Quinoa Holiday Dressing

Quinoa makes an excellent whole-grain alternative to bread or rice in holiday dressing. This recipe is traditionally flavored with fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary, with the addition of mushrooms, greens and almonds.


3 cups water
1-1/2 cups dry quinoa

1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
10-12 mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 ½ teaspoons salt-free poultry seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 to 1 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 head of greens (kale, chard, collards, spinach), chopped into very small pieces
½ cup raisins

½ cup sliced or slivered almonds, or chopped pecans

1. Cook the quinoa in a saucepan by bringing the quinoa and water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to very low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid and set aside.

2. Heat up a large skillet or soup pot, add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, adding just a tablespoon of water at a time if the onions stick, stirring frequently. Add the celery, mushrooms, granulated onion and garlic, poultry seasoning and dried basil, and sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Next, add in about a 1/2 cup of the water, fresh herbs, greens and raisins, and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to end up with a thin layer of liquid in the bottom of the pan.

4. In a large bowl (or in your soup pot), mix the cooked quinoa and almonds with the vegetables/spices. Spoon into a 9”x13” baking dish (no pan treatment is needed). Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees uncovered.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 8


Quinoa: Quinoa comes in yellow/white, red, and black (see photo below). Feel free to use any color, or a mixture. You can also use 3 cups cooked wild rice in the place of the cooked quinoa. The addition of 1/4 cup cooked barley would also be a nice complement to any version.

Mushrooms: Any kind of mushroom can be used here. I used white, crimini and shiitake. If the mushrooms are large, use a few less; if they are very small, use a few more. You can read more about mushroom types (with photos) in my Creamy Mushroom Soup post.

Raisin alternative: I know not everyone likes raisins in their stuffing, so feel free to leave them out or replace them with dried cranberries or cherries (diced first). While dried cranberries are usually pre-sweetened, be sure they don’t have oil on them (I see this in the bulk section a lot).


WHAT IS QUINOA? Quinoa is usually categorized as a whole grain but it is actually a seed. It is often used in place of other whole grains, such as rice or barley. I like it as a breakfast cereal instead of oatmeal. Quinoa is great because it takes less time to cook than other whole grains, just 15 to 20 minutes, compared to rice or barley at 45 minutes. Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein, and was a staple food for thousands of years in the Andes region of South America.

2013 is being recognized as the “International Year of the Quinoa” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), who say, “We realize that quinoa remains unfamiliar to many people, especially in the practical sense of cooking and recipes. But we hope that situation will change, given the remarkable nature of this easily-prepared, nutrient-rich food.”


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  1. mom says

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThis recipe looks so amazing…because my husband absolutely hates quinoa but his favourite food is stuffing…hummmm……let’s see if I can turn that frown upside down….Thanks for the great idea

    • says

      Hi AJ, I wasn’t sure so I looked on Wikipedia. It said yes, grains are seeds, with this clarification: “In botany, grains and cereals are synonymous with caryopses, the fruits of the grass family. In agronomy and commerce, seeds or fruits from other families are called grains if they resemble caryopses. For example, amaranth is sold as ‘grain amaranth’ and amaranth products may be described as ‘whole grains’ [similarly, quinoa and buckwheat are also in this group, called “pseudocereal grains”]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_grain

  2. Heidi says

    This recipe looks great! But my boyfriend hates cooked greens (he will eat them raw, but hates them cooked). Do you think this would still be good if I left out the head of greens? Thanks!

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