Monday, November 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Quinoa Stuffing {Vegan}: This Week's Cravings (THANKSGIVING)

Day 325.

Today's This Week's Cravings theme is Thanksgiving Dinner and Desserts and I'm sharing a side dish that can also hold its own as a vegan and vegetarian main dish: Butternut Squash Quinoa Stuffing. I had a beautiful butternut squash in my most recent CSA box and craisins leftover from these fantastic Cranberry-Orange Scones, so I decided to craft a stuffing recipe that's healthy AND delicious. I've filled my naturally vegan and gluten-free stuffing with butternut squash, cranberries and walnuts.

Since I'm allergic to celery and don't eat meat, stuffing's not something I often get to try. But, to be honest, even when I do try it, the soaked and baked bread cubes just aren't my thing. I crafted my stuffing with quinoa instead. If you've never used, or even heard of quinoa, don't's really simple to cook (a lot like rice or cous cous) and, with a mild nutty taste, primarily takes on the flavor of what you cook with it. It's biggest bonus, especially for vegetarians and vegans, is that it's a complete protein. So, it can really stand as its own complete meal when fruits and veggies are mixed in. Unlike rice, you absolutely CANNOT skip the rinsing step for quinoa. I'll admit it, I skip that step A LOT with rice. But quinoa has a natural bitter coating that acts as a pest deterrent, so you must rinse this off prior to cooking or it will taste bitter.

My This Week's Cravings co-hostesses are: Tina at Moms Crazy Cooking, Kristen at From My Tiny Kitchen, Angie at Big Bear's Wife and Nicole at The Daily Dish. As hostesses, we will try our hardest to visit as many of the links we can. We all enjoy your links and look forward to gathering recipes each week.
The party has a few SIMPLE RULES and all of the themes for the entire year are list here on the THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS tab at Moms Crazy Cooking. Plan ahead, check out the weeks you want to make sure to link up or just browse them to see what's going on.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Stuffing
Ingredients for 10-12 side servings or 8 entree servings
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon House seasoning (or kosher salt and black pepper)
  • 2 cups quinoa, raw
  • 2 cups Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I used a mix of both)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, crushed (optional)
Preheat oven to 400. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pulp. Score into cubes without cutting through skin. Place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and add about 1/2 cup water to the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix onions with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of House seasoning. Roast at 400 alongside squash for 15 minutes. (I add it to the same sheet 15 minutes into the roasting time, after most of the water has evaporated.)

Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Add quinoa to saucepan, bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, until quinoa sprouts are showing and most of the liquid is absorbed. 

In a small bowl, mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Italian seasoning. When squash and onions are ready, reduce oven heat to 350 and cut squash from skin in rough cubes. Add onions, squash and balsamic mix to quinoa. Mix chopped nuts and dried cranberries and fold into quinoa. Pour into a sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with crushed nuts, if desired. 
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Fluff with a fork and serve.

The Results
This dish is incredible. It has so many wonderful flavor notes and everyone loved it. The kids went crazy for it. My meat-eating husband, who didn't realize what exactly I was making said "mmm...this tastes like stuffing." So, I think I accomplished that goal. This will definitely be adorning our holiday tables in the near future.

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Veggie Converter This Week's Cravings

This Week's Cravings Upcoming Linky "THEMES"
Here is a complete list of the past and what's coming up next on THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS!
  • November 28 - French Toast, Pancakes, Waffles & More
  • December 5 - Christmas Baking: Sweets, Treats, Candy & Gift Ideas·
  • December 12 - Macaroni and Cheese 
  • December 19 - Christmas Dinners & Holiday Food Traditions

If you are a regular link-up we're excited to see what you made this week. If you are new please read and follow the simple rules, so that everyone can enjoy the linky party! If you forget to follow the theme, your post will be deleted. Please don't feel hurt, just come back and link up a recipe that follows the theme. Thanks a million, we look forward to blogging with you!

The LINKY PARTY is open ALL Week!

PLEASE do not link more then 3 recipes per week.

This week's theme is: THANKSGIVING

Please only link recipes with our theme!

This week's theme is: THANKSGIVING

Please only link recipes with our theme!
This post is shared at·Mouthwatering Mondays, My Meatless Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, On the Menu Monday, Cravings, Just Another Meatless MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless MondaysMingle Monday, MMMmonday, Mangia Monday, Make a Food-e Friend, Recipe Sharing Monday, Made By You Mondays, Monday Mania.Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper ClubSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Hearth and Soul,Tutorial Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.


  1. Looks amazing as usual, and it's an awesome T-giving protein option for us vegetarians/vegans!!

  2. these look so delicious! Came over from Made By YOu Monday, and so glad I did! Would love for you to come link up to my Tasty Tuesday party going on now.

  3. Your stuffing looks fantastic! I have never used quinoa in a stuffing before, but I bet it works really well. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  4. This looks good! Right now I have my son off of all grains (he has so many allergies), but I want to try it! Shay :)

  5. @Shay -- I'm not sure whether it matters for your son's allergies or not, but quinoa is technically a seed, though its commonly referred to as a grain. Might be one he can eat. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi there, I just found your blog yesterday and made this today to bring to an out-of-town gathering for Thanksgiving so that I can have something to share and safely eat. I snuck several bites as I filled the pan (I'll bake it through right before serving tomorrow). It is DELICIOUS!! The only changes I made were the use of Herbamare as the house seasoning, a fig balsamic vinegar, no walnuts; just pecans, and a mix of cherry and pomegranate Craisins.
    Thank you!

  7. Oops, I did forget to say that I used a ratio of probably 3/4 red quinoa and 1/4 millet since I didn't have a full two cups of quinoa.

  8. @Brandae -- Your version sounds fantastic. I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  9. Delicious stuffing with quinoa, love to try that grain. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.