With the holidays upon us, an abundance of joy, laughter, and especially food, surround us. It may be tempting to indulge in rich, unhealthy main dishes and desserts, but remember that it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. As part of our Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to healthy aging, we advocate mindfulness while feasting this season, meaning slowing down to avoid overeating and being thoughtful about what foods you eat.
To this end, we are sharing a tasty and healthy alternative to traditional stuffing. Although this stuffing is not meant to be cooked inside a turkey, it can be baked alongside as an exquisitely delicious side dish that is also suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free individuals.
Healthy Stuffing Alternative
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups wild rice
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 cup kale leaves, cooked and chopped
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover them with 2 quarts of boiling water. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then drain the water into a medium-sized saucepan. Using a cheesecloth, squeeze the mushrooms to extract water, rinse twice, squeeze again, and then chop coarsely and set aside.
- Place the saucepan containing the mushroom broth on the stove and bring it to a boil. Add wild rice and salt to taste. Return to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for 35 minutes.
- In a dry skillet, toast quinoa over medium heat for five minutes. Transfer the quinoa to the wild rice mixture and continue simmering for another 12 minutes. Drain mixture, saving the broth.
- Return the mixture to a pot, covering it with a dish towel and the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add shallots, stirring until tender. Add garlic, cooking for nearly one minute and then add celery, cooking until tender. Add porcini and cremini mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add white wine, thyme and sage and cook until mushrooms are tender (about 10 minutes).
- Stir in cooked rice and quinoa, kale, parsley and walnuts until well-blended.
- Transfer mixture to a baking dish, adding ½ cup of the broth saved from the grains. Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes before serving. Bon appétit!
For other healthy seasonal recipes, download our free booklet, “The Family Caregiver’s Guide to the Holidays”. Our guide also offers tips on decorating the home for the holidays, advice for senior-friendly holiday gatherings, holiday gift ideas for seniors, dementia care tips, and information on taking care of the family caregiver through respite care services.