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This turkey dressing is based on the famous Zuni Cafe bread salad recipe. It using the same technique but is seasoning is all holiday turkey.
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5 from 2 votes

homemade turkey dressing - zuni cafe style

A great alternative to stuffing the bird. This homemade turkey dressing goes in when the turkey comes out so you don't have to worry about space in the oven. You want to use a sturdy white bread. No wonder bread here.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8


  • 12 oz day old sturdy white bread unsliced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
  • 1 large or two small leeks white and light green portion only, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp dried savory
  • olive oil
  • clear turkey drippings - the fat
  • concentrated turkey stock - recipe link below
  • salt and pepper


To prepare the bread

  • You can do this at any time. Remove the crust from the loaf, then slice it about 1 1/2 inches thick. Brush liberally with olive oil. Heat your broiler and toast the bread until golden brown. Be very careful here. The bread can burn easily under the broiler.
  • Let cool and rip into 1 inch pieces. Set aside in a large bowl.

To prepare the turkey dressing

  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over low heat.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook about 45 seconds. Next, add the leeks and sweat until translucent - about 5 minutes. Now mix in the herbs and continue to cook over medium low heat for another 3 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Combine leek mixture with bread and add the pine nuts. Moisten with concentrated turkey stock and place in a shallow oven-proof dish large enough to hold the all the turkey dressing.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 375F if not already roasting your turkey.
  • Thirty minutes before you plan to serve (around the time you pull your turkey from the oven), drizzle 5-6 Tbsp of turkey fat siphoned from your roasting pan over the dressing. Cover with foil and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve as you would stuffing.


Bread from a decent bakery makes this a much better dish. Think sturdy and maybe lightly sourdough.
Concentrated turkey stock is awesome for this dressing. It will make your gravy the best you have ever had. It's a game changer.