A week from today, Canadians everywhere will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Traditionally, it is a holiday celebrating the year’s harvest, and moving forward, a more restful season. (Which, as home gardeners and food preservers, it still is!) It is most commonly celebrated by gathering family around the table, and enjoying all of fall’s bountiful colors and flavors. While the side dishes can vary to great degree (there are a lot of amazing fall veggies out there!), two things are a necessity on the table… a roasted turkey, and the stuffing (or dressing) which either fills the cavity of the bird while cooking, or accompanies it on the side. The stuffing is typically made of dried bread cubes, and is seasoned with the earthy aromas of sage and rosemary. This quinoa stuffing has all of the flavors of fall, and is a delicious side dish to any poultry dish, thanksgiving or not.
Quinoa and Sage Stuffing
(A Grow. Cook. Eat. Share. original recipe)
1 cup uncooked white or golden quinoa (organic, if possible)
3 cups water for cooking the quinoa*
8-10 crimini or button mushrooms, diced
4 large swiss chard leaves and stems, diced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (organic, if possible)
1/2 cup sweetened, dried cranberries (organic, if possible)
2 tablespoons bacon fat or good olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine, optional
1 tablespoon fresh (1 teaspoon dried) sage leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh (1 teaspoon dried) rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more to taste
Thoroughly rinse the quinoa under running water for one minute.
Place quinoa in a large pot with three cups water and one teaspoon sea salt.
Bring quinoa to a boil, turn to low and cook for ten minutes. Turn off burner, and allow to steam for another ten minutes.
In a heated pan, place bacon fat or olive oil, with the mushrooms, rosemary, sage, and swiss chard stems. Season with one teaspoon each, salt and pepper.
Sautee until cooked through, and add the chard leaves and white wine (if using). Simmer until liquid has evaporated.
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, chopped apple, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, mushroom mixture, and fresh parsley.
Stir to combine and taste to adjust salt and pepper.
Serves 4 as a vegetarian main, or 8 as a side dish.
*I usually prefer to use a one cup quinoa to two cup water ratio, as the quinoa is less sticky and has more texture. In this dish however, it works well to be stickier, as the end result will be more like traditional stuffing.
Looking for a gluten-free bread recipe to substitute for the quinoa, or to make your favorite stuffing recipe? Check out my Rosemary Currant Soda Bread!