A Candida Diet Recipe Worthy of Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Mostly because I love pumpkin pie and savory foods like cranberry relish, although I’ve never much cared for turkey. One of the absolute BEST parts of Thanksgiving has always been my Granny’s cornbread dressing. It is so flavorful, so moist…ah. None of that dry crumbly stuff Northerners call stuffing. This is honest-to-goodness delicious dressing.

Unfortunately, I have not come here with a gluten-free and corn-free version of said recipe. I was really going to give it shot using the rice version of cornbread from the cookbook You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten Free. But with my taking to the candida diet, and my finding the new awesome recipe below, I decided adventures can wait another year. Perhaps I’ll post the recipe anyway because even with the corn bread it is an amazing gluten-free dish. I have to call and ask my mom first, though. After all, it’s her family recipe, not mine.

What I have come to share is Walnut Sage Smothered Quinoa Pilaf from Food52.com. It may not sound so terrific to you, but one whiff of it and one taste and you will throw out any stuffing you had planned on making and will turn to this recipe instead. SO amazing. It actually even has a bit of that stuffing texture from the processed walnuts. My family modified the recipe to be candida diet friendly, so I’ll repost the ingredients and directions here, crossing out what we didn’t use.

Walnut Sage Smothered Quinoa (Image via Food52.com)

To add a plug on just how great this recipe is, let me tell you that I have every intention of eating whatever I want for Thanksgiving dinner. Pie, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, you name, it will be on my plate. I will probably even have a roll. HOWEVER this quinoa recipe is SO good, I have decided to make it instead of Granny’s dressing. So this is a taste choice, not a I-have-to-because-I’m-on-the-weirdest-diet-ever choice. Not that I like this more than Granny’s dressing. It’s just that I like it an awful lot, so why not make it instead?

Since we didn’t use lentils (who ever has lentils on hand, anyway?), we might’ve modified the liquid at the beginning. Just cook it how you know to: ½ cup quinoa to ¾ cup liquid. Boil the liquid, add the quinoa, simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Another word of the wise: hold off on adding all the lemon juice. Ours turned out a little too lemony, so next time we would slowly add to taste instead of dumping it all in.

P.S. I call it stuffing because it is dry like stuffing, if that’s what you like. Not in a bad way, it just is. So I can’t bring myself to call it dressing. That name belongs to my Granny’s recipe.

Finally. Here it is: Walnut and Sage Smothered Quinoa

  • 2 cups ¾ cups water
  • 1/2 cup organic white Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Beluga lentils
  • 1 cup Walnuts, toasted
  • ~20-22 Sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1-2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon About 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (Don’t add all at once! Add a little at a time, to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the water & salt & bring to a boil. Add the beluga lentils, cover & cook for 5 minutes. Add the Quinoa and lower the heat to medium. cover & allow to cook till all the water is absorbed (~ 15 minutes). once cooked, fluff the lentil quinoa mix with a fork.
  2. Combine 1/2 a cup of toasted walnuts and about 15 torn sage leaves & coarsely mince in a food processor till they resemble coarse bread crumbs (albeit with a tantalizing aroma)
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet and add the minced walnut/sage mixture. Saute till the bits of sage begin to wilt.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining walnuts (broken into small bits), Lemon juice & orange zest. Add the feta cheese, quinoa/lentil mix, the sauteed walnut/sage blend and fold to combine all the ingredients. Drizzle with the EVOO, taste and adjust for seasonings as per your preference.
  5. Heat the remaining butter and add the remaining sage to it, sautee till the leaves crisp up and add the mix to the lentil quinoa pilaf as a garnish.

Homemade Green Salsa, From-Scratch Taco Seasoning, and Mexican Stuffed Peppers

This is a 3-in-1 recipe blog centering on the delights of spicy Mexican food. All recipes are easy to remember and fairly easy to prepare – only a lot of dicing with the salsa, but that isn’t a problem if you’ve got a Pampered Chef chopper (or the knock-off Bed Bath & Beyond version) like I have. And all recipes are Candida Diet friendly, as long as you can handle spicy foods (which I hear is off limits to some people). So here goes:

Taco Seasoning:

One batch of taco seasoning

This recipe is from Allrecipes.com. I use it exactly as written, but I’ve copied it here to make it easier. One recipe equals 3 Tablespoons. I make a double batch or bigger and store it in an extra container so I don’t have to mix it up very often.

Mix Together:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (I use a little less – perhaps ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Add to 1 lb cooked ground beef with a little water over medium heat until evenly coated and water has absorbed.

Green Salsa:

I found a tomato-free salsa recipe on the website Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ. I modified it significantly so I am putting my version here.

Finely chop:

2 green peppers, 3 jalapenos, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 onion, 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • Half of one bunch of Cilantro

Mix all this together and add:

  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice

You can make this spicier by choosing very wrinkled jalapenos or by adding jalapeno seeds. And it is absolutely delicious! I brought it to a party so that I could have some salsa, and everybody ate it before I even got seconds. Seriously. Go make this. The nice thing with the recipe below is that it only calls for half a batch of salsa, meaning you have about two cups of salsa leftover to eat with chips, serve with burritos or otherwise use and enjoy. It lasts a long time in the fridge, too.

And now for the grand prize recipe….

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

This is a very easy recipe to modify for your tastes. Want it less spicy? Add less taco seasoning. Need it to stretch? Cook an extra half cup of rice.

By cooking 1 cup rice AND 1/2 cup quinoa and using all the salsa, I made two pans of pepper–one for me, and one for Luke (because I like quinoa more)


-1 cup uncooked rice or ½ cup quinoa
-1 lb ground beef
-1 batch (3 Tablespoons) taco seasoning
-½ batch (about 2 cups) green salsa
-3-4 green peppers
-1 Tablespoon butter
-Shredded cheese (optional)
-Sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
-Guacamole (optional)

Cook the rice or quinoa as directed. I use brown rice. You can make more or less stuffed peppers by adjusting how much rice or quinoa you use. Cook the ground beef and add the taco seasoning. Make the green salsa. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter. Slice the peppers in half top to bottom, cleaning out the seeds. Rub the cut sides in the butter in the pan and let sear, about 3 minutes. Once brown to black, flip over and sear the opposite side. You may need to do two batches of this to sear all the peppers

Mix the ground beef, rice, and salsa together. Fill peppers with mixture, and top with cheese. If you have extra mixture, just place it around the peppers. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cheese melts. Serve alone, or with sour cream and guacamole. Makes 6-8 peppers, or feeds 3-4 people.

You can see how easy it is to double this recipe. Use 1 lb of meat and a whole batch of the seasoning and salsa, and you have 12 stuffed peppers, perhaps more. Once you make this recipe, you can modify it to your taste, adding more meat, rice or seasoning.