Here is an easy, healthy and Gluten-free Stuffing Recipe made with quinoa, kale and walnuts for a wheat-free twist on Thanksgiving stuffing. The flavors are traditional, with celery, sage and dried cranberries, but there is no bread or gluten. {Bonus it is also egg-free for those with egg allergies.}

A close up of a baking dish filled with gluten free Thanksgiving stuffing with kale, quinoa and walnuts

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I remember, a million years ago when the dinosaurs lived and I was in college, having a conversation with my friend Ezequiel who was from Mexico, about how there are certain words in Spanish where there is no true translation in English and vice versa. He explained that you had to talk your way around it, to explain the meaning of the word. I remember him saying that it was frustrating to know that there is a simpler way to say something.

I often think of that conversation, and about trends in words and expressions. About how cultures create words because there is a need for it. Words that just appear out of seemingly nowhere and then suddenly everyone is using them. Slang that eventually becomes accepted.

Like FOMO for example. {Aside: Which isn’t really a word, it’s an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out, but stick with me. I have a point.} I think I saw it on a bumper sticker or something the first time. I was like I HAVE THAT! Like always! I was so glad to know there was an easy one word way of describing that feeling that I live with. Just like Ezequiel and I had talked about.

I suspect it is the nature of our digitalness (oh there’s a good one) and the constant barrage of information and accessibility to everything at our fingertips has heightened our collective need to put a name to that feeling. Because we are all suffering from FOMO. And we all wanted to name it something. And so we created FOMO.

a table with white wine and a baking dish of gluten-free quinoa stuffing

What does FOMO have to do with Thanksgiving stuffing?


collage of quinoa stuffing

Thanksgiving and the planning thereof is the pinnacle of American culinary FOMO.

If the fact that these green beans are going bananas on Pinterest right now, I am not making this up. I think our collective FOMO about filling every millimeter of our Thanksgiving plates with the very best recipes is at a fever pitch even earlier than ever. Thank you Pinterest.

So I understand if you’re having issues deciding on which stuffing to make. There are so many routes to take. You could go with very traditional bread stuffing. You could go with cornbread stuffing, you could go crazy and make gluten-free walnut and kale quinoa stuffing! It’s almost too much to bear.

But I’m going to let you in on a secret. You ARE going to be missing out. There is no possible way for you to have all the stuffings in the world. And there ARE so many good ones. Including this one! It is great in fact, and all of the gluten-free people at your table will thank you for serving it! Sorry. The struggle is real. But, just keep reminding yourself, and I will too, that when it comes down to it, the only thing that really matters on Thanksgiving is not missing out on being together.

a close up of quinoa Thanksgiving Stuffing

While you’re In FOMO Thanksgiving dinner planning mode, don’t miss out on this awesome Gluten Free Gravy by Gluten Free Palate. It’s ready in 5 minutes! Or my Mom’s Cranberry Relish.

How To Make Gluten Free Stuffing with Quinoa

Rinse The Quinoa 

  • If your quinoa comes in a box it may say that it is pre-rinsed. If so you can skip this step. But if you buy your quinoa in the bulk section of the supermarket or it doesn’t specifically say that it is rinsed, you can assume it is not. 
  • It’s important to rinse quinoa before cooking it because it tastes bitter if you don’t. Quinoa seeds have a naturally occurring substance on it called sapoin coating them which helps the plant protect it’s seeds from insects.
  • To rinse it, place it in a fine mesh sieve. Then run cool tap water over the quinoa, swirling it around in the sieve to make sure it is all getting rinsed. You’ll notice foamy bubbles appear, then dissipate. Once they are gone, you have rinsed away the saponin, and the quinoa won’t taste bitter.

Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop 

  1. To ensure the quinoa is completely tender and none of the grains on top are undercooked, I found it was necessary to cook the quinoa on the stove first. I used vegetable broth to do so for maximum flavor. If there are no vegetarians or folks following a vegan diet at your table, feel free to sub in turkey stock or chicken stock.
  2. Simply bring the broth to a boil then add in the rinsed quinoa with some salt and pepper. Cover and cook it over low heat until it is just tender. This takes 18 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Then once the quinoa is finished cooking, leave it covered for 5 minutes to fully absorb any excess moisture. I find this is helpful to have the fluffiest texture. 
  4. Then stir in 4 cups of shredded kale. To prepare the shredded kale: remove the stems of the kale first, then chop it with a chef’s knife. Then I toss it into a salad spinner with cool water to rinse it. Then just spin it dry. When you add it to the quinoa, it will wilt down while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the quinoa stuffing. 

Sauté the Vegetables to Soften

  1. To give this gluten-free stuffing the flavors of traditional Thanksgiving stuffing I used butter, celery and sage which are the three most recognizable flavors in stuffing. To reduce the saturated fat, I used a mix of half olive oil and half butter to sauté the onion and garlic.
  2. Next add in the herbs and spices to bloom them. Cooking the spices in oil help them release their volatile olfactory compounds which makes them taste better! 
  3. Next add more broth and the celery to soften the celery. At this point everything else is cooked, so the celery needs to be softened in the broth. The broth will evaporate and then the whole skillet of veggies and the quinoa mixture can be added together.
  4. Before baking add in toasted walnuts for crunch and dried cranberries for a tart contrasting flavor element. Then spoon it into a baking dish coated with cooking spray. 

a glass of white wine with a baking dish of quinoa stuffing on a blue placemat

Bake the Gluten-Free Stuffing

The stuffing is already cooked at this point and there is no egg in it, so the step in the oven is merely there to warm it through, allow the flavors to marry and to let the top get a little crusty. This takes under a half hour.

To Make The Stuffing In Advance

You can make this gluten-free stuffing ahead and store it covered in the refrigerator for a day in advance. Then to reheat the stuffing, cover it with foil and place it in the oven, when it is hot and steaming, remove the foil and continue to bake it for 15 to 20 minutes longer. 

Thanks so much for reading! If you make this recipe, please come back to let me know how it goes by leaving a review and rating! 


PS-> Still having Thanksgiving menu planning FOMO? Search all the Thanksgiving archives.

For more recipes with kale, check out this Ultimate Guide to Kale! 

Gluten Free Stuffing

Gluten Free Quinoa Stuffing

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 11 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Here is how to make an easy gluten-free stuffing with traditional flavors of sage, cranberry, walnut and celery. It is made with quinoa has fresh kale it it!



  • 5 ½ cups vegetable broth, such as Imagine No-Chicken, divided
  • 2 ½ cups rinsed quinoa, rinsed if necessary *see ingredient note
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries


  1. Bring 5 cups broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add quinoa, salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the quinoa is tender and the broth is absorbed, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit undisturbed 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir in kale, cover and let sit.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until the onion is very soft and starting to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, 30 to 90 seconds. Add celery and the remaining ½ cup broth, and cook, stirring often until the celery is crisp-tender and the liquid is mostly evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Stir quinoa mixture, the celery mixture, walnuts and cranberries together in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake until the mixture is hot, the celery and kale are tender and the top is golden along the edges, 22 to 30 minutes.


To make ahead: Can be prepared through step 4 up to 24 hours in advance. Heat covered with foil for 20 minutes before removing foil and continuing with directions in step 5.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 207
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 743 mg
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 6 g

close up of a spoon in a casserole dish of stuffing with quinoa and kale