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Healthy Quinoa Stuffing

This gluten-free, vegan Quinoa Stuffing recipe is healthier than traditional Thanksgiving stuffing and just as delicious, thanks to fresh herbs, sweet potato, and crunchy pecans. 

One thing I am thankful for every year at Thanksgiving, in addition to my family and friends, is the abundance of healthy food at our table.

Every year, I like to bring some healthier options to lighten up the traditional Thanksgiving classics like mashed potatoes and pie. I always bring this nutty quinoa stuffing. If you have any vegan, gluten-free or vegetarian eaters at your holiday table, they're going to love this dish. And if not, they'll still love it just as much!

ingredients for quinoa stuffing


This quinoa stuffing gets tons of seasonal flavor from some important ingredients, including:

  • Quinoa. Use any variety you like. I like the flavors of tri-color quinoa.
  • Vegetable broth
  • Sweet potato. Butternut squash also works
  • Shallot. You could also use diced onion or garlic.
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs. I use thyme, rosemary, and sage.
  • Cinnamon for a bit of warmth.
  • Chili pepper flakes. This is optional if you like some spice
  • Pecans. You can use any nut you like. Walnuts or hazelnuts are also delicious.

plate of qiunoa stufing with herbs on top

Fresh vs. Dried Spices for Stuffing

I like using these dried, hearty spices in my stuffing recipe because you can add them to the oven and not worry about them getting burned. Simply Organic makes my favorite spices. To finish the dish, that's when I'll use fresh herbs to highlight their delicate flavors, aromas, and textures.

plate of quinoa stuffing with butternutsquash

Stuffing Mix-Ins

If you'd like to amp up the flavors and textures in this dish, try adding some simple mix-ins like:

  • Diced apples. I recommend a sturdy tart apple like Granny Smith.
  • Dried fruit. Dried cranberries, dates or golden raisins are great.
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries. Add them to the roasting pan with the squash.
  • Diced celery for added crunch.
  • Vegetarian sausage for protein.
  • Pepitas

spoon holding a scoop of homemade quinoa stuffing

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

For all you gluten-free eaters out there, this recipe is the perfect substitute for the classic Thanksgiving stuffing. It's light, flavorful, and packed with all the standard ingredients. But, you won't find any bread here. It's simply my dear friend quinoa.

close up on quinoa stuffing with sage and pecans

Make-Ahead Stuffing

There's a lot to do on Thanksgiving day, so make things a bit easier for yourself by prepping this dish ahead of time. You can assemble the entire dish (leave out the nuts) up to two days ahead of time. Keep the stuffing in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to serve. You can add the nuts at the last minute to keep them crunchy. Serve this dish cold or at room temperature.

More Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes For Your Menu

If you make this Quinoa Stuffing Recipe, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

Healthy Quinoa Stuffing

5 from 23 votes
This healthy gluten-free quinoa stuffing is loaded with butternut squash, pecans, dried cranberries and tons of fresh and dried herbs for a better-for-you Thanksgiving side dish.
author: Alyssa
yield: 10 Servings
plate of qiunoa stufing with herbs on top
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



  • Add quinoa and broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until all the broth as been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and allow to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
    collage of cooking quinoa in a pot
  • While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Toss your diced sweet potatoes (or squash), shallot and garlic in a large bowl. Add spices, salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil and toss to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 15 - 20 minutes, flipping half way through.
    collage of seasoning roasted butternut squash
  • Assemble stuffing by combining cooked quinoa, potatoes and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Stir together and add apple cider vinegar, rosemary and thyme. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
    collage of mixing herbs into quinoa stuffing
  • Serve cold or reheat slightly.
    plate of quinoa stuffing with butternut squash


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 11640IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2.9mg
cuisine: American
course: Side Dish

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Have a healthy Thanksgiving this year by serving this super SIMPLE Quinoa Stuffing recipe instead of the traditional bread-based one!
easy quinoa stuffing
easy quinoa stuffing

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39 comments on “Healthy Quinoa Stuffing”

  1. I just made this and it is absolutely delicious! I halved the recipe, as I am the only one in my household that eats quinoa, but I wanted to try it for a possible Christmas dinner recipe. It will be on table!
    Didn’t really change a thing except I used almonds as I did not have pecans. Used ground spices rather than dried. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Loved this recipe! I made it last minute so I didn’t have fresh herbs on hand. With them omitted it needed a little life added so I added a little extra cinnamon, some nutmeg and orange zest and it was amazing! Definitely a winner. Thank you!! A great stuffing substitute for thanksgiving.

  3. Yummy, I added 2 cups of bread crumbs and substituted broth to vegetable broth to the recipe and I will definitely make this again, and again.
    Thank- you,

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  5. The recipe looks amazing, can’t wait to try it. I’m wondering what spice I can use instead of cinnamon? I love cinnamon myself but unfortunately my family doesn’t… 🙁

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  7. Hello Alyssa Rimmer,
    I have a couple questions about your recipe. When you say “finely diced”, what method are you using to get your sweet potatoes down to less than 1/4 inch dice? I am having an issue with getting them that small safely. I am a chef and have a very good mandolin. Are you using a deli slicer?
    when you say “1 tsp of salt and pepper” is that a mix? what ratio? or is that 1 tsp of each?
    When using the fresh herbs as a garnish how are you getting your rosemary to not be ‘woody and stemmy’ did i miss read the recipe and should i have used the fresh herbs in the potato mixture?
    Due to the size and hardness of my potatoes which ended up being 1/2 inch dice. should i increase the cooking time for roasting? If so how long so that they are not still crunchy?
    With all the other crunchy materials used in this recipe and all the aromatics you are using. Should 1/2 cup chopped pecans be larger pieces so that they can be tasted? What sort of “chop” are we speaking of? is this a “broken pieces rough chop”? A fine chop?
    I am sorry if I am missing something in the preparation of this dish. Please feel free to email me so that I can better understand how this is supposed to go together.

    1. Hi Tony,

      I like to cut my sweet potatoes into matchsticks (like fries) and then cut them into squares. I find that’s quite easy to get them small. For the salt and pepper, it’s each, not a mix 🙂 For the rosemary, you need to remove the leaves from the stem (which is how you’ll always use rosemary when stirring it into a recipe) and then finely chopping it. And yes, if you’re potatoes aren’t fully cooked, keep roasting! Pecans can be whatever size you want — it’s more about a texture than anything else. I like mine in a rough chop personally!

      Enjoy it 🙂

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  13. I’m fairly new to all of this, I only began eating quinoa about 6 weeks ago and I think this recipe sounds great to round out our first Thanksgiving à la healthy! I’m staying away from sweet potatoes, so do you think it would work with butternut squash just as well? If so, would I prepare it the same way? I think I will try walnuts too.

    Thank you!

  14. Avatar photo
    Lynette Caulkins

    Oh!!! THIS is “it”! Last week, somebody had this delicious quinoa dish at a concert reception, and we just adored it. I came surfing to find something similar, and this recipe is exactly what we had. So happy to find it, and it’s going to have a very welcome spot on our Thanksgiving table. 😀 Thank you for sharing.

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  16. Well, I think a few ground walnuts and Brazil’s would see me having this as main item…. A good satay type sauce and pots of vegetables an that is me happy!

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  21. I am pretty new to quinoa and was wondering what the difference is between red and white quinoa? Can this recipe use all white or all red quinoa? Thanks.

    1. Hi Cheryl! So happy you’ve found quinoa – it’s a fabulous little food and I’m sure you will love it (if you don’t already) 🙂 So as far as the different varieties, they are pretty interchangeable, but you will notice a slight different in texture. The white (or golden) variety is the fluffiest and softest, red and black quinoa have a bit more crunch to them and don’t get as fluffy. All three are delicious and this recipe would be great with either white, red or a blend of the two. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other quinoa related questions along the way 🙂 xo Alyssa

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