Fonio Holiday Stuffing with Dates

Chef Pierre Thiam
Chef Pierre Thiam

Fonio is a healthy, West African gluten-free grain that can be substituted for bread, rice, couscous, or quinoa. In this recipe it is used as a Thanksgiving stuffing but is great option at any meal. If you are looking for a flavorful and simple stuffing for family and friends look no farther. Fonio is almost impossible to mess up and will provide a livelier texture and flavor than standard bread options. An ancient gluten-free grain may start a new tradition for your family.

This recipe is used with permission from Chef Pierre Thiam. Find more of Pierre’s recipes in his book Find more of his recipes in his book Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl and on his website. The recipe originally appeared in Saveur Magazine (Fall, 2015) as part of a full African holiday menu.

Serves 6-8

Fonio Stuffing with Dates
Fonio Stuffing with Dates

Fonio Holiday Stuffing with Dates


  • 1/4 cup red palm oil or vegetable oil plus more for greasing
  • 5 oz. pitted Medjool dates roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts or cashews, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
  • 1 cup Yolélé fonio
  • 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • Heat the oven to 325°F.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the palm oil over medium. Add the dates, 1⁄4 cup of the nuts or seeds, the cayenne, and the carrots and cook, stirring, until the carrots soften slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the fonio and stir until well-coated with oil and then pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook, without stirring, until the fonio absorbs all the stock, about 3 minutes
  • Scrape the fonio into an 8-inch square baking dish greased with palm oil and smooth the top.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake until tender and warmed through, about 20 minutes.
  • Uncover, fluff the fonio with a fork, and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the fonio into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining nuts or seeds and the parsley before serving.