Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing

Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing – and nobody will guess its little secret: it’s vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free! Plus, the addition of protein-rich quinoa gives this hearty stuffing main-dish cred – perfect for those that prefer to skip the turkey.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Welcome to November, where it’s all Thanksgiving, all the time! Well, at least around here, that’s is. I’ve got lots of Thanksgiving recipes planned for this month, and I’m excited to kick it off with this recipe for Herbed Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing.

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing - Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

But first, can I complain? I am SO NOT READY for winter. I didn’t really realize it until the time change yesterday. I thought I would relish an extra hour, and that part’s nice and all, but it gets dark SO EARLY. And it’s rainy and miserable out there. It’s November 3 and I’m already over it. I have no words of wisdom for myself; all I can do is complain right now. I’m deflated. I want to be outsiiiiiddeee in the suuuunnnn.

Okay, snapping out of it. Sharing about stuffing. Stuffing is a good thing about winter, right? Along with myriad other things. I’m just being a baby.

Stuffing is indeed one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. Buttery, crunchy chunks of bread – what’s not to love? But sometimes it’s nice to shake things up a bit. So I thought I’d create a rice-based stuffing with all of the traditional stuffing flavors we love. Something that’s a little more dense and hearty – a vegetarian (and vegan!) stuffing that’s naturally gluten-free, too. Why not cover all of the dietary bases while also making something everyone will no doubt clamor for? That was my goal here.

We have a wild rice blend – I used a half-and-half blend of wild rice and brown rice. And quinoa – a nice bit of hearty protein added to the mix so that this stuffing can also double as a main dish for those that prefer to skip the turkey.

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing - Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

The rice and quinoa simmer with tart apples, vegetables, veggie broth, and a splash of wine on the stovetop until tender. Then in go a few handfuls of herbs, dried cranberries, and crunchy pecans. I have to give a shout-out to Michelle, here. She is my hairstylist and friend, and I told her I wasn’t quite happy enough with this recipe. She suggested dried cranberries for texture, and it totally did the trick. Michelle, you rock! 🙂 Plus, she fixed my hair. Literally. (Me to the toddler: “I have to go get my hair fixed.” Toddler: “Mommy’s hair is broken!” Which it pretty much was.)

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing - Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

So after stirring in those bits of deliciousness, you scoop it all into a casserole dish and bake. The flavors meld and bits of rice on the tops and edges get all irresistibly crunchy. Just like a good stuffing should.

It’s almost enough to make me forget about the dreary weather. Almost.

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing - Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

Herbed Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing

Yield: Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free! Plus, the addition of protein-rich quinoa gives this hearty stuffing main-dish cred - perfect for those that prefer to skip the turkey.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for greasing the baking dish + more for drizzling over the top
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry-ish white wine (I like Sauv Blanc for both cooking and drinking; Chardonnay would work well too)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice blend (I prefer a blend of 50% wild rice and 50% brown rice)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley + 1/4 cup more for topping after baking
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced
 

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute. Stir in wine, then add broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the wild rice blend and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in the quinoa and cover again. Cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 more minutes. Stir in the cranberries, pecans, 1/2 cup parsley, and sage. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a large (9-inch x 13-inch is best) casserole dish with a little olive oil. Lightly scoop the rice mixture into the casserole dish, lightly mounding it instead of mashing it down.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley. Serve.

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing - Specked with fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans, everyone will love this flavor-filled stuffing - and nobody will guess its little secret: it's vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

33 Responses to “Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing”

  1. you my dear are a genius!  Love the wild rice quinoa combo and the apples and cranberries pretty much sealed the deal. I want this sooner than thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing 

  2. Our clocks changed a week ago and since we’re so far north it’s getting dark sooooo early already. Like, it’s dark by 3:30 this week. And we’ve got so far to go until the shortest day! Nothing to do but embrace the darkness with good old fashioned comfort food. I love the looks of this stuffing, and it’s possible I’ll have an American Thanksgiving potluck to attend (we had the Canadian version a few weeks back) so have pinned for that event! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. This. Looks. Amazing!

    Great photos. I really want to make this and I’m only so-so on quinoa. And for those who aren’t vegetarians, I can see adding some Italian sausage or something to this too. Yum and yum.

  4. This looks amazing! Such a unique take on stuffing, and it sounds absolutely delicious. Pinned!

  5. such a perfect potluck meal!! love it 

  6. Yummy! This looks so fabulous! A MUST for T-Day! Or any day for that matter 😉

  7. Have you tried making this a day before so that only the baking is necessary right before serving?  Was it okay to sit that long?

    • I have not tried that yet, but I’m certain it would work fine if you assemble it up to the point of adding the nuts and cranberries. Right before baking, just stir the nuts and cranberries in, put it in the casserole, and bake.

  8. Is there any way to substitute couscous for the quinoa?? Thanks!

    • That would probably be delicious! The recipe, however, accounts for the liquid needed to cook the quinoa … and I don’t think couscous will need that same amount of liquid, nor will it likely take as much time to cook. I would perhaps start with less liquid then cook the couscous separately, stirring it in with the herbs etc. If you try it please let us know how it works out!

  9. Hi…I am new to your website, and the recipe looks really good. Do have any recommendations as to which brand of low sodium vegetable broth to use? Many of them do not taste good…thanks for your help!

  10. Ok, husband brought home ‘instant’ wild rice blend. Do you have an approximate yield so I can convert?

  11. Wow, this looks great! If i wanted to cook it in the turkey, though, do you think that would work? I’m wondering how I would have to adapt it

    • Oh gosh. I’m not sure. I’d say you’d want to make it up to the point of baking – after you stir the cranberries and pecans in, then stuff it into the bird. But I’ve not tried it this way so I can’t say for sure that it will be as good this way. If you try it please report back!

  12. Rachel K, I used that yesterday. I used 4 of the white bags–roughly 3.5 cups. Cooked it ten minutes per the box. It’s yummy and worked beautifully. 

  13. I would love to make this for Christmas, and I was wondering if i could make this the night before, store in the fridge, and do the final baking in the oven just before serving? Do you think that would work without compromising the flavour/texture? Thanks! 

  14. I have been eying this stuffing for a looong time. Yes, it’s August. Yes, I’m making it ASAP. I recently started the transition to vegetarian after seeing Peta videos 🙁 and I was trying to figure out what to do at the upcoming holidays! This sounds absolutely lovely.

  15. This looks delish! Can I make this the day B4 Thanksgiving…leave out for 20 minutes and bake (sorta like the caulifower gratin)?

  16. Sounds ecelent!

  17. Wow, this looks delicious! We’re making it for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. So I made a test batch of this for book club (planning to make for vegan t-giving). I had *just* purchased the regular quinoa from the Whole Foods bulk bin. It took at least 30 more minutes to cook, so my rice, apples, and celery ended up a bit over done. I kept having to add liquid, too. SO, should I cook the quinoa separately to avoid this? Add it with the rice? Might toasting the quinoa help? Really loved the flavor though and it was a hit at book club. 🙂

  19. Thanks so much for your great recipe idea.  I have been cooking a wild rice stuffing for Thanksgiving for about 10 years, and now that my wife and daughter are Gluten Free and my daughter is vegatarian, I have needed to freshen up my old recipe. Thanks for the idea of adding quinoa, cranberries and apples.  I have been using sliced almonds and mushrooms as well as carrots, so I am stealing stuff from your stuffing.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Also my first time on your site.  I will bookmark it and look for more in the future.  

  20. I am making this in a crock pot casserole cooker I am going to dump and let go cook on high 4 hours I will let you know how it works

  21. Hello there ♥ Just thought I’d leave a massage to let you know I’ve loved this amazing recipe and I’ve included it in my 50 Epic Vegan Christmas recipes’ roundup:
    http://sevenroses.net/2015/12/50-epic-vegan-christmas-recipes/
    Thank you & happy holidays! =)

  22. I followed the recipe and, just so I’m clear, the apples are supposed to disintegrate to nothing, yes?

  23. Thanks for a great recipe!  It was a hit with my family.  It’s even good cold with some red onion and bell peppers tossed in to make it like a salad.

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