Tuscan Kale and Fennel Bread Stuffing

Roasted Kale is one of my favourite veggies because of the smoky flavour and crispy edges you get when you bake it so when I came across this recipe I had to give it a try.   A perfect combination of spices and a generous dose of extra virgin olive oil brings this dish to life.  This recipe also uses dried chili peppers when preparing bringing just a hint of spice to this Italian inspired dish.

A big pan of kale and fennel bread stuffing

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In my house being from a family that was English on all sides the stuffing I grew up with was a glob of pepper and bread that had been stuffed into the turkey.  It always comes out looking grey and blah looking.

Don’t get be wrong but for years I refused to even give it a try just because of how it looked.  With age and maturity I finally did try it in in my late 30s you heard me… and it was well ok.

My husband’s mom (I hate calling her my MIL because she is lovely and that word is often used to described not so nice MILs) well she makes a really unique stuffing made of beef and pork.  She stuffs like a hamburger with onions, red peppers and spices inside the turkey so we have meat stuffing.  It is delicious… but also grey.  I will have to get this recipe one day but this year I wanted to try something different.

Large pan of Tuscan Bread Stuffing with a serving spoon

Bon Appetit 2018 Holiday Edition magazine is where I found this recipe.  At first it looked like a simple recipe to make but it is long and arduous I warn you.   Delicious and worth it in the end but make sure if you are going to dive into this recipe you give yourself a window of 3 hours from start to finish.

I modified it slightly by using dried large bread pieces I got from the bakery and instead just smothered those in about a 1/2 cup olive oil in a bowl and mixed around until all of the pieces were well covered.  I also did not have chili de árbol.  I used some Piri Piri chilis  had from when my mom visited Portugal.

Not Italian I know but it works just the same.

This recipe also makes a huge huge batch which is perfect for holiday dinners.

Roasted Kale and Fennel Bread Stuffing in a large pan with a serving spoon

One of the bigger tasks in this recipe is removing the stems from the kale leaves.  You don’t have to they won’t kill you but they are pretty tough and take much longer than the rest of the leaf to get tender so removing them is best.

But how?

The Fastest Way To De-Stem Kale:

  • First wash and dry each kale leaf just like you would wash and dry romaine lettuce.
  • Then lay each leaf flat on a cutting board and with a sharp paring knife cut a “V” from one side of the kale stem up to the top and around to the other side.
  • Discard the kale stems or save them for soup broth later
  • When you are done the tender remaining part of the leaf should look like a large V
  • Alternatively if you have larger leaves you can also just grab the bottom of the leaf’s stem and with the other hand rip the large leafy side of each side of the stem.  This method I find only works with the larger leaves so not my go-to method.

TUSCAN BREAD STUFFING – A taste of Italy for the Holidays!

Aromas of fennel and garlic waft through the house as this indulgent Tuscan Bread Stuffing bakes slowly.  Toasted crouton like bread pieces mixed with olive oil, chilis, roasted fennel seeds add a unique depth of flavour to such a simple ingredient as Kale.  This Tuscan Bread Stuffing recipe makes a large serving so that everyone in your family will get their fair share and there might even be leftovers!

A big pan of kale and fennel bread stuffing

Tuscan Bread Stuffing

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
This Tuscan Bread Stuffing with Kale and Fennel roasted with garlic, spices and the heat from a few dried peppers to give it a uniquely Italian inspired flavour.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Christmas, Holiday, Italian, Thanksgiving
Calories 509 kcal


  • ¾ tsp kosher salt divided
  • 1 lb kale ribs and stems removed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 dried chile de aberol or piri piri chili broken into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced thinly


  • 1 ½ lb dried white bread torn into 1″ pieces
  • ¾ cup olive oil divided
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds toasted
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter or 1/8 lb
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 dried chili de aberol or piri piri broken in half
  • 1 ½ cups fresh fennel finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper,
  • ½ cup dry white wine (no need to expensive)
  • 3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Working in batches cook the kale for 2 minutes and transfer with tongs to a collander.  Let cool and then squeeze all of the water with hands.  Rough chop and set aside
  • Empty water from pot and then add 1/4 cup of olive oil, rosemary and the 1 chile broken in 3-4 pieces over medium heat.  Let sizzle for about 1 minute shaking mixture around often.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and add the 1 cup sliced onion, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper.  Cook and stir often for about 2 minutes or until the onion starts to soften up and turn a golden brown.  About 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to kale and stir to coat.  Season with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and continue to cook on medium-low stirring often until the kale darkens and becomes slightly crispy on the edges.  Let cool and discard the rosemary and chile pieces.


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Place dried bread pieces in a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil.  Mix around gently with hands or large spoon until the bread is coated and the olive oil is evenly distributed.
  • If you haven’t already toast the fennel in a small pan over medium heat shaking the pan often to ensure all the seeds become golden and colour.   Let cool and then in a spice mill or a clean coffee grinder coursely grind the fennel seeds
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and butter.  When butter is melted add the rosemary sprigs and chili halves and let sizzle for one minute.  Add crushed fennel seeds, fresh fennel, onions, thyme and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  • Saute until vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized about 6-8 minutes.  Discard the rosemary and chile.
  • Add kale and vegetable mixture to a large 9 X 13 backing dish.  Add croutons. 
  • In the same pan bring wine to a boil over medium high heat and cook until reduced by 3/4 about 2 – 3 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a bowl.   Add to Kale and crouton mixture in large pan.  Add 2 large eggs and mix until eggs and liquid mixture are evenly distributed.  
  • Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes until heated through.  Remove foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until croutons are golden.  Serve immediately.


Serving: 333gCalories: 509kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 14gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 572mgPotassium: 744mgFiber: 11gSugar: 7.5gVitamin A: 20150IUVitamin C: 125.4mgCalcium: 640mgIron: 5.6mg
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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  1. 5 stars
    Sounds like a tasty twist on stuffing. I grew up having a range of very different stuffings (and in the UK!) and it’s definitely something I like to play around with. Though we do now have favorites, too. The flavors in this sound great .

  2. I found out how good roasted kale was a few years ago. Now I live in a country with no KALE! That’s right. I miss it so much. I am visiting the U.S for the holidays, and I am totally requesting this from my bestie! Thanks! Sending her the recipe link in 3,2,1…

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