Quinoa is a superfood that everyone should include in their diet. Full of protein and a naturally gluten-free food, this complex carbohydrate has many health benefits. According a Huffington Post article, quinoa has a higher protein content than rice and wheat, is a good source of riboflavin (helps reduce migraines) and is alkaline-forming, which assists in balancing the body's pH levels. I made this dish to stuff our Thanksgiving turkey, but it can be made for any occasion. It's a perfect as a side dish or even as a balanced meal getting in a good, complex carbohydrate from the quinoa, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat from the walnuts and protein from the chicken sausage and quinoa.
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 5 finely chopped dried figs
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon dried cherries
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 2 sausage links (I bought this delicious chicken sausage with broccoli rabe and sun dried tomato from my local Italian market; ask your butcher if they specialty sausages, you never know until you ask.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
Place quinoa and water in a medium sauce pan on high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Make sure you don't burn the quinoa. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Toss in the onions and sausage (left photo). When the onions begin to caramelize and the sausage browns (about 5-8 minutes), toss in the celery, mushrooms, carrots and dried fruit. Stir and heat through until tender. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, rosemary, poultry seasoning and 1/4 cup of walnuts. Continue to stir and cook slowly to develop flavors, about 10 minutes.
Combine the quinoa, the sausage, vegetable and dried fruit mixture and chicken broth in a large bowl.
Use the dressing to stuff turkey, or bake in a dish coated with nonstick spray. Before heating in oven, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts on top.
This dish doesn't need to cook longer; only a quick heat in 250-degree oven.
Get ready for a burst of flavor in every bite. Enjoy!