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Quinoa “Stuffing” (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios)

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Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Happy almost-Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m sure that most of you are way more organized than me and already have your meals planned down to the last detail. But just in case you’re running a little behind (like me!), or for those of you who may be looking for a healthier stuffing recipe (like me!), or, ahem, might not even be a huge fan of traditional stuffing (like me!), I have a last-minute winner of a recipe for you — Butternut Quinoa Stuffing.

Actually, there’s no “stuffing” involved with this tasty dish, as it is cooked 100% outside of the bird. It’s technically more of a “dressing”, if anything. But whatever you call it, this healthy and fabulously delicious quinoa is filled with so many of my favorite stuffing ingredients — roasted butternut squash, pistachios, cranberries, spinach, red onions, and more. And it can be ready to go in about 45 minutes, with only 15 minutes of prep time. And it’s gluten free. And vegetarian. And vegan. So basically just about anyone at your Thanksgiving meal can happily dive in.

Did I convince you yet??

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Ok, let’s talk about how easy it is to prepare.

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Here are all of the ingredients you need. Fresh, very healthy, and scrumptious.

(Although if you like to cook your quinoa in veggie or chicken broth — as I recommend in my tutorial on how to cook quinoa — be sure to add those in too. Or you can just cook quinoa in water.)

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Simply chop up a butternut squash and a red onion. Toss them with some cloves of garlic in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast them until they are nice and cooked. Your home is going to smell a-mazing.

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Meanwhile, cook a batch of quinoa, seasoned with orange zest. You can use any color of quinoa — white, red, black, or multicolored. I went with red for this recipe since it seemed Thanksgivingish. (Yes, that’s a word.)

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Then chop up a bunch of fresh spinach (or any greens — kale, arugula, etc.), and toss it with the roasted veggies, cooked quinoa, pistachios and cranberries. Then season with extra salt and pepper if need be.

And people — that’s it! I told you it was easy!


Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

And holy moly, is it tasty.

And healthy!

Quinoa is naturally packed with protein. But add in all of those pistachios, fresh spinach, squash, and even the dried cranberries, and lemme assure you — you won’t need to feel guilty going back for seconds of this fresh stuffing. So, so, so much healthier than its traditional counterpart.

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

Perfect for Thanksgiving, or any other day of the year you are looking for a delicious and healthy meal. Enjoy!

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan

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Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios (Quinoa “Stuffing”)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: About 4-6 servings 1x


This delicious quinoa stuffing is packed with healthy ingredients and is full of amazing flavor!


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (see tutorial for cutting a butternut squash)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 35 cloves garlic, with peel still on
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil (or any high-heat oil)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups roughly-chopped fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss butternut squash, onion, and garlic cloves (with peel still on) until they are evenly coated with oil. Spread then out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and cooked and the edges begin to slightly brown. Remove and set aside. Discard the garlic peels.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together quinoa, broth (or water), and orange zest, and cook according to package instructions. (Or you can follow my tutorial for how to cook quinoa). When cooked, set aside.
  4. Add the cooked veggies, quinoa, spinach, cranberries and pistachios to a large mixing bowl, and gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper if need be. Serve warm.

Quinoa 'Stuffing' (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios) | #glutenfree #vegan


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31 comments on “Quinoa “Stuffing” (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Pistachios)”

  1. Absolutely gorgeous, Ali!! This is my kind of stuffing. I have never been big on the traditional stuffing, but this I know I would love! So pretty, healthy and it has some of my favorite foods!

  2. Girrrrrl, this recipe rocks!! Love this idea!

  3. This is my kind of stuffing! Happy Thanksgiving my friend! xo

  4. Love this twist on traditional stuffing! You’re a genius! :)

  5. Whoa! That is scarily similar to the super salad I just made a few days ago! Great minds think alike huh! If this is as good as that was (which I am sure it will be with butternut squash) then I will definitely enjoy this. Lots of superfoods to sustain intense training, and repair damage….once I start running again that is :)

  6. Fist pump for gluten free stuffings!! This is gorgeous – love the fresh spinach at the end!

  7. gorgy mcGorgy! Love this. So great seeing you this weekend! Hope your Thanksgiving is rad-tacular.

  8. So gorgeous, I love all of the colors! I’m not a huge fan of traditional stuffing, I would definitely prefer this on my table!

  9. Such a great side dish that everyone can enjoy! Gorgeous colors!

  10. I love this riff on traditional stuffing. Quinoa is where it’s at! Have a great Thanksgiving!

  11. Lovely colours! My boyfriend is a coeliac so we eat a lot of quinoa. Can’t wait to give it a go!

  12. Oh my, this looks bursting with flavor and so vivid :)

  13. thank you so much for sharing this recipe! it was the perfect dish to make for our thanksgiving gathering, and i can’t wait til everyone else gets excited over the colors like i did while i was making it! :)

  14. My friend recommended this recipe to me and I made it yesterday with some adjustments — delicious!!! Just posted it on my blog with a link back to your original recipe of course! 

  15. Are the pistachios salted or unsalted?

  16. My 13 year old said we need to make more healthy food like this.  She had it cold for lunch the next day and really liked it. Simple and delish-I need to find precut squash, chopping took a while.  So what do we do with the garlic cloves after they are roasted (didn’t see that step listed). We roasted some fresh cauliflower too and used tri-color quinoa.   I would roast on two sheet pans since there was alot of squash and it didn’t brown so well.  

  17. OMG! This is so worth every minute it took to make. All the yummy favors attack the taste buds from all directions. One suggestion I would give is to leave making this dish until fairly close to meal time (like within an hour). Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Thank you Diana, that’s so sweet of you! We’re happy you enjoyed this, and we appreciate your suggestion as well! We hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  18. My significant other is allergic to pistachios.  What could I substitute for those?

    • Hi Yvonne, you can just leave the pistachios out or replace them with any other nut you like. We hope you enjoy!

  19. This looks amazing and so healthy! I think this could be a meal in itself. Thanks for sharing! :D

  20. This is one of my favourite recipes of all time!! A twist that I really like to do is use jalapeno pistachios.

  21. I added a little bit of cumin. Perfect! Used vegetable broth. This was a hit with my vegan family.

  22. This is one of my favourite recipes of all time!! A twist that I really like to do is use jalapeno pistachios.

  23. Made this last night for my first Vegan Thanksgiving. Delicious!! I did tweak a bit as I added a dressing for a more acid zing. Dressing was juice from a naval orange, grapefruit white balsamic and EVOO after I tossed other ingredients as I used it as a veggie/salad side dish at room temperature. Used a few cups of arugula as the green. Used orange flavored cranberries. Will definitely make again.

  24. Can I use sweet potatoes instead?

  25. I plan to make this as a side for Christmas dinner. Can you give me a suggestion on the best way to prep this ahead/make since my oven will be used for a slow roast of beef? Should I make it ahead in the morning and store in fridge to reheat right before dinner? If so – what would be the best way to reheat?