings (we love these meal prep containers) and add cooked chicken to round out the nutrition in your meals. Simply reheat and eat throughout the week. Trust us, you’ll be looking forward to your lunch!

Sweet Potato Stuffing: Easy Substitutions To Fit Your Dietary Preference

This recipe is naturally gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian, and vegan. You can also make it nut free by simply omitting the nuts.

Make this recipe nut-free by using pumpkin seeds instead of pecans (or simply omit the nuts)

Overhead view white casserole dish filled with sweet potato unstuffing, serving spoon in stuffing.


Sweet Potato Unstuffing

Sweet Potato Unstuffing makes for a crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving side dish or a tasty addition to your weeknight menu. It has the flavors of stuffing, just without the bread. This plant-based stuffing is loaded with a variety of veggies and flavor boosts from dried cherries, apples, pecans, and fresh herbs. 

Prep: 20 minsCook: 60 minsTotal: 1 hour, 20 mins

Servings: 8 servings 1x


  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed (1 ½ to 2 cups, cut into ¼½ inch cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups halved or quartered Brussels sprouts
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (3/4 to 1 cup)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped (3/4 to 1 cup)
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or oil of choice
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries, unsweetened if possible
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients (except for dried cherries and pecans) in a large baking dish (9×13 or similar size). Toss with oil. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, add the dried cherries and pecans, toss and then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes longer or until sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Remove from oven and serve.

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Prep Ahead Tip: Chop all of the ingredients the day before serving. You may also bake this dish ahead of time (before it’s ready to be served) and keep warm in a slow cooker set on low.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8th of recipe (3/4 cup)
  • Calories: 144
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Sodium: 260 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 21 g
  • (Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 9 g)
  • Protein: 3 g


© The Real Food Dietitians

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Two hands holding a white casserole dish filled with sweet potato unstuffing, topped with pecans, cranberries, and mushrooms.

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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