I’ve been cutting back on pasta and rice, and I read somewhere that quinoa was a good alternative. I purchased some at my local health-food store, and I’ve perfected a recipe for quinoa stuffing. My plan is to serve it in place of the traditional version at Thanksgiving. It’s so good that I’m confident my family will love it. — R.E., via email
Great suggestion. Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, looks like a grain, but it’s actually the seeds of a leafy green plant native to South America. Rich in protein, fiber, magnesium and potassium, quinoa has a relatively low glycemic index, making it an excellent alternative to starchy grains that drive up blood sugar. It’s also suitable for people following gluten-free diets.
Though I don’t typically recommend foods with this many carbohydrates (a quarter cup contains 30 g), it’s a good substitute for rice, pasta, potatoes—and for making quinoa stuffing.
Here is R.E.’s quinoa stuffing recipe, which she kindly agreed to share, in case you’d like to try it. — JW
Healthy Quinoa Stuffing Recipe
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash or other low-sodium seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- Dash dried cloves
- 2 cups quinoa
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- Pinch of salt, to taste, if needed
In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth and spices to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed, approximately 15–20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and celery and sauté 5–10 minutes until onion is slightly browned. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is done cooking.
When quinoa has finished cooking, combine all ingredients and stir well. Add a pinch of salt if needed to taste. Serve immediately.
Note: Mushrooms, squash, and zucchini make nice vegetable additions to this quinoa stuffing. If the mixture is too dry, toss in a little olive oil before serving.
Per Serving: 213 Calories; 7g Fat; 11g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 43mg Sodium.