Sausage, Cornbread & Quinoa Stuffing

In Make-ahead, Recipes, Sides by Frances Largeman Roth

Makes 10 servings


It’s here friends–the holiday season! I can’t even believe that Thanksgiving is next week. We still have some Halloween decorations around. I better get to work!

Anyway, back to turkey day. Stuffing is really the unifying dish at the Thanksgiving table. Even if you’re not a turkey lover or a cranberry sauce fan, you’re usually down with stuffing. If  you’re looking for a one that combines traditional flavor with health benefits, my Sausage, Cornbread and Quinoa Stuffing hits the jackpot. You can make your own cornbread, but I actually buy a frozen one and make it about three days before Thanksgiving. That way it has time to dry out a bit, which helps it toast up nicely and absorb the chicken stock and white wine. It’s also loaded with fall flavor from pecans, chestnuts, dried cherries and sage. When I make it, those childhood aromas of the holiday come flooding back and it smells just like my mom’s kitchen. Yumbo!

You can watch me make this stuffing here. And I also created a vegan version of the stuffing for It’s meat and dairy-free, but still loaded with flavor.

Also, if you’ve never roasted chestnuts before, they are quite amazing! They are slightly sweet, with a potato-like consistency. My mother was from Germany where they are commonly eaten, and always made them for us around the holidays. You’ll need to carefully make an X in the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp knife before cooking, to release the steam. You can microwave them, but they tend to get very hard when they cool. Roasting them at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Then transfer them to a clean dish towel and transfer the chestnuts (with towel) to a bowl. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, remove the tough outer shell with as much of the inner skin as possible (get lots of folks to help you do this). Once they’re cold it’s nearly impossible to remove! And do not get a manicure before doing this task or it will be a complete waste of money!

From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sausage, Cornbread and Quinoa Stuffing


  • 3 cups of cornbread, cubed
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, torn
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 links sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dry white wine


  1. Toast cornbread cubes in the oven or toaster oven at 350° for 10 minutes. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Remove cornbread from oven and set aside; leave oven on.
  2. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes; remove.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan for 1 minute over medium heat, then add the onion and sage and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the celery, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Transfer the toasted cornbread and quinoa to a large bowl and add the sausage mixture to it. Stir and add the pecans, chestnuts, cherries, parsley, salt, pepper, broth and wine. Transfer to the reserved baking dish and bake at 350° for 50 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve warm.