Butternut Squash Quinoa Stuffing

This quinoa stuffing is loaded with butternut squash, mushrooms and herbs. It’s a healthy, savory gluten-free side dish to add to your Thanksgiving table.

I love Thanksgiving! I love the traditional dishes that are usually on the table, but if you know me, you know I like putting a healthy spin on the classics as well. I had the idea to try a quinoa stuffing and came up with this recipe that gives traditional stuffing a run for its money! This dish has all of the traditional flavors of the stuffing you’re used to, just no bread or gluten.

Wood spoon scooping a serving of quinoa stuffing.

I will say that this dish is definitely for the modern Thanksgiving table. For one, I’m not sure how well this dish would work for actually stuffing a turkey (probably not great!). And secondly, traditional stuffing lovers (like my husband) might be a little sad if you don’t make the real deal stuffing for them as well. BUT if you’re looking for a gluten-free stuffing idea or just a unique (and healthy!) dish to serve at your Thanksgiving table this year, this is the recipe for you!

Bowl and wooden spoon with quinoa stuffing made with cranberries and butternut squash.

Ingredients Needed for Quinoa Stuffing

  • vegetables – yellow onion, garlic cloves, celery, butternut squash, baby bella mushrooms
  • quinoa
  • vegetable broth or bone broth
  • butter – vegan or regular butter works
  • seasonings and spices – bay leaf, fresh sage, dried thyme, dried parsley, sea salt and pepper
  • pecans
  • dried cranberries or cherries

Celery and butternut squash being sauteed in a pan.

How to Make Quinoa Stuffing

Cook quinoa – Add quinoa, water and bay leaf into a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.

Cook veggies – Sauté the onion, garlic and celery with butter in a large skillet. Stir in mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Add butternut squash, broth, sage, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan. Cover and let mixture cook for 5 minutes, then remove the top and simmer for another 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the butternut squash is cooked through and the broth is mostly evaporated.

Combine mixtures – Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and top with the veggie mixture and dried cranberries. Stir to combine and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Bake – Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 baking dish and top with the chopped pecans. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until the pecans are golden brown and toasted.

Skillet with mushrooms, butternut squash and celery cooking in the pan.

How to Prep Quinoa Stuffing in Advance

This is the perfect dish to prep in advance! If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or just want to meal prep a delicious dish, this is for you. To prep this in advance, simply make the quinoa mixture and vegetable mixture ahead of time and then store in separate airtight containers.

When you’re ready to bake and serve the quinoa stuffing, combine the quinoa and vegetable mixture with the dried cranberries. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 baking dish and top with the chopped pecans. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until the pecans are golden brown and toasted.

How to Store Leftovers

If you have any leftover quinoa stuffing, let it cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Casserole dish with baked quinoa stuffing topped with pecans.

More Healthy Side Dishes to Try:

If you make this gluten-free quinoa stuffing, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

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Bowl and wooden spoon with quinoa stuffing made with cranberries and butternut squash.

Quinoa Stuffing


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This quinoa stuffing is loaded with butternut squash, mushrooms and herbs. It’s a healthy, savory gluten-free side dish to add to your Thanksgiving table.


Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon vegan butter (regular butter works too)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth or bone broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • more sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa: Add quinoa, water and bay leaf into a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove bay leaf.
  2. Cook veggies: Heat butter in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and celery and sauté until onion is fragrant and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add butternut squash, broth, sage, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan. Cover and let mixture cook for about 5 minutes, then remove top and simmer for another 10 minutes, allowing most of the broth to evaporate. You’ll know it’s done when the butternut squash is cooked through and fork tender. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix Everything Together: Add cooked quinoa into a large bowl and top with cooked veggie mixture and dried cranberries to the quinoa. Stir to combine, taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Bake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer mixture into a 9×13 baking dish, top with chopped pecans and bake for 20 minutes or until pecans are golden brown and toasted. Serve warm.
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 374
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 674mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 56g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: quinoa stuffing

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    23 comments
    1. Carol
      November 21, 2020 AT 12:16 am

      This recipe sounds great. Could I use fresh cranberries?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 21, 2020 AT 6:50 pm

        Hey Carol – I haven’t tried it, but I bet fresh cranberries would work! Let me know if you try it. 🙂

    2. Sharon
      November 20, 2020 AT 9:30 am

      This was so delicious, we are using it for Thanksgiving this year. My only change was that I used 1/2tsp of pepper and it was spicy enough for us. I love your recipes!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 20, 2020 AT 12:45 pm

        Ahh yay!! So glad you enjoyed this stuffing, Sharon. I appreciate you making it and coming back to leave a comment + star rating. <3

    3. Lindsay
      November 9, 2020 AT 10:30 am

      Delish!!

    4. Maggie
      November 4, 2020 AT 7:57 pm

      Wow, so good. Traditional stuffing is my absolute favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving so I am very impressed with how much this dish compares! 2/2 on the EBF recipes within 1 day-we had your slow cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Too hard to decide which I liked better. Loving all these fall recipes, thanks Brittany!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 4, 2020 AT 8:31 pm

        Ahh yay!! This makes me so happy to hear, Maggie. I’m so glad you loved this dish. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    5. Michelle Longo
      November 2, 2020 AT 9:18 am

      I dont see how much squash to use in the recipe….

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 2, 2020 AT 3:57 pm

        Hey Michelle – Sorry, I updated the post earlier this am because I noticed it was missing. It should now say 3 cups of butternut squash! 🙂

    6. Noreen
      November 2, 2020 AT 8:25 am

      Am I missing the amount of butternut squash in the list of ingredients? I don’t see it.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 2, 2020 AT 3:58 pm

        Hey Noreen – Sorry, I updated the post earlier this am because I noticed it was missing. It should now say 3 cups of butternut squash! 🙂

    7. Mattie @ Comfy & Confident
      November 23, 2014 AT 9:51 pm

      I just made Stovetop stuffing for my Friendsgiving this weekend. This recipe would of been a lot healthier and wholesome!

    8. Sherrie | With Food + Love
      November 23, 2014 AT 3:55 pm

      Yes such a perfect, healthier stuffing alternative. I started making something really similar to this a few years back and everyone has {{surprisingly}} really enjoyed it!!

    9. Jen Gilbert (@notfast_notlast)
      November 21, 2014 AT 8:19 pm

      Oh yum. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s totally not just for Thanksgiving. You could definitely eat this for lunch!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 23, 2014 AT 11:32 pm

        I totally agree! I actually took it to a family dinner at Isaac’s sister house a few weeks ago and didn’t tell anyone it was supposed to be stuffing. Everyone loved it. 🙂

    10. amanda
      November 21, 2014 AT 1:16 pm

      Sounds like a great every day side dish or lunch base too. Thanks for sharing! And I agree- quinoa in everything!

    11. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
      November 21, 2014 AT 11:35 am

      I would serve this alongside stuffing! I love quinoa!

    12. Bethany
      November 21, 2014 AT 11:22 am

      YUMMY!!!!!

    13. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
      November 21, 2014 AT 10:28 am

      You can never go wrong with using a grain like quinoa for stuffing!

    14. Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey
      November 21, 2014 AT 10:19 am

      This recipe looks delicious!! The pistachios and cranberries take it over the top!

    15. The Cookie ChRUNicles
      November 21, 2014 AT 9:57 am

      Love the look of this recipe!

    16. Andrew
      November 21, 2014 AT 9:44 am

      This looks delicious. I always complain about how heavy traditional stuffing is and how it fills me up forcing me to neglect other things on the table. This might be a solution! Thanks!

    17. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
      November 21, 2014 AT 9:26 am

      Really nice recipe! I am not gluten free, but I really minimize grains in my diet. Love this as an alternative.

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