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.}

close up of the stuffing with a spoon in it

I originally shared this recipe in November of 2015. I have updated the content to share it with you again today. This post contains affiliate links.

Why You’ll Love This Simple Quinoa Stuffing

If you have done your Thanksgiving planning and are now looking for a gluten-free alternative to stuffing, this recipe is the end of your search.

And hey, just in case you haven’t made your list and checked it twice, this Thanksgiving Planner can come in handy.

Personally, I get a pretty bad case of Thanksgiving FOMO, when I plan out my menu. There’s only so much room on a single plate! But fear not, this Quinoa stuffing is definitely worth saving space for! Along with Roasted Turkey, Fluffy Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Carrots, Green Beans this stuffing is the perfect addition to your gluten-free Thanksgiving table!

It has all the traditional seasonings of traditional stuffing, sage, celery, butter and thyme. But we have skipped the bread and instead used cooked quinoa. I love how it clumps together and enjoy the crunch of the walnuts. I also added in a hearty dose of kale to make it seem a bit fresher and add a touch of green.

Ingredient Notes


  • 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.


To keep this recipe vegetarian I used vegetable broth. I either make veggie stock from scratch or I buy “No-Chicken” vegetable broth made by Imagine brand. You can also use turkey stock, homemade chicken broth or homemade veggie stock.


The crunch of the walnuts is my favorite part of this recipe. If you like another nut feel free to sub them in for the walnuts. Pecans are delicious. You can also use roasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) to make this nut free.


To add more veggies and make this stuffing fresh and healthy I used some fresh 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.

How To Make Gluten-Free Stuffing with Quinoa

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.
  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. 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. 


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.

the stuffing with a wine being poured in the background

FAQs and Expert Tips

Can the quinoa be toasted before cooking?

Yes! I love that idea. Toasting quinoa is a great flavor booster and can help bring out the nutty taste of the quinoa. Keep in mind that you have to wait to rinse it after it is toasted. Simply spread the unrinsed quinoa on a small baking dish and bake for 12 minutes, stirring once or twice. Alternatively place in a dry skillet and swirl over medium heat until the quinoa smells fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Can this be made 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. 

More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Side Dishes

a side view of the stuffing with a wine glass in the foreground

If you love quinoa, make sure to check out my post sharing more quinoa recipes.

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Gluten Free Stuffing

Gluten Free Quinoa Stuffing


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.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • 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

Keywords: quinoa stuffing, gluten-free stuffing,gluten-free quinoa stuffing,quinoa kale recipe

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