Photo of Fennel, dried fig and thyme stuffing by WW

Fennel, dried fig and thyme stuffing

Total Time
1 hr 15 min
20 min
55 min
This unique spin on a Thanksgiving dinner must-have offers a fancier, Italian-inspired version of the casserole. Figs dress up the stuffing with style and their sweetness is the perfect companion to the faint licorice flavor the fennel gives the dish. Not a fig fan? Try golden raisins instead. Or experiment with Thanksgiving's favorite fruit - the cranberry. Add dried ones as you would the figs in the recipe. If you've got fresh cranberries, cook them with the onions and fennel until they burst, and reduce the amount of orange juice in the recipe by a tablespoon or so. Beyond the holiday table, this stuffing is fantastic served alongside a sage-crusted pork roast or as part of a meal of grilled or broiled Italian-style herbed sausages, with a side salad of arugula or radicchio.


Italian bread

8 oz, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

Light butter

2 Tbsp

Uncooked onion(s)

2 small, chopped

Uncooked fennel bulb(s)

1 medium, chopped

Fennel seeds

1 Tbsp

Unsweetened orange juice


Sweetened dried fig(s)

3 oz, chopped or sliced (about 1/2 cup)

Fresh thyme

2½ Tbsp, chopped

Kosher salt

½ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground

Fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup(s)

Cooking spray

2 spray(s)

Fresh parsley

¼ cup(s), fresh, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake, stirring twice, until very lightly toasted, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, fresh fennel and fennel seeds; cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add orange juice and figs; bring to a boil over medium heat, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat; stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Add toasted bread cubes to skillet and drizzle with broth; toss until evenly moistened.
  3. Coat a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; spoon stuffing into prepared dish. Bake, uncovered, until top is lightly toasted and stuffing is hot throughout, about 30 to 35 minutes (cover top with foil if top starts to burn). Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley. Yields about 2/3 cup per serving.