Gluten-free Quinoa Stuffing is a delicious and flavorful alternative to classic bread stuffing. It's easy to make with a hearty mixture of quinoa, cranberries, apples, pecans, bacon, and sausage.
When you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this protein-rich, gluten free stuffing is the perfect savory side to add to your Thanksgiving dinner.
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This gluten free stuffing has all the flavor of traditional stuffing and then some. It combines healthier ingredients like quinoa, apples and pecans with the same herbs that give dressing its flavor. Believe me; this is so good you'll want to serve it all winter long!
Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing
There are some benefits to making quinoa stuffing over traditional stuffing. Everyday stuffing is made from either breadcrumbs or a bag of flour and cornstarch crumbs, which is heavy and dense and definitely not gluten-free.
However, when you make stuffing out of quinoa you are eliminating the gluten and adding in a high-protein alternative. It's amazing how you can make normally heavier sides into healthier ones such as in Spanish Quinoa "Rice" and Quinoa Pilaf.
Why This is the Best Quinoa Stuffing Recipe
This is the best gluten-free stuffing for Thanksgiving because it's sweetened naturally with apples, cranberries, and pecans and enhanced with bacon and sausage.
This stuffing is great baked in a dish or stuffed in a turkey. It has all the fresh herbs you add to a bread stuffing without all the calories and gluten.
Serve it with turkey or roasted chicken. Add a veggie on the side and have a delicious and healthy dinner. Oh, and don't forget the gravy; it puts this stuffing over the top. Now take a bite and enjoy!
Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. Trust me, it's worth it!
- Quinoa - remember to rinse quinoa prior to cooking
- Chicken Stock - you can make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock and eliminating the bacon and sausage (or use a vegan alternative)
- Dried Cranberries
- Apple - does not need to be peeled
- Italian Sausage - mild, sweet or hot will work
- Pecans - add a nice crunch. Almonds can be substituted.
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh or Dried Thyme - use half the amount called for if using the dried version
- Fresh or Dried Rosemary - use half the amount called for if using the dried version
- Dried Marjoram
- Dried Sage
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground black pepper
For the seasonings, you can substitute 3 to 4 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper for the spices listed above.
How to Make Quinoa Stuffing
- Place quinoa and chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and cook 15-20 minutes.
- Quinoa should have absorbed all the stock and have a fluffy consistency. Set aside.
- Place bacon in a large skillet.
- Cook until crispy then drain on a paper towel.
- In the same skillet, leaving the bacon drippings, add the onion, celery, and garlic.
- Saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter, diced apple, sausage, cranberries and seasonings to the skillet with the onion mixture.
- Cook until sausage is done, breaking it up and stirring with other ingredients.
- Place cooked quinoa, parsley, crumbled bacon, and toasted pecans in a large bowl. If your skillet is large enough you can mix it there.
- Add the sausage cranberry mixture to the bowl.
- Stir well.
- Pour quinoa stuffing into a square baking dish that has been sprayed with olive oil or avocado oil.
Add more flavor with these mix-ins:
- Fruit - golden raisins, dried apricots, or dates.
- Seeds - pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas) or sunflower seed kernels.
- Vegetables - chopped butternut squash, kale, or mushrooms
Quinoa Stuffing is Not Just for Turkey
This stuffing is great to enjoy with other meat and vegetables. Use this quinoa stuffing for chicken and squash. Baked acorn squash with quinoa stuffing is absolutely delicious!
Make it in the summer to use the bounty of your garden for zucchini with quinoa stuffing.
Make Ahead Stuffing
You can make quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving a day in advance. Allow it to cool to room temperature then place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat
Store leftover quinoa stuffing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze the stuffing in a freezer-safe container or plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat it in an oven-safe dish covered in foil at 350°F for about 15 minutes. You can also microwave it on high in 1-minute intervals until warm, stirring between each interval.
Stressing about getting everything to the table on time? Check out my handy dandy Thanksgiving Planner with a minute-by-minute schedule that will make it easy as pie.
More Quinoa Recipes
- Broccoli Quinoa Salad with spinach and pistachios.
- Butternut Squash Quinoa Pilaf with Parmesan cheese.
- Spanish Quinoa is a healthy version of Spanish rice.
- Quinoa Waffles are great for breakfast.
- Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables is a wonderful dish for fall and winter.
Find lots of healthy and delicious Thanksgiving recipes on 2CM.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion. chopped
- 2-3 stalks organic celery. chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 unpeeled organic apple. chopped
- ½ lb. Italian sausage (turkey sausage could also be used)
- ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (see below)
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme or 1-½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary or ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Place quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. Set aside.
- Place bacon in a large skillet and cook until browned. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
- In the same skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions, celery and garlic in bacon drippings for 5 minutes.
- Add butter, cranberries, apple, sausage, and seasonings and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring to break up the sausage, or until the sausage is cooked through.
- Stir in cooked quinoa, toasted pecans, parsley and crumbled bacon.
In or Out of the Turkey Options
- 1. Stuff the turkey (or roasting chicken) if you are cooking it immediately or place the stuffing in the refrigerator overnight and stuff the turkey just prior to cooking.
- 2. Place the stuffing in a baking dish sprayed with a nonstick spray and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes alongside the turkey.
- Makes enough to stuff a 10-12 lb. turkey.
This post has been updated with new photos and more useful information. It was first published on November 23, 2014.