Scrumptious bacon, apricot and sage gluten-free stuffing balls with roast chicken

Here’s my nice and simple gluten-free stuffing balls recipe – perfect with roast chicken or roast turkey at Christmas time.
Once you’ve tried gluten-free stuffing balls, I bet you’ll never go back to traditional stuffing! Stuffing balls are probably my favourite part of the Christmas roast meal – they’re so scrumptious they’ll be gone in a jiffy. If you don’t need them to be gluten-free, just use normal panko breadcrumbs.
This recipe is from the December/January issue of NADIA magazine, alongside the rest of my best special diet Christmas recipes such as vegan maple roast beetroot, caramelised onion & cashew cream tart (with gluten-free vegan olive oil pastry!), portobello mushroom, caramelised onion and brie Wellington, magic mini vegan pavlovas and dark chocolate and avocado truffles.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Family Favourite, Main
Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


Stuffing balls

  • 200 g butter melted
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 cup dried apricots finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water (if needed)
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled, finely diced
  • 220 g gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg whisked
  • ¼ cup sage finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Roast chicken

  • 1 size 16 free-range chicken
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon halved


  • Heat 1 Tbsp of the melted butter in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and starting to crisp. Add onion and apricots and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until soft, adding a little water if needed. Add the apple and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until apple is soft.
  • Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Add milk, egg, remaining melted butter, sage, parsley, salt and bacon mixture. Mix until well combined then season well with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll tablespoons of mixture into tight balls. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up a little while you get the chicken in the oven.
  • Line a roasting dish with baking paper. Wash and pat chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. Place in lined roasting tray, drizzle with oil, season well with salt and pepper, and squeeze over the lemon juice (stuff lemon shells in the cavity). Roast chicken for 45-50 minutes or until just cooked through (when the juices run clear when you pierce the inner thigh with the tip of a sharp knife).
  • Halfway through cooking time, remove roasting dish from oven and arrange stuffing balls all around chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and return to oven until cooking time is finished and stuffing balls are golden. Turn stuffing balls once during cooking.
  • Let chicken rest for 15 minutes then slice and serve with stuffing balls.