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Hello friends and happy holidays! Whether it‘s time with friends, family, or starting new traditions, this time of year means gathering together and eating savory food! I’ve put together a paleo friendly recipe geared towards health and great taste! May it become one of your traditional crowd pleasing sides.

Quinoa facts

Quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa, is a pseudocereal in the Amaranthacea family. It can grow from sea level to 11,00 feet in elevation. Quinoa, and its garden weed cousin, Chenopodium album, aka pigweed, lamb’s quarters and goosefoot, can easily tolerate marginal soil.

Plants in the chenopodium genus are outstandingly nutrient dense including amino acids – the building blocks of proteins, lysine, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, and so much more. Quinoa is a low glycemic food, which is beneficial to those on the pre-diabetes margin. Quinoa is an intelligent substitution for high glycemic potatoes and rice. 

To make fluffy quinoa that’s not sticky or gloopy:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups liquid of choice
1 tsp butter, olive oil, or coconut oil

Bring to a boil in a saucepan, then turn down the heat to the lowest temp. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes or until tender. Fluff up with a fork and serve.

I always make bone broth with organic chicken carcasses and store in 8 ounce containers in the freezer. Quinoa made with bone broth instead of plain water adds supernutrients and added flavor.

Incidentally, if you are so fortunate to have lambs quarters taking up space in your garden, don’t weed them out, harvest them for their leaves and seeds! Using a dehydrator, dry the plants until they’re snappy dry and keep in a jar near your stove. Consider adding a handful to your soups, stews, beans, and yes, add some while you’re cooking quinoa!!!

 

Quinoa, Veggie, and Herb Stuffed Pumpkin

I so love the colors and tastes of fall and winter, don’t you? In the garden kale is flourishing in the cool, wet weather, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano are still producing. The reds and oranges are just so stunning, aren’t they? Pumpkins and squash on the table are so festive. Filling them with veggies and perhaps some amazing sausages or turkey just add to the flavor of the season.

6-8 pound pumpkin or squash of choice. I love acorn squash!
1 cup tricolor quinoa or wild rice
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 stalks diced celery
1 large diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped crimini, shiitake, or reishi mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 chopped shallots
3 – 6 minced garlic cloves
1 cup chopped kale
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped nuts of choice – I use almonds and cashews
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tablespoon each fresh thyme and rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste – I use my own garlic salt

I cook primarily with organic whole ingredients as organic food has been proven to contain more anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting polyphenols.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a dutch oven.

Cut the top off the pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Set seeds aside to clean and roast. Place the pumpkin/squash on the cookie sheet or dutch oven.

In a saucepan, add tricolor quinoa or wild rice – or combo – and add the stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer with a lid on until tender – about 10-15 minutes.

In a medium fry pan, melt butter or coconut oil and add the olive oil. Saute the celery, carrots, mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, and kale until soft.

In a large bowl, combine the veggies, quinoa, and the rest of the ingredients. Spoon into the pumpkin or squashiola and bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the pumpkin is soft when pierced with a knife.

Please feel free to adapt to taste preferences. I’ll often add cooked ground sausage or shredded turkey to the mix. So. Good!

Bonus recipe!

Rinse the squash seeds. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Stir in 1/2 tsp each Himalayan pink mineral salts, garlic powder, and onion powder, and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Add the pumpkin seeds, stir to cover, and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until desired roast, about 1/2 hour. Enjoy!

Suzanne Tabert

Suzanne Tabert

Suzanne Tabert, bioregional herbalist, is director of herbal education and herbal mentor at the Cedar Mountain Herb School. An herbal medicine instructor for 30 years, Suzanne teaches with great passion and excitement, bringing her wealth of herbal knowledge to students in an engaging and vibrant manner. She is the primary instructor at CMHS and an adjunct faculty at Bastyr University. Taking students to wild places and giving them tools to engage and connect with flora, fauna, and the exquisite beauty of nature is the icing on the cake of life, and one way that Suzanne is making a difference in the world, one person, one group at a time. She is currently writing a wildcrafting book that will be able to be utilized by people of all walks of life who wish to take their health back into their own hands. Cedar Mountain Herb School is a member of the American Herbalists Guild and the American Herb Association.

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