Roast Beef Stuffed With Quinoa, Spinach, Cranberries

by Lynne Curry
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stuffed roast beef, roast beef stuffed

The holidays call for extraordinary, once-a-year feasts for family and friends. But it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on precious tenderloin or even a rib roast. This centerpiece roast beef stuffed with quinoa, spinach and cranberries is made using the far more economical top sirloin or sirloin tip roast.

Both of these cuts come from the hip section of cattle and are always boneless. Request a roast that is at least three pounds. Those leaner are moderately tender and are best cooked to medium rare.

Stuffed Roast Beef Recipe: Prepare the Roast

This roast beef recipe calls for butterflying the roast, which requires more confidence than any particular skill. It involves making three cuts in the form of an upside down “T” to create a flat shape for stuffing, rolling and tying. (You could also request the butcher butterfly it for you.)

Place the roast in front of you on a cutting board with the grain running front to back. Using a very sharp knife with smooth strokes slice into the top of the roast as if you’re cutting it in half but only cut two-thirds of the way down, leaving about 1 1/2 inches intact. It will open into a “V” shape.

Position the knife into the bottom of the “V” and turn the blade parallel to the counter. Slice toward the outside edge of the roast, stopping 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Reverse the position of the knife blade and slice in the opposite direction to within 1 1/2 inches of the opposite edge. Unfold the meat so that it opens like a book.

Both the filling and the stuffed roast can be prepared up to three days in advance, so that all you need to do on the day of celebration is pop it in the oven to cook. Out comes a beautifully browned and moist roast complete with a built-in side dish of quinoa, red wine-soaked cranberries and pine nuts. It only looks like it cost a fortune.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped or 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + additional for salting beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (see note)
  • 1 3- to 4-pound boneless top sirloin roast or sirloin tip roast

To Prepare:

  1. Combine the cranberries and wine in a small dish and microwave to warm. Set aside to rehydrate the cranberries while you prepare the rest of the filling.
  2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and cook the red onions and garlic just until fragrant; 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, tossing with tongs until wilted. Add the reserved cranberries with the wine and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Off the heat, add the quinoa and pine nuts and taste for seasoning. Let cool before stuffing the roast. Or, prepare the stuffing up to 2 days in advance and store in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut 3 lengths of butcher’s twine, about 2 feet long each—or long enough to easily fit around the stuffed and rolled roast. Using a sharp boning knife, butterfly the roast and season it generously with salt on both sides.
  5. Pack about two-thirds of the spinach filling over the roast, and bring the short ends of meat together to enclose the stuffing. Some of the filling will inevitably fall out. Tie the roast securely in the center and, using your hands, stuff the filling into the ends. (If there is any filling left over, transfer it into a small baking dish to cook and serve alongside the cooked roast.)
  6. Transfer the roast to a small roasting pan or baking dish seam side down. If preparing the roast in advance, cover and refrigerate it until 1 hour before cooking.
  7. To cook the roast, preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted 1 1/2 inches into the roast registers 130 degrees, 60 to 75 minutes, depending on the size of the roast.
  8. Transfer the roast to a cooking rack and rest, tented with foil, for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Use a sharp, long-bladed knife to slice the roast into ¾ inch- to 1 inch-thick slices and serve with any of the pan drippings.
Lynne Curry stuffed roast beef recipe

Lynne Curry, author of Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat (Photo credit Joni Kabana Photography.)

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