Sausage and Rice Casserole
This Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole with Peppers is a back-on-track, one-pan plan kind of meal. It’s healthy food you won’t be sad to eat, weeknight fast, and leaves you with only one dish to wash at the end. Lean protein? Check! Veggies? Yep! Whole grains? Uh huh. The gang’s all here.
This Italian sausage casserole recipe dates back to the the demise of our dishwasher a year ago and has been a trusty member of our dinner rotation ever since.
While it took Ben and me all of 30 minutes of internet browsing and 45 minutes at Best Buy to select a replacement dishwasher, between the calls to customer service, assorted visits from plumbers, and exhaustive debate about what is or is not up to “code,” our “free” installation took three weeks. It was a dark time in the life of a food blogger.
The benefit? I seriously amped up my collection of healthy one pan recipes.
On my totem pole of house chores, washing dishes is at the very bottom, above only snow shoveling (brrr) and vacuuming the basement storage room (ewww). Hence, I’m always looking for creative ways to cram a whole meal into a single pan. This Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole is a prime example.
All you need to make this Italian sausage recipe is a knife, a cutting board, a wooden spoon, and one sturdy skillet. Honestly, even if our dishwasher had been working the night I made it, I wouldn’t have even bothered to use it.
About this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole Recipe
This recipe is an adaptation of my Cabbage and Sausage Skillet. The flavor profiles of the two dishes are completely different, but both offer the speed and convenience I’m seeking on a weeknight. If you plan your recipe prep carefully, this sausage and rice casserole can be ready in just 30 minutes.
In addition to being quick and easy, this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole is fully flavored and healthy too. To keep things speedy, I used sliced pre-cooked chicken sausages that I browned in the pan, then incorporated lots of fresh veggies and Italian spices. The rice cooks in the pan right along with the other ingredients, no separate pan required.
If you’re looking for ground Italian sausage recipes, you can easily swap the sliced Italian chicken sausage links I used in this recipe for ground sausage. Hot Italian sausage and mild both work well here, so feel free to choose whichever you or your family prefer.
The vegetables are also flexible. Peppers are my favorite (hence my reason for choosing them for this recipe’s spinoff sheet pan Italian sausage and peppers and Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers), but you can easily swap them for other veggies you have on hand. Italian sausage and potatoes is a great combo (what I use in this Italian Sausage Skillet), and I think this recipe would be yummy with any mix of chopped broccoli, zucchini, and/or asparagus too. (Or try squash like in this Skillet Lasagna with Italian Sausage!)
While I’m happy to have my dishwasher back, I am thankful for the dinner inspiration its absence provided. Whether you have one in your kitchen or not, you’ll love the time this Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole saves, and your friends and family will love you for making it!
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Sausage and Rice Casserole
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — divided
- 12 ounces cooked Italian chicken sausage links — not breakfast sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices*
- 1 red bell pepper — cored and 1/2-inch diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper — cored and 1/2-inch diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion — 1/4-inch diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup instant brown rice*
- 2 cloves garlic — minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes — optional
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes in their juices
- Chopped fresh parsley — optional for serving
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and cook for a few minutes on each side, until brown, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Remove to a plate, blot with paper towels to remove any excess oil, and set aside. (Tip: To finish this meal in 30 minutes, prep the peppers and onions while the sausage browns.)
With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet until it is mostly clean. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the bell peppers, onion, basil, salt, and pepper and cook until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring to coat the rice. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and canned tomatoes in their juices, stirring well. Bring to a boil, stir again, then cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
Stir in the reserved sausage slices until evenly distributed, then re-cover the skillet and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
- If you prefer, you can use uncooked sausage cut into bite-sized pieces or removed from its casing and broken up. Be sure to cook the sausage pieces all the way through and be aware that it will extend the recipe’s cook time.
- *I have not tried this recipe with regular (not instant) rice or with white rice instead of brown. Because regular (non-instant) rice’s cooking time is much longer, if you want to experiment and use it instead of the instant, I would suggest sautéing the meat and vegetables in one skillet (you can drain the tomatoes first, then add them to the sausage and peppers at the end, heating until most of their liquid evaporates) and cooking the rice in its own pot. Then, combine the two at the end with a bit of extra chicken stock as needed if the mixture is too dry. Again, I haven’t tried the recipe this way, but that is my best suggestion.
- *If you use white instant rice (instead of brown) please note that the cooking times and liquid needs for the two do vary. I'd add a little less liquid, check the skillet early to make sure the rice does not overcook, and then add a little more liquid toward the end if it seems dry.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4), about 1 3/4 cups) — Calories: 277, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 1215mg, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 20g
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