Last night’s dinner was a total win, if I do say so myself. Better yet, it was an unexpected win, since expectations were pretty minimal and didn’t have very long to get inflated.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hey, what do you have to eat in your apartment?”
Adam: “Um, Italian sausage, chicken thighs, ground meat, onions, quinoa, pasta, pasta, and more pasta”
Okay, maybe I added that “pasta” part.
But I latched on to the healthiest ingredient available – quinoa - and the one I knew would be most likely to make him happy – Italian sausage – and fed them to my favorite time waster – Google.
I got this little gem of a recipe for Sausage and Peppers Quinoa back in return, so I immediately proposed it. Adam was pretty skeptical that it would be good with quinoa, but as per the usual, cooking executive powers were relegated to me, so we decided to move forward with the plan.
One quick trip to Whole Foods later (thank god peppers are back down to normal, i.e. not $499 for ONE, prices), and we were ready to rock and roll. I set the quinoa to steam, manned Adam’s shockingly great quality IKEA saute pan, and got to chopping while he poured the wine. Drinking wine while cooking is sort of mandatory, if you ask me. Note to Culinary Schools: look into this!
Between the wine drinking, the chit-chatting, and the subconscious decision to cook this all super-slowly, I wasn’t paying the closest attention to what we were doing, so it truly took me by surprise when this dish turned out off the charts delicious! Seriously, I almost dropped my fork after the first bite, because deep down (I’ll admit it), I sort of doubted that an Italian classic like Sausage and Peppers could really taste that good mixed with quinoa. But, it did. You live and you learn, folks! The sausages were super crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside, and lent an incredible amount of flavor, smoothness, and a bit of heat to the quinoa. The peppers and onions were cooked to tender-crisp perfection, and the quinoa provided the perfect fluffy base for soaking up all those juices and a little carby resistance, sort of the way bread does in a Sausage-and-Peppers sandwich, but without all that weight.
And the best part? We didn’t even lapse into food coma afterwards! In fact, we both felt pretty great – full and satisfied, but not on the road to an early bedtime since the quinoa packed more protein than carb overload. Such a pleasant surprise :)
Italian Sausage and Pepper Quinoa – Serves 2
Adapted from WAHM.com
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, or water
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, minced
- 2 large green peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup of beef broth, divided
- 4 medium Italian sausages, uncooked