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Quinoa Cornbread Stuffing with Pichuberries from Manuel Villacorta

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Eating healthy no longer means a low-fat, low-cal frozen dinner with a protein-powder shake and side of supplements. Today’s health-conscious eaters are increasingly turning away from artificial and processed quick-fixes and back to nature’s bounty of power foods. When it comes to all-natural superfoods—hardworking functional foods that far surpass basic nutritional content—one of the richest sources on the planet is Peru.  My Quinoa Cornbread Stuffing with Pichuberries is exemplary of this concept.

This recipe is not only made from scratch, but it’s a great choice for the holidays as it’s healthy and wholesome, approachable and fun to make.  Not only is it gluten-free but it also spotlights two of my favorite Peruvian superfoods—quinoa and pichuberries.

Quinoa was a dietary staple of the Incas, and was revered as the “mother of all grains,” and yet quinoa is not actually a grain—it’s a seed.  And what a seed it is: one cup of cooked quinoa has eight grams of protein, is high in calcium and iron, and is a good source of vitamin C as well as of several B-vitamins. It is high on the lycine/thiamine system, so in combination with other grains it creates complete proteins. Quinoa contains flavanols, thus giving the seed antioxidant capacity and suggesting that it can serve as a good source of free radical scavenging agents, thus mitigating overall damage to the body.

The pichuberry is a small, smooth fruit known in Peru as the “Inca berry.”  The pichuberry provides 39 percent of your vitamin D requirement for bone health and maintenance, and is a great source of withanolides.  Withanolides have been strongly linked to the inhibition of cancer cell growth and are strong anti-inflammatory agents, thus helping the body lessen the onset of inflammatory diseases that contribute to rapid cellular aging.  The pichuberry’s nutrient profile (provitamin A, B-complex vitamins, thiamine, niacine, phosphoros) is also associated with liver fortification, lung strength, fertility, and food absorption.

Serves 10 Quinoa Cornbread Stuffing with Pichuberries


-For the quinoa cornbread:

  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal (medium-ground)
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups milk of choice


-for the stuffing:

  • 1 recipe quinoa cornbread
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh pichuberries, whole
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil spray


-For the quinoa cornbread:

  • 8-inch square baking dish
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Plastic spatula


-For the stuffing:

  • Sheet pan
  • Large sauté pan and spatula
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Large baking/casserole dish



-For the quinoa cornbread:

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepot.  Add quinoa and lower to a simmer.  Cook, covered until all of the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.  Fluff with fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place olive oil in 8-inch square baking dish and place inside heating oven.
  3. Combine cornmeal, quinoa flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Stir in cooled quinoa.
  4. Combine eggs and milk in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and quickly pour the oil into the batter.  Immediately whisk oil into the batter.
  6. Transfer batter back to hot baking dish and return to the oven for baking.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and golden brown.
  8. Let cool slightly before serving.


-For the stuffing:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes and place on a sheet pan.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, tossing as needed to dry out the bread cubes.  When dry and slightly golden, pull from the oven and set aside to cool.  Leave oven on.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over med-high heat.  When hot, add onion and celery and sauté until soft.  If the vegetables start to stick to the pan, add a little chicken stock.
  4. Add garlic, sage and thyme to the pan and heat until fragrant.  Set aside.
  5. Place eggs and remaining chicken stock in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Add sautéed onion mixture, toasted cornbread and fresh pichuberries to the bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix to combine.
  6. Let mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes to absorb some of the liquids.  Transfer to a baking dish sprayed with a thin coat of olive oil.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown on top and crisp around the edges.  Serve warm.


This recipe is compliments of Manuel Villacorta. A nationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian with more than 16 years of experience as a nutritionist, Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D., is a respected and trusted voice in the health and wellness industry. He is the founder of Eating Free, an international weight management and wellness program, and one of the leading weight loss and nutrition experts in the county. He is the author of Eating Free: The Carb-Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger, and Keep the Weight off for Good (HCI, May 2012) and Peruvian Power Foods: 18 Superfoods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes (HCI, October 2013).


Author: Debra K

I believe we all have the right to enjoy incredible looking and tasting cuisine.

One thought on “Quinoa Cornbread Stuffing with Pichuberries from Manuel Villacorta

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
    it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know
    this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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