by Dr. Alexa Rauscher, Naturopathic Doctor
When I first began researching recipes, I was finding a lot of recipes that called for gluten-free bread. My family has tried this in the past, but it just doesn’t have the right consistency. It would be too dry, too grainy, just not right. So, I started to look at other possibilities and came to this great recipe.
Why couldn’t quinoa work? It is a very fluffy grain and can take on any flavour you want it to.
When I first started to look into this recipe, I wasn’t too sure about the sausage being adding in. But my family has been know to have stuffing competitions and I know my brother has used sausage in his personal recipe in the past. So I decided to go with it! And here is the recipe:
Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing
Serving Size: 6
Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
- 2 Chicken Sausages
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 Large Apples, chopped
- 1-2 Garlic Cloves, diced
- 1 ½ cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 3 Cups of Chicken Broth
- 1 Heaping Tbsp Fresh Sage
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/c Cup Cranberries
Begin by removing the casing from the sausage and cut into small pieces. Next, in a large pan over medium heat, sauté the sausage, onions and apples in the olive oil. Do so until soft, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mix from the pan into a large pot. Add in the quinoa, cranberries, sage, thyme and broth. Bring the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat down to low and let cook for 30-40 minutes.
Although this dish was pretty tasty as is, I have made some modification to it to make it even better:
1: Next time I would make it, I would add in more sage. For me, the taste of sage is the foundation of a good stuffing. With the amount that this recipe made, the 1 Tbsp was definitely not enough. Every once in a while I would get the sage flavour, but it needed more. So I would use 2 heaping Tbsp next time I made this recipe.
2. I found the dish as a whole to be a little on the sweet side for me. I made the decision to use a chicken apple sausage; but, with the apples already in the dish, and the sweetness from the other ingredients, a plain chicken sausage would have been better suited. Another change that I would do for next time is to use an apple that is not as sweet. I used Gala apples in this recipe, but would substitute it with Granny Smith.
3. The last modification that I would make it to give this recipe a little more texture variety by adding in pine nuts. In fact, I found myself sprinkling on some toasted pine nuts to my individual serving. It was a great addition.
All in all, a fabulous recipe- one that is already on my family Christmas dinner menu for this year.
A little Tidbit about…
Apple: Apples are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium and Fiber.
More specifically, apples contain a high amount of pectin, a soluble fiber comes with many benefits. One main benefit is that it aids in lowering cholesterol thus improving heart health.
In addition to supporting the heart, the pectin in apples also supports the digestive tract. The pectin acts as a stool softener by drawing water into the stool.
The high amount of Vitamin C, make apples powerful antioxidants. Other antioxidants found in apples include quercitin, catechin and chlorogenic acid.
Cranberries: Cranberries are a wonderful addition to so many meals- throw onto salads, into oatmeal, or as a snack on its own. Cranberries are best known for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections (bladder infections). It does this by acidifying urine and by acting as an anti-bacterial. Cranberries prevent E. coli, the bacterium that is most commonly involved with bladder infections, from adhering to the wall of the urinary tract.
Another benefit of the ability of cranberries to acidify urine is that it can help to prevent kidney stone formation by preventing calcium and phosphorus from joining to form stones.