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.
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 cups¾ 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 lemonAbout 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (Don’t add all at once! Add a little at a time, to taste)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.