Hormone Healthy Holiday Recipe: Quinoa Sweet Potato Stuffing

It’s hard to imagine a holiday season without a serving of stuffing (or five). However, traditional stuffing is often made with refined carbs and processed ingredients—especially if you go for the boxed stuff. It’s also usually lacking in the nutrient department, which can be a bummer if you’re trying to eat more whole foods.

Hormone Healthy Recipe: Quinoa Sweet Potato Stuffing


Enter quinoa sweet potato stuffing, an easy dish made with whole grains and veggies. Thanks to the real ingredients in this recipe, you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs while supporting hormone health.


HORMONE HEALTHY RECIPE: INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT

Quinoa is a complex carb, so it’s slowly digested by the body. This means it gives you a steady source of energy and keeps you full for a long time. The whole grain is also rich in fiber and B vitamins, aka a group of nutrients that’s essential for managing PMS symptoms. But what makes quinoa super unique is its protein content; it’s one of the few plant-based complete proteins! Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free, making this recipe perfect if you have celiac disease.


Sweet potato is high in vitamin B6, a nutrient that’s essential for turning tryptophan into serotonin, a mood-regulating hormone. This is especially important right before your period, when serotonin fluctuates and causes emotional PMS symptoms. The root veggie is also a complex carb and offers antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids. (Fun fact: Carotenoids are also plant pigments that give sweet potatoes their rich orange color.)


Spinach, like other leafy greens, offers vitamin K, folate, fiber, iron, magnesium, *and* calcium. Specifically, magnesium is a cramp-fighting mineral that can be a lifesaver during your luteal phase, while calcium is a must for regulating anxiety and mood changes.


Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it’s ideal for roasting the sweet potatoes and apples in this recipe. In other words, you can use avocado oil at high temperatures without diminishing its nutritional value (or totally burning your food). Avocado oil is also a stellar source of healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, which is always a plus.


Pecans are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, along with fiber, magnesium, and zinc. Not nutty about pecans? You can also use almonds, cashews, or walnuts for a satisfying and delicious crunch.

[[ recipeID=recipe-9kwb2eqpu, title=Quinoa Sweet Potato Stuffing ]]

Kirsten Nunez

Learn more about Kirsten Nunez

REFERENCES

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/quinoa/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957693/

https://www.jchps.com/issues/Volume%209_Issue%203/jchps%209(3)%2055%20samieipoor%20Soheila%201346-1353.pdf

https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407916/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/cooking-oil/faq-20058170

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-choose-and-use-healthy-cooking-oils/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872757/

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Stuffing


Servings: 4

Keywords:

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or water)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 cups sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cups apples, diced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more as needed)
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Instructions

    1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
    2. 2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, avocado oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the sweet potatoes and apples are fully coated. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelized.
    1. 3. While the sweet potatoes and apples are roasting, cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and broth in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Add the spinach, mix, and cook for another 5 minutes—or until the quinoa is fluffy and the spinach is wilted.
    1. 4. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato mixture, quinoa, pecans, sage, and thyme. Taste and add more spices or herbs as needed. Serve warm as a side dish or entrée.

    Notes

    NOTES

    Use your favorite kind of quinoa. This recipe used a combo of white and red quinoa.


    You can peel the apples or leave the skin on, depending on your preference.


    After chopping the apples, toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to prevent browning. This is useful if the diced apples will sit for a bit as you prepare the other ingredients.


    You can replace the sweet potato with butternut squash. To cook cubed butternut squash, roast at 400°F for 30 minutes.


    Other herbs—like oregano and rosemary—also work well with this recipe.