In an attempt to feel better, I’ve been cutting out some of the more unhealthy foods I tend to crave (steak, bread, sugar, vodka) and instead focus on organic, plant-based ingredients. This dish is vegan and gluten-free, but those labels get bad raps for being lame and boring, so maybe don’t tell your guests if you serve it. It’s so full of flavor nobody is going to miss the bad stuff anyways.
Kale, red rice and quinoa stuffing
1 bunch kale, stemmed and washed thoroughly
1 1/2 cups red rice, like Lundberg Wehani or Bhutanese red rice
1/2 cup quinoa (blond, not red or black)
4 1/2 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound cremini or white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (more to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste and the kale. Blanch for 4 minutes and transfer the kale to a bowl of cold water. Drain, squeeze out water and chop medium-fine. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place 3 cups of the stock or water in one medium saucepan with the red rice and the remaining 1 1/2 cups in another smaller saucepan with the quinoa and bring both to a boil. When the grains are cooked, place clean kitchen towels over the tops of the pots. Return the lids and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the kale.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and a generous pinch of salt, and continue to cook, another 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl with the kale and grains.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When it is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms, until they are lightly seared and tender. Add the wine and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring to deglaze the bottom of the pan, until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add to the grains. Stir in the remaining ingredients and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings, and transfer to a lightly oiled or buttered baking dish. Cover with foil.
Warm the stuffing in a 325-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.