Holiday feasts just don’t seem complete without the presence of a heaping bowlful of stuffing. And while it’s tempting to reach for the store-bought boxed variety during the festive season time crunch, what’s unappetizing is the refined carbs and laundry list of mystery items that most often populate ingredient lists. After all, who ever says, “Mmm, disodium inosinate”?
This easy from-scratch version ditches the soggy white bread for much healthier quinoa and packs in plenty of satisfying herby flavour. Roasted sweet potatoes add creamy texture, and chunks of pear deliver seasonal sweetness to please a crowd. Nobody will be tempted to drown this stuffing in gravy.
Warming your pan in the oven as it preheats helps the vegetables roast as soon as they hit the hot pan to encourage better browning. (Read: yum!)
4 tsp (20 mL) grapeseed or sunflower oil, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) tri-coloured quinoa
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp (10 mL) dry sage
2 large unpeeled sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
4 peeled shallots, sliced in half
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 unpeeled Bosc pears, ripe but firm, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) pecan halves, chopped
1/3 cup (80 mL) dried cherries (optional)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh thyme
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar
In large saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) oil. Place quinoa in pan and heat, stirring often, until it smells toasted. Add broth and sage to pan, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer covered until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) and place rimmed baking sheet in oven as it heats. Toss sweet potato and shallots with remaining oil and salt. Spread out on warmed baking sheet. Roast until sweet potato is tender, stirring once, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop shallots.
In large bowl, stir together quinoa, sweet potato, shallots, celery, pears, pecans, cherries (if using), thyme, and rosemary. Add cider vinegar and toss to combine.