by Michelle Didner


Holidays are a time to remember traditions and recipes that travel through the generations. The beauty of a holiday is that it is an evolving gathering of family and friends that interweaves old traditions and welcomes the new.  While you are preparing grandma’s sweet potato casserole this year, consider upgrading your stuffing. This gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian stuffing will make everyone at your table happy.

Quinoa, a key ingredient in this recipe, originates from the Andes where it has been a staple in families for thousands of years. It has the texture of a grain but is really a seed high in protein and fiber. It is gluten-free, so a great alternative to the traditional bread used for stuffing if you are avoiding gluten. In addition to being high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and folate, quinoa also offers the benefit of providing antioxidant flavonoids which are anti-inflammatory. Combine with cranberries rich in proanthocyanidins, phytochemicals, and flavanols, all of which are anti-inflammatory, and butternut squash which is loaded with vitamins A and C, and you have a colorful flavor boost for your immune system!

Just when you thought this recipe couldn’t have any more benefits, we’ve got one more – it supports balanced methylation! It contains rosemary, one of our favorite herbs here at the clinic, and a potent adaptogen known to support optimal gene expression. We also love rosemary for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial properties and you’ll see it featured heavily in our Methylation Diet and Lifestyle Guide. Feel free to use liberally in this dish and others this holiday season.

Additional Tip: Soaking the quinoa before cooking will help to remove phytic acid. Although this is not necessary, it will make it easier to digest. Before soaking, rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with lukewarm filtered water. Let sit uncovered for 2 hours or overnight. Rinse again before cooking.

This recipe was contributed by Michelle Didner. Michelle is a clinical nutritionist, yoga teacher, health coach, and current resident in our nutrition residency program for CNS candidates. You can find her at or on Instagram at @nourishnamaste.

Thanksgiving Quinoa Butternut Squash Stuffing Recipe
Thanksgiving Quinoa Butternut Squash Stuffing Recipe
Prep Time Cook Time
2-8hours (if soaking) 1hour
Prep Time
2-8hours (if soaking)
Cook Time
  1. Drain (if soaking) and rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel and dice into ½ inch cubes. Move to baking pan and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of salt.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes until easy to pierce with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. While squash roasts, in a saucepan combine quinoa and 3 1/2 cups filtered water (4 cups if not presoaking) with a dash of salt. Heat to boil and then simmer covered for 15 minutes until fluffy, and all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand before fluffing.
  5. In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add chopped celery and sauté lightly. Add roasted butternut squash and quinoa. Toss with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and chicken or vegetable broth. Add the cranberries, figs, and nuts and toss until well combined and warm. Salt to taste.
Recipe Notes
  • Purchase pre-cut butternut squash to save time.
  • Substitute walnuts with pecans, hazelnuts, or chestnuts for variety.
Print Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Post comment