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This recipe was originally published on Oct. 7, 2016.

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times during the year. Some of the best fall marathons are happening around this holiday weekend and the air has turned crisp– perfect for running. To add to that, the copious amounts of food that come with Thanksgiving are enjoyed during a holiday centered on just spending time with family. All that cooking doesn’t come with the stress Christmas dinner can bring. For some lucky runners, their big fall race will be on the Sunday of the long weekend meaning they can dive into the pumpkin pie as soon as they cross the finish line. Most years my big race would be on the weekend following Thanksgiving. My family is incredibly supportive and has typically switched Thanksgiving to the weekend after my race, and deemed it Doerksgiving. I get to indulge in all the deliciousness without worrying about how it’ll affect my race.

RELATED: Ingredient swaps to make for a healthier Thanksgiving

For those poor souls that have to race after Thanksgiving and don’t have the luxury of a small family that can change the date of the holiday, it’s good to have some dishes that are on the healthier side of things. I for one adore stuffing. I could have a plate entirely of stuffing and gravy and be the happiest person in the world. However, this delectable dish gets a bad rep, so there are stuffing alternatives. While they don’t replace the home style stuffing my Grandpa makes, they can be a great additional side dish.

RELATED: Celebrating Thanksgiving runner style

Using ancient grains, I made a wild rice and quinoa “stuffing.” Honestly, it’s more just a fall-flavoured grain dish, but we’ll overlook that. It tastes amazing, has dried cranberries and pecans that offer the classic fall flavours, and it makes enough to feed a small army.

Herbed Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing

INGREDIENTS: 

2 tablespoons olive oil + more for greasing the baking dish + more for drizzling over the top
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped (about ½ cup)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
½ cup dry-ish white wine
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes.
  2. Add the apples, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute.
    Stir in wine, then add broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the wild rice blend and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 35 minutes.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and cover again. Cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the cranberries, pecans, and sage. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a large (9-inch x 13-inch is best) casserole dish with a little olive oil.
  6. Lightly scoop the rice mixture into the casserole dish, lightly mounding it instead of mashing it down.
  7. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley. Serve.


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