Feeling too stuffed is a sensation I prefer to keep to a minimum. (Though, I feel very fortunate and blessed to live a life that extends these opportunities.)
Eating stuffing, however, is an experience I could welcome all times of the year, multiple days per month. The taste bud lingering flavors of sage, rosemary and thyme create a combination from which I rarely tire. Although, I must say all that bread that embodies the traditional recipe could eventually make my body say “no more”. No part of me is an anti-bread, low-carb advocate, especially when we’re discussing whole grains. But too many meals of it probably isn’t the optimal choice.
Instead, I’ve created a variation of which no one could debate its healthiness, utilizing quinoa – a protein and fiber filled superstar of the grain world. It just so happens it’s gluten-free, too.
Granted, I wouldn’t go so far as to call this stuffing, particularly if you consider yourself a stuffing junkie. It’s a tad more on the chewy side in comparison to its fluffy, conventional counterpart. However, it’s certainly a wonderful, healthier alternative with all the same flavors, and will make your body feel good, too.
- -1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- -2 cups veggie broth, separated
- -1 bay leaf
- -1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -1 heaping cup celery, finely diced
- -1 onion, diced
- -2 cloves garlic, minced
- -2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- -1/4 tsp. + a dash or two of poultry seasoning
- -1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- -Salt and pepper, to taste*
- *Stuffing is generally salt-loaded, so if you want this to truly feel like stuffing, be a little generous with the salt. However, be mindful of your veggie broth because some brands already contain a fair amount of salt, which will help season the dish on its own. Likely you'll want to add more, however, even when using high sodium broth, unless you're watching your intake.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine 1 cup of vegetable broth with the quinoa and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, checking 2/3 of the way through to see if you need to add any more veggie broth/water. Once fluffy and tender, and broth is absorbed, remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high in a large saute pan. Add chopped celery and onion to the pan. Cook until nearly translucent, about 8 minutes, adding garlic halfway through. Stir in sage and poultry seasoning, and continue to cook until onions and celery are fully translucent and tender. Stir in remaining vegetable broth, and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Combine contents of the sauté pan with the quinoa. Stir in the walnuts. Place the stuffing mix into a greased oven dish, and bake for 10 minutes. Then, place under the broiler, and cook until top is crispy. Remove from oven and serve.