Quinoa adds plenty of plant-based protein and heartiness to this comforting fall vegetable stew. The perfect gluten free and vegan stew recipe to add to your weekly dinner menu!
You guys. It’s November 11th and it’s snowing. Not just weak flurries that melt before they hit the ground. It hasn’t stopped snowing since I got up this morning and we already have at least 3 inches.
What is this bullsh*t?!?!
If you live somewhere like Colorado or Canada, this is probably normal for you. But here in southeast Michigan, it’s pretty abnormal to have this much snow in early November. At least as far as I can remember!
Although I would have loved to enjoy fall for a bit longer, I can at least come to terms with the fact that it’s definitely comfort food season now. I guess that’s not so bad, right?
In our house, that means fewer salads and cold dishes, and more soups and stews. The best part? You can still get plenty of vegetables into your winter comfort food diet.
Take this quinoa vegetable stew for example. It’s packed with carrots, squash, sweet potato, mushrooms, and even some kale! Way better than salad. (I say that as I sit at my desk, eating a very boring salad for lunch and wishing I had mac and cheese instead. Or maybe a big bowl of mashed potatoes.)
Red wine, mushroom broth and plenty of fresh and dry herbs add flavor and depth to this vegetable stew. So in other words, it’s healthy, comforting and tastes good! Ultimate win-win in our book.
How to make comforting vegetable quinoa stew
In addition to plenty of fall vegetables (like butternut squash and carrots), quinoa adds plant-protein to this stew in place of something more traditional, like beef.
What kind of quinoa should I use?
There are quite a few different varieties of quinoa on grocery shelves these days. (Fun fact: there are about 120 different varieties of quinoa!)
While white quinoa is most widely available, it tends to turn into mush in something like this vegetable stew. Red quinoa, also common in most stores, tends to hold up better in liquid. It also has a chewier texture that lends itself well to salads.
Black quinoa is also relatively common, and it has a more earthy flavor and denser texture than white quinoa. In this stew, we opt for a tri-color (a.k.a. rainbow) quinoa, which combines all three varieties. If you’d like to substitute, we’d suggest red quinoa.
Whichever variety you choose, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and thus must come from food. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians!
As long as you don’t over- or under-cook it and season well, quinoa actually tastes pretty good. It’s also important to rinse quinoa before using. Although most varieties are pre-washed, quinoa has a bitter outer coating, so it’s best to rinse again before using.
If you’re looking to incorporate more quinoa into your diet, try these flavorful recipes:
- Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps with a lentil quinoa filling
- Quinoa Tabbouleh – a gluten free take on a classic Middle Eastern recipe
- Berry Coconut Breakfast Quinoa
- Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Avocados
Prep your fall vegetables for the stew
While the quinoa is cooking in a separate pan, get started on your veggies, which may take a few minutes to prep. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms make up the bulk of this vegetable stew. Celery, onions and garlic add extra flavor.
The great thing about this stew is that it’s easily customizable based on what you have at home. No squash? Sub with more carrots or sweet potatoes and vice versa. Don’t like sweet potato? Use regular potatoes instead. (We’d suggest Yukon golds.)
When it comes to mushrooms, we use easy-to-find baby bellas. You can also opt for white button mushrooms, or even a fancier variety like oyster mushrooms for more flavor.
Once the aromatics are softened, essentially all you have to do is throw everything else into the pot and let it simmer. If you can’t find mushroom broth, regular vegetable broth is perfectly fine. The most important ingredient (in my opinion) is the red wine. It adds SO much extra flavor!
Just before it’s finished cooking, add in 4 heaping cups of kale. Lacinato kale or regular curly kale will work fine for this recipe. You could also swap for swiss chard or even collard greens. I wouldn’t use spinach as it tends to disintegrate and shrink up.
There you have it – 45 minutes of cooking and a delicious, flavorful vegetable quinoa stew! Serve with crusty, warm bread and extra fresh parsley for brightness. And maybe a glass of leftover red wine 😉
How to freeze/reheat vegetable stew leftovers
You can freeze leftovers in an airtight container once the stew has cooled. Just be sure to leave a bit of space at the top for expansion. When you’re ready to heat it up again, you can defrost it by leaving it in the fridge for about a day.
You can also immerse the sealed container in a warm water bath for a quicker option. Once it loosens from the sides, you can transfer to a pot and heat until it’s completely defrosted.
More comforting fall and winter soups and stews
Soups and stews are my #1 dinner choice from late September-early April. There are so many great vegan options. Here are a few of our favorites!
- Vegan Mushroom Stew. This is a more classic stew recipe – perfect for serving with creamy mashed potatoes!
- Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup. A kid-friendly classic, made dairy free.
- Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup. Serve with a grilled cheese, of course!
- Coconut Curry Squash Soup. Our favorite flavorful puréed soup.
- Vegan French Onion Soup via Well and Full. I’ve been majorly craving French Onion Soup – can’t wait to try this!
- Vegetable Wild Rice Soup with Collard Greens via Natt Eats. This looks so hearty & flavorful!
- 1 1/2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small (or one large) yellow onions, diced
- 3–4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup celery, diced (2–3 stalks)
- 1 ½ cups carrots, diced (4–5 carrots)
- 5 cups small button mushrooms, halved (about 20-24 oz)
- 2 cups diced sweet potato
- 1 1/2 cups diced and peeled butternut squash
- 2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
- 4 cups mushroom (or vegetable) broth
- 1 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 4 inch sprigs rosemary
- ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ tsp dried sage
- 1 ¾–2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3–4 cups chopped lacinato or curly kale
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add onion and sauté, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Add celery, carrots, squash mushrooms, and sweet potato and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add flour, stir well to coat evenly, then add mushroom broth, red wine, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, thyme, bay leaves, sage, 1 3/4 tsp of salt, and pepper.
- Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, add parsley, kale and 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa. Stir well and let cook for additional 5-7 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and rosemary before serving.
You can also use red quinoa in this recipe.
Keywords: vegetable quinoa stew