I am a creature of habit. Like most people, I have rituals that I cling to and these rituals give me comfort. It will likely come as no surprise, but most of my rituals are food related.
My morning ritual is COFFEE FIRST. Thanksgiving is no exception - roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert - that is the perma menu. But from time to time, I get adventurous and like to mix it up! And this Award-winning Gluten-free Sausage and Apple Rice recipe is the perfect opportunity to do just that - change it up, seize the day and add this recipe to your Thanksgiving menu!
Thanksgiving Stuffing Alternative
This rice recipe is gluten-free and Weight Watchers friendly at only 7 WW points on the blue plan per serving. It's full of fall flavors like apple, sage and pine nuts and makes a wonderful Thanksgiving side, Christmas dinner side or alternative to stuffing. However, mixing it up has not always served me well. I can recall one very bad attempt to mix up Thanksgiving dessert back in 2008.
Rice Pilaf Gluten free
This rice recipe was born out of a gluten-free rice rice pilaf I made to accompany this Maple Cider Grilled Chicken Kabobs recipe for a cooking competition that ended up as a finalist in the Calgary Co op Freshipe Cook-off back in 2013. However, the rice was sooo good that I decided to post it on its own.
Sausage and Rice Recipes
If you're looking for sausage and rice recipes, you'll love this gluten-free side. I use dried/dehydrated apples in this dish because they are quicker, there is no peeling, coring or cooking and they give the dish a such a unique texture that really works! I also use breakfast sausages because I have them on hand and they are mild so they don't overpower the dish. I haven't found many easy Thanksgiving dinner sides that I'm willing to let into my little Thanksgiving dinner clique, but this one is in! However, the disaster of a dessert I tried to create back in 2008 is not welcome ..
My daughter was born in 2007 and by the fall of 2008 I had lost almost all of my baby weight. However, I wanted to stay on track with my weight loss goals. And holidays are always a very challenging time. So, I was making Thanksgiving dinner and thought I'd try to create a low-fat, simple and quick dessert; yet something that was similar to pumpkin pie. Also, I wanted something baby could eat - it was nice and mushy! In the end, I created a parfait out of graham crackers, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and light Cool- whip. All the main ingredients in pumpkin pie that should taste great, you say? But you guessed it- NOPE! Totally did not work - pretty gross AND unsatisfying! The sucky part is, I may as well just had pumpkin pie. In fact, I still wish I had. Oh, how I missed my pumpkin pie that year... I wish I had this Weight Watchers Crustless Pumpkin Pie back then!
Gluten free Rice
But I can guarantee you that you don't have to give anything up to add this delicious gluten-free rice dish to your repertoire. So, if you are looking for gluten free side dishes for Thanksgiving this year, you can welcome this one into the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner fold with no regrets!
How to Shape Rice
Serving your rice in a shape, as pictured below, gives it a little touch of elegance. If you're not sure how to do it, then check out this video: How to shape rice for serving *NOTE: This rice isn't as sticky as your typical rice, so you really have to compress it as you spoon it into the bowl. Then you may also need to run a butter knife around the edges of the bowl to loosen it.
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Sausage & Apple Rice
- 6 fresh breakfast sausage links chopped into ¼ inch circles
- 1 cup finely chopped dried/dehydrated apples
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach washed and dried
- 2 cups dry brown rice/wild rice blend cook as per package directions
- Chicken stock or vegetable stock amount according to package direction of rice
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Make the rice: Cook rice according to package directions, but use chicken stock or vegetable stock in place of water.
- Cook sausage in a frying pan on stove top over medium heat until no longer pink and set aside.
- Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and the pine nuts. Toast, for a minute or so, stirring, then add sage and spinach. Continue to stir until spinach is soft and pine nuts are fragrant. Remove the mixture and stir into rice.
- Stir in chopped dried apples and sausage into the rice
More Thanksgiving Recipes!