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Quinoa and Yam "Stuffing"

I think stuffing needs a makeover. Traditional bread stuffing is one of my favorite holiday dishes but it would be nice to have a healthier alternative that I still want to eat. And maybe one that doesn’t put me to sleep after dinner. It’s not the tryptophan in the turkey, it’s all the starch and sugar that makes you want to take a nap.

Quinoa makes a perfect base for this stuffing – it’s still satisfies the starch but has more protein and fiber and a wonderful nutty flavor. Even my meat and potatoes husband likes it. Some diced yam adds sweetness and the kale powers in with nutrients and beautiful color. In the background are those traditional stuffing flavors so it makes a great addition to your holiday feast.


1 lb yams 1 cup quinoa 1 cup chicken broth, stock or vegetable broth (for vegetarian/vegan, I love Imagine No Chicken Broth) 1 cup water 1/2 medium-sized onion 1 stalk celery 1 Tbsp butter 1 ½ tps kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) 1/2 tsp dried thyme 1/2 tsp dried sage pepper

vegetable oil

Dice the yam into 1/2 inch cubes. Mince the onion and celery. Remove the stalks from the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces.

In a medium-sized pot melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook over medium-high heat until softened. You’re not looking to brown them, just soften.

Add the quinoa and stir well. Give the pot a shake to spread the quinoa out. Heat it about 3 minutes giving the pot a shake every 30 seconds to toast it.

Add the water, broth, salt and a couple pinches of pepper and turn up the heat. When it comes to a boil, cover the pot and turn the flame down as low as it will go. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a light coating of vegetable oil. Add the yams, turn the heat to medium and cook, tossing every couple of minutes for 12-15 minutes or until they are cooked through.

When the timer sounds, check the quinoa. Use a fork to push the quinoa aside to see if there is any liquid left on the bottom. If there is still some liquid, continue cooking until it is absorbed.

Then stir in the kale, sage and thyme, cover the pot and let sit (off the heat) for 5 minutes. This will wilt the kale nicely. Stir in the yams. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

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