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The past few weeks I’ve been aching to make a Thanksgiving stuffing with quinoa. It was a success in my book! I took all the traditional flavors adding lean turkey sausage, sweet and tart granny smith apple and of course fluffy, nutritious quinoa for bread.


You can stop here and enjoy your delicious quinoa on a plate with turkey and other scrumptious sides or you can take it to the next level and stuff it in a roasted, caramelized rich squash. Simply out of this world. A healthy spin on a classic. I’m a firm believer anyone can eat healthy year round and still enjoy what’s on your fork.


Feel free to make it your own by adding other seasonal ingredients like dried cranberries, pears, pecans or walnuts. A dish that will make you thankful for sure. And able to stand on the scale next week with confidence (and well fitting pants). Have fun with this one!



gluten & dairy free options
serves 8

For Quinoa:
• 1 cup QUINOA
• 1 medium YELLOW ONION, chopped
• 4 oz MUSHROOMS, chopped (white or portabella)
• 1 cup CELERY, WITH LEAVES, chopped
• 1 large GRANNY SMITH APPLE, chopped
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN, 100% first cold pressed unrefined
• 4 cloves GARLIC, minced (or 1 t. garlic powder)
• 2 tsp ROSEMARY, CRUSHED, DRIED (or 1 T. fresh, chopped)
• 1 tsp THYME, DRIED (or 1/2 T. fresh)
• 1 tsp SAGE, GROUND, DRIED (or 1-2 T. fresh)
• 7 oz LEAN TURKEY SAUSAGE (ground or links)*

For Squash:
• 4 squash ACORN SQUASH, halved, seeds removed
• 4 tsp PURE or RAW HONEY
• 1/4 tsp CINNAMON, GROUND, (optional)

*Gluten free option: Use GF chicken broth and turkey sausage (I used Applegate Farm brand 10 small turkey sausage links – microwaved and chopped).

1. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray; brown and crumble turkey sausage (or microwave if using pre-cooked links). Set aside.

2. In the same skillet, over medium heat sauté onion, celery, apple and mushrooms in olive oil with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes until softened; add garlic, continue cooking 1-2 minutes stirring often. Set aside.

3. Using the same skillet, add rinsed and drained quinoa and toast about 1 minute stirring often. Add chicken broth, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook about 15-20 minutes longer or until liquid absorbs and quinoa cooked. Fluff with a fork, then stir in cooked vegetables, turkey and all seasonings. Add sea salt and pepper to taste if needed. Make ahead and refrigerate, or serve hot immediately (I think it’s more flavorful after setting in fridge a day or two and reheating).

4. For roasted squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Half an acorn squash, removing seeds and strings with a spoon. Sprinkle inside with sea salt and pepper. Prepare a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed generously with cooking spray. Place acorn squash cut side down on pan, bake 20 minutes then turn over and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until inside is soft.
Drizzle each inside with 1/2 tsp honey and sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired. Stuff with quinoa stuffing and serve in individual acorn squash bowls. Serving size: half a squash with about 1 cup quinoa.

VARIATIONS: Add dried cranberries, sub pears for apple, use 1/2 cup white wine with 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Sub turkey bacon sausage. Top with chopped pecans or walnuts for crunch.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (with squash): 250 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 20mg cholesterol, 44g carb, 6g fiber, 7g sugar, 9g protein

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (1 cup quinoa only): 150 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 20mg cholesterol, 19g carb, 3g fiber, 4g sugar, 8g protein