This is traditional stuffing made totally vegan and gluten-free! It's quinoa stuffing with mushrooms, celery, apple, and the tastiest combination of herbs and seasonings. I am so excited to have this dish on my table this Thanksgiving and I know you'll love it, too!
You have to have stuffing on the table at Thanksgiving! This is a dish I get asked about every year since I cook without wheat. Here's my answer: Quinoa stuffing! This traditional Thanksgiving side has all the flavor of the stuffing you grew up eating, but it's totally vegan and gluten-free.
I love how excited gluten-free eaters get when they realize they can enjoy stuffing at Thanksgiving! There are so many delicious components in this recipe that all come together in the most satisfying side dish.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
I use quinoa all the time! It's one of my favorite pantry staples. Quinoa is light and absorbs flavor wonderfully while also being easy to prepare. It is loaded with fiber (one serving has over 5 grams) and is considered a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. This makes it a great source of plant-based protein for vegans. In fact, it has more protein than any other grain!
Quinoa is a good source of folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and many phytochemicals. It also offers important minerals such as calcium, potassium, copper and zinc.
I amazed at how this dish incorporates so many healthy ingredients together to create a truly satisfying dish. This recipe uses:
- Quinoa - cook in vegetable or no-chicken broth instead of water for more flavor if desired
- White onion
- Celery stalks
- White mushrooms
- Sweet red apple
- Diced pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Vegan, soy-free butter - I prefer butter but olive oil is a good substitute
- Seasonings - see below for what I use but feel free to choose seasonings based on your preferences!
Seasonings in Quinoa Stuffing
The seasonings in this quinoa stuffing are classic and nostalgic. I use all fresh herbs and seasonings for the most classic flavor. Here's what I've included in this recipe:
- Prepare the quinoa. Cook quinoa using my stovetop directions or Instant Pot directions. Use 1 cup of dry uncooked quinoa which will yield about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
- Sauté the onion and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 minutes. Then add garlic and sauté another minute.
- Cook the celery, fennel and mushrooms. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the celery and fennel soften and the mushrooms release their juices and start to evaporate a bit. Stir frequently throughout this cooking stage.
- Stir in the herbs, apple and pecans. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa. Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes to slightly toast and flavor the quinoa. Taste and add more seasonings if desired (I typically add a bit more salt, butter and herbs).
- Serve immediately.
- This is a Thanksgiving recipe you can prepare in advance! With all the chaos of preparing a Thanksgiving meal, this is one that does not need to be cooked the same day. Simply warm the stuffing on the stovetop when ready to serve.
- Vary up the ingredients! The instructions in this recipe do not need to be followed strictly. Feel free to add dried fruit (cranberries, raisins or dates), different types of apples, walnuts or pepitas.
- Allow to fully cool before storing. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Quinoa Stuffing with Apple
I included a diced apple in this recipe! It adds great texture and an unexpected, bright fall flavor to this quinoa stuffing. Leaving the skin on keeps the apple's nutrients intact and adds gorgeous bright red color to your stuffing dish!
Quinoa Stuffing with Mushrooms
This recipe has 8 ounces of white mushrooms with the stems removed. Mushrooms are low in calories and high in dietary fiber and riboflavin. They are also a good source of niacin, copper and pantothenate. They add a grounding, savory taste to the stuffing while also absorbing all of the amazing flavor of the seasonings!
More Healthy Gluten-Free and Vegan Holiday Side Dishes
- Soups: Nothing beats a bowl of warm butternut squash soup or blender pumpkin soup!
- Salads: Start the meal off with either a maple roasted butternut squash and apple quinoa salad or an apple arugula salad with candied walnuts, dates and vegan feta.
- Vegetables: No Thanksgiving is complete without vegan mashed potatoes, but I also really enjoy maple roasted butternut squash, crispy Brussels sprouts, oven-roasted cauliflower, maple glazed carrots and sautéed mushrooms.
- Casseroles: Try a savory green bean casserole or a decadent sweet potato casserole.
- Mac and Cheese: Yes, this gets its own category because who doesn't love the BEST vegan mac and cheese!
This dish has all the flavor of the stuffing you grew up eating, but it’s totally plant-based and gluten-free. It is made with quinoa, mushrooms, celery, onion, fennel, apple, pecans and a classic combination of Thanksgiving stuffing herbs and seasonings.
It is insanely delicious, loaded with nutrients and most importantly: nostalgic. It is satisfying yet light, leaving room in your belly for all the other Thanksgiving dishes!
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (cook in vegetable or no-chicken broth for more flavor if desired instead of water)
- 3 tablespoons vegan, soy-free butter (you can substitute olive oil)
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon fine salt (or more to taste at the end)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste at the end)
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 5 large celery stalks, ends trimmed, finely diced
- ½ medium fennel bulb, finely diced (stalks, leaves ["fronds"], and tough core pieces removed)
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, stems removed and finely diced
- Leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme, diced
- Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, diced (1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley leaves
- 2 large sage leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 large sweet red apple, cored and diced (skin left on)
- Optional: ½ cup diced pecans (or walnuts)
- Prepare your quinoa (you can do this step a couple days in advance if desired). Use my stovetop directions or my Instant Pot directions. You will need 1 cup of dry uncooked quinoa for this recipe which yields about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. With either method you can cook the quinoa in water or in vegetable broth (or no-chicken broth) if desired for more flavor.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter starts to melt add onion, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute.
- Add celery, fennel and mushrooms and cook for 10-15 minutes until the celery and fennel soften and the mushrooms release their juices and the juices start to evaporate a bit. Stir frequently throughout this cooking stage.
- Stir in the herbs, apple and pecans if using. Cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa, stir to combine, and cook for 3 minutes to warm and slightly toast and flavor the quinoa. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. I typically add a bit more salt, butter and herbs at the end.
- Serve immediately or allow to fully cool before storing. You can store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
Keywords: vegan quinoa stuffing