Herb Oil Is The Secret Ingredient To Flavorful Dairy-Free Stuffing

Stuffing isn't just for Thanksgiving dinner. This fluffy, flavor-packed side dish can easily be served at any time of year, especially since it's so versatile; in fact, the different ingredients added to stuffing can entirely change up the flavor and texture of the finished product. 

For example, butter is an important ingredient, as it will make the dish crispy and rich; however, those with dietary restrictions or lifestyle choices that prevent them from eating dairy products that are looking for an alternative, don't fret. You can still have golden, savory stuffing — all you need is a bit of herb-infused oil.

Butter is a key component for delicious stuffing because it is a fat. Fat is used in recipes to help improve and intensify flavors, as well as to help other ingredients brown and become crunchy. Luckily, it is far from the only fat available and that is where oil comes in. Options like olive oil and avocado oil contain a comparable amount of fat to butter, around 14 grams to butter's 12 grams. 

This allows it to impart the same traits to the stuffing with none of the dairy, and can be substituted in an easy one-to-one ratio. As an added bonus, there are many flavored oils on the market, allowing you to easily intensify your stuffing's seasoning in seconds flat without buying dozens of different spices.

Make your own herb oil for unique outcomes

Basic versions of infused cooking oils are often available at your everyday grocery. If you are feeling adventurous, though, you can find even more varieties by visiting specialty oil and spice shops or by ordering online. For maximum customizability, we recommend making your own infused oil, since it will allow you to hand-pick every herb and spice you want to flavor your oil — and, by extension, your stuffing.

Infusing olive oil, or any other oil, at home is very easy. The simplest method is to take your selection of seasonings and add them to a jar or bottle with the oil for a day or two, until the flavor is to your liking. 

In terms of herb combinations, we suggest trying sage and thyme for the most classic stuffing taste. If you would like to go beyond the traditional, you can add garlic and rosemary for a warm and comforting result, try fennel and tarragon for a savory and sophisticated flavor profile, or throw in a few chili peppers to create a spicy, stimulating chili oil stuffing.