Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on November 24, 2013

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

It seems hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away–are you ready? I’m not! You probably figure I’ve forgotten all about turkey day considering all the Christmas cookies I’ve been baking lately, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once I get Thanksgiving on the brain, all thoughts turn to the “green dressing” or “ping” in Italian-American speak, probably my favorite family dish, ever. When I heard that Paula over at Vintage Kitchen Notes was hosting a virtual Thanksgivingkkuh feast for #SundaySupper, I just had to break out our family recipe for turkey dressing.

What is green dressing anyway? It’s a savory blend of spinach, garlic, ground beef, and French bread, chopped into a fine mixture and stuffed into the bird. Basically, ravioli filling with a little bread added, underscoring the genius of Italian-American cooks (we’re not the only ones who do this). It may look funny, but one bite and you’ll be sold.

While the family recipe is my favorite, I’ve yet to try a stuffing I didn’t like. In fact, stuffing in general would be near the top of my “foods I can’t live without” list. It’s nestled right up there with the mashed potatoes, as it should be, since they’re best when heaped together on a fork. And I look forward to the green dressing every year. Funny enough, my sisters prefer standard bread stuffing. This year we’re getting both.

In order to accommodate schedules, we have our celebratory feast on the Friday, rather than on Thursday, which is becoming a tradition on its own. Every year, in addition to our immediate family, we always include a smattering of friends–a practice that I started a while ago to make sure friends who didn’t live near family had a place to go. This year, Friday happens to be my birthday too, which means I’m calling dibs on whatever green dressing is leftover. Or maybe I’ll just say thanks for getting a chance to celebrate the holiday (and my birthday) surrounded by such wonderful folks. I’ve been fortunate that way, and even if I don’t say it often, I’m thankful that I was born into this crazy family, that I have a loving husband, and that I have such a devoted group of friends, all of whom support me in this adventure we call blogging as well as my many other endeavors.

Now let’s get cooking!

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

First, get the bread soaking in a bowl of water. While the bread is soaking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the parsley, celery, and spinach. Let that cook about 10 minutes, uncovered, then drain and cool.

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

While the spinach is cooking and the bread is soaking, brown the ground beef. Drain this and let it cool.

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Now comes the fun part, because I love my chopping bowl and my mezzaluna (it’s therapeutic). First, I chop up the garlic, then I chop everything else into it, working in batches, since my bowl is on the small side. You could also do this in a food processor–pulsing until everything is finely chopped–just be careful not to liquefy it!

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Transfer everything to a bowl, so you can stir in the eggs, salt, and pepper. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate until ready to use. We usually prepare this mixture a day in advance so all the flavors blend.

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

When ready to bake, transfer the dressing to a greased 2-quart casserole, and bake until it starts to brown around the edges.

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Is it obvious I couldn’t wait to taste it?

Here’s the printer friendly version:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian-American Turkey Dressing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A savory blend of spinach, garlic, ground beef, and French bread comes together in this traditional Italian-American turkey dressing.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian-American
Serves: 6-8
  • ½ loaf French bread (about ½ lb)
  • 1 lb spinach leaves*
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large bowl, soak the half loaf of French bread in enough water to cover the bread.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the spinach, celery, and parsley. Allow this to cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
  4. While the spinach is cooking, brown the ground beef in a medium sized skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain and cool.
  5. In a chopping bowl (or food processor), chop the garlic. Squeeze all the water out of the spinach mixture, and chop into the garlic. Next chop in the ground beef. If using a food processor, pulse the mixture until a fine chop is reached.
  6. Transfer this to a mixing bowl and stir in the eggs, salt and pepper.
  7. Turn into a greased 2-quart baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
  8. If serving with turkey, before serving, stir in some of the pan juices for the best flavor.
*Feel free to use Swiss chard instead--it's very good that way too!

This can also be cooked at 350 for about 40-45 minutes.

Also, for best results, prepare the mixture a day in advance so the flavors blend, then bake before serving.


Let’s see what everyone else has cooked up for you!






All American Wine Pairing Guide for Being Thankful #SundaySupper from Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

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