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Vegetable Stuffing with Quinoa (30 Minutes)

You won’t miss the bread in this delicious vegetable stuffing with quinoa. It’s a great alternative to traditional stuffing and the entire dish is ready in 30 minutes.

Lots of pluses here – it’s a vegetarian gluten-free stuffing recipe, Passover-friendly and nutritious. Make it for the holiday season or as a weeknight dish any time of year.

vegetable stuffing with quinoa in bowl.

I was looking for a stuffing recipe or side dish for a Passover seder, ready to buy some matzo farfel or matzo meal as the foundation. Suddenly I remembered that quinoa is now acceptable during Passover since it is not a grain.

So I decided to try a vegetable stuffing (or dressing as some call it) with quinoa instead of bread. It turned out great!

What to expect

The quinoa stuffing is loaded with vegetables, including diced sweet potatoes, so it’s a healthy side dish and filling enough to be served as a main dish for a vegetarian (like my daughter, the other kook).

And, as always, there are many variations you could try such as cutting down on ingredients are adding more or different ones.

The recipe is made on the stovetop. For a shortcut, use leftover quinoa or store-bought cooked quinoa.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

Quinoa – use regular white quinoa, red, or tri-colored.

Vegetables: I use sweet potatoes, celery, red peppers and onions. Mushrooms would also be good. Or just use up what you have in the fridge!

Seasonings: Traditional stuffing flavors include thyme and sage and sometimes marjoram. I often use poultry seasoning instead, which is a blend of these seasonings.

  • Use butternut squash instead of sweet potato (or leave it out)
  • Great additions
    • raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates or prunes
    • diced fresh apple or mango – add just before serving
    • chopped canned water chestnuts for some crunch
    • fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, chives
  • For a non-vegetarian version and smoky flavor, add diced hot dog or sausage while sautéing the vegetables
  • Substitute the thyme and sage with 1-2 teaspoons curry powder.
  • For a garnish, try chopped toasted nuts or green onions.

Step-by-step instructions

chopped celery, onions, sweet potato and red peppers.
chop onions, sweet potatoes, peppers, celery
cooked quinoa in pot.
Make the quinoa in a separate pot
sauteed vegetables in skillet.
Sauté vegetables, garlic and seasonings. Stir in baby spinach.
spoonful of vegetable stuffing with quinoa on skillet of stuffing.
Mix in cooked quinoa to complete the quinoa stuffing.
vegetable stuffing with quinoa in bowl.
sliced turkey and gravy surrounded by vegetable quinoa stuffing on platter.
Serve with roasted turkey, chicken or pork. Or as a meal on its own.

Shortcut

To save time chopping and dicing, pulse vegetables in the food processor a few times. You can also buy cooked quinoa or use leftover quinoa.

What to serve with quinoa stuffing

As the flavors in this stuffing are similar to classic bread stuffing, I like to serve it with sous vide turkey breast, sliced roasted chicken and gravy or roasted rack of pork for a holiday-ish touch.

It would also be a great side dish for apricot chicken, baked chicken and cream of mushroom soup, homemade peri peri chicken or grilled pork tenderloin.

To make the stuffing as a complete meal, try adding by adding sausages, tofu or grilled Mediterranean chicken.

Make Ahead 

This great dish can be made ahead  – or taken for potluck – and warmed in the oven in a covered dish (at 350F/177C for about 10-15 minutes) or the microwave. If you are using nuts, add them just before serving.

Quinoa FAQs

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a seed often mistaken for a grain due to its appearance, is considered gluten-free whole grains with numerous nutritional benefits according to Healthline. With over 3000 varieties available, including black, red quinoa, and tri-color, quinoa offers a versatile range of options for cooking.

Do I have to rinse quinoa before cooking it?

Most quinoa you buy comes pre-rinsed, but I give it a quick rinse, just in case, as the outer protective coating on quinoa can have a bitter taste.

Is quinoa healthy?

According to Healthline, quinoa has expeptional health benefits. It contains more fiber and protein than most other grains. It is considered a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids you need.

vegetable stuffing with quinoa in bowl.

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vegetable stuffing with quinoa in bowl.
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4.86 from 14 votes

Vegetable Stuffing with Quinoa

You won't miss the bread in this delicious vegetable stuffing with quinoa. It's a great alternative to traditional stuffing and the entire dish is ready in 30 minutes.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 sides (or 10 smaller sides)

Ingredients

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegetables and seasoning

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (~3 cups)
  • 2 red peppers, cored and diced (~2 cups)
  • 1 onion, diced (~2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced (~1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: salt, thyme, sage (or poultry seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (crunchy pecans or almonds) or green onions

Instructions

  • MAKE QUINOA: Place rinsed quinoa, salt and cold water (or veggie broth) in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  • SAUTE VEGETABLES: While quinoa is cooking, in a large skillet, heat oil to medium high heat. Sauté onion, sweet potatoes, celery, peppers for about 10-12 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add spinach, garlic and seasonings to the veggie mixture. Cook, stirring for another 2 minutes until spinach has wilted.
  • FINISH VEGETABLE STUFFING: Add quinoa and toss to combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a bit more oil if needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle nuts if using and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  1. Variations and substitutes
    • Use butternut squash instead of sweet potato (or leave it out)
    • Add-ins: 
      • diced apple or mango – add just before serving
      • raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates or prunes
      • chopped canned water chestnuts for some crunch
      • fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, chives
    • For a non-vegetarian version and smoky flavor of this savory quinoa stuffing, add diced hot dog or sausage while sautéing the vegetables
    • Substitute the thyme and sage with 1-2 teaspoons curry powder.
  2. Make ahead:
    • Cool stuffing and refrigerate for a day or two in an airtight container (if using nuts, leave them out and add them just before serving).
    • Warm stuffing in microwave for a few minutes, stirring in between – or in covered casserole dish in the oven at 350F/177C for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.
    • Leftover quinoa stuffing will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. 
 
  • Nutrition value estimates do not include the optional nuts. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 461mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4299IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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