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 3 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)
  • ½ loaf French bread (about ½ lb)
  • 1 lb spinach leaves*
  • 1 lb spinach leaves*
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 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 the bread, then 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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We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world.
Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.
Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura November 24, 2013 at 5:09 am

Oh wow this dressing sounds incredible and so much healthier with all that spinach added.


Katy November 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

I love the sound of this dressing – great flavor combinations and a very festive color for a Thanksgiving table!


Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious November 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

Two dressings seems MANDATORY to me! I love your green dressing, and am going to make it!


Cut 'N Clean Greens November 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

We ADORE your green dressing recipe! We’re going to make it with our Curly Spinach. We’ll also feature this on our Facebook page and link back here so people can get the recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving, Anne!

–Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens


Anne Papina November 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Nice! Where can I get curly spinach? I don’t think I’ve seen that before!


Tara November 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

That looks great and I love all that goes into it!! Such a unique and delicious dish!!


Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere November 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

This sounds delicious! And I love bringing some spinach into the Thanksgiving meal!


Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons November 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I’ve never heard of green dressing before, but I’m pretty sure I would love it! I agree – dressing is the BEST part of Thanksgiving, hands down!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Wow, such a great idea! It’s so fun and creative and a nice change to turkey dressing!! One thing I am is stuffing obsessed! I could sooooooooooooo eat this all!!


Bea November 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Holey Green Dressing this looks and sounds absolutely fantastic! Love it and am thinking of many ways to use it. Thank you!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Enjoy your Bday my friend.


Liz November 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Happy Thanksgiving AND Happy Birthday, Anne!!! I’ve never heard of green dressing before, but it sounds scrumptious!


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom November 26, 2013 at 4:49 am

Wow! I love this inventive turkey dressing! You could eat this on it’s own as a side dish! yum!


Raquel November 26, 2013 at 8:12 am

I love spinach. This dressing sure makes for a tasty and healthy side dish any time of year. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Renee November 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

I could make a meal on this alone. Forget the turkey just give me a big spoon!


Cindys Recipes and Writings November 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

Ooh I like this, Anne! I must try!


Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) November 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

love how unique this is!


Jen @ Keto Recipes January 30, 2018 at 4:38 am

Awesome! This is new to me and I’m excited to have this. Most probably this weekend :).


Richard November 29, 2021 at 10:55 am

Not mentioning what to do with the soaked French bread??
Well, I figured you would squeeze out the water and break it up into the mixture.
Seems to have worked, tasted great, thank you….


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