Sausage and Peppers Quinoa Bowls

Sausage and peppers is a classic Italian family style meal. I like it fine enough, but it usually leaves me wanting more. I think part of it is that I need a carb and/or real vegetable to round it out and also that I want something a bit less greasy. Turning it into a quinoa bowl gives you all the right flavors but feels more like a full, satisfying meal. My original intention was to serve this with a roasted red pepper aioli, but I realized my roasted peppers had expired when I took them out of the fridge. Luckily, I had a ton of basil so I made a basil mayo that may have worked even better than my original sauce. I love a happy accident.

Start by sautéing sliced bell pepper and onion in some olive oil while get some quinoa going in the rice cooker. Season with some salt, pepper, and garlic if you’re feelin it. When those veggies have softened, remove them and prep your next veggie. I originally wanted to do broccoli rabe but it was sold out and instead got baby cauliflower, something I didn’t even know existed. Either works, but I was pleasantly surprised by the baby cauliflower since it wasn’t quite as tough/bitter as broccoli rabe. Another happy accident! Remove your baby cauliflower or broccoli rabe from the pan and sauté sliced chicken sausage until it’s nicely browned (use a flavor like Italian sausage or garlic and parsley). Finally, prepare your toppings: shaved parmesan and a basil mayo (mayonnaise, handful of torn fresh basil, one clove grated garlic, and salt in a food processor or immersion blender).

I’m sure all the Italian grandmas will be rolling over in their graves, but I might like this version of sausage and peppers better than the normal way. It’s a very loose translation from the original, but if you’re looking for something a bit more well-rounded, this is the way to go.